Needham, Paul M. (2008) Design for manufacture: a methodology to evaluate an aircraft design in order to ensure its manufacturability. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The aim of the research is to develop a methodological analysis of problems in the
area of design for manufacture in low volume high complex products found in the
writer’s workplace. The majority of research in this area has been around high
volume products, such as automotive products and little consideration has been given
to designing complex products from industries like aircraft manufacture.
This research evaluates design for manufacture (DFM) information in the design lifecycle
(DLC). The author’s research introduces a unique DLC process, one which
structures decisions and data transfer through the DLC. The research also looks at
current academic work and introduces industrial issues present in today’s
It is crucial to the design of a product to select the appropriate design environment in
which it operates, as it will structure the way the engineering activities are established
and developed. It is also important for the organisation to decide on the environment
in which the design definition should evolve. Therefore the research reviews the
different design definition environments, these were carefully analysed by the author.
The evaluation of a design to ensure its manufacturability is a major element in the
research, a review of previous work has highlighted that within current publications
there has been little work in this area. The research has developed a methodology to
evaluate the robustness of a design. It not only looks at the engineering design but
also evaluates its adherence to customer requirements and the effect on cost for the
overall product life-cycle. It also considers industrial needs for a reduction in the
length of design life-cycle, while ensuring a reduction in manufacturing costs. There
are two main contributors to this, firstly the use of key characteristics and secondly,
the ability to control the manufacturability of a design. The author has developed a
novel software tool enabling efficient evaluation of a design.
The author discusses his contribution to existing knowledge in three main areas of the
research. The most significant being the introduction of a tool to evaluate a design
early in the design life-cycle to ensure manufacturability. To validate the research the
author introduces the reader to three experimental phases. He validates his
methodology by analysing the design of various aircraft assemblies discussing his
findings of how manufacturable the designs are. This leads to the conclusion that the
author’s research adds substantial knowledge to the area of design for manufacture.


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