Design for X
When developing a new product or redesigning an existing product, cost, quality, and speed are often among the top goals for VPI’s customers. However, in order to achieve these goals, they must be evaluated to determine conflicts between low costs, high quality, and speed to market. Tradeoffs need to be made when there are conflicts. When designing new products, VPI also incorporates Design for X principles in the design process. Design for X is also known as DFX range where ‘X’ is an interchangeable variable and includes quantitative criteria when evaluating new product designs. Using DFX decreases the chance for error and overall improves performance during the development of the product. Examples of DFX include design for reliability, design for assembly, design for manufacture, design for test, design for low cost, and other criteria.
Other ‘X’ factors regarding designing for X include maintainability, serviceability, life cycle cost, environment, etc. A product must fulfill numerous other requirements besides functionality, cost, and appearance. Therefore, implementing a DFX strategy from the outset of the product design effort is important and necessary. Conflicts between the project’s goals must also be reconciled.
Concurrent engineering has strengthened DFX strategies and tools. What is concurrent engineering? As defined by Concurrent Design Facility (ESA) “Concurrent Engineering (CE) is a systematic approach to integrated product development that emphasizes the response to customer expectations. It embodies team values of co-operation, trust and sharing in such a manner that decision making is by consensus, involving all perspectives in parallel, from the beginning of the product life cycle.”
Parallelization of all design activities increases productivity and product quality. Errors or redesigns can be found earlier in the design process where there is more flexibility, thus reducing potential costly mistakes discovered later in the development process. VPI strives to conduct concurrent engineering and parallelization of design activities where possible and where applicable with projects undertaken.