Design for Manufacturing Review Delivers Exceptional Long Term Savings


Design for Manufacturing Review

The Set-Up

A company that manufactures on-vehicle control systems for heavy duty industrial applications came to ControlTek in search of a manufacturing quote for a controller to be used in a new product.

A ControlTek program manager immediately began preparations for the new quote. As part of the quoting process, a Design for Manufacturing (DFM) review was conducted by ControlTek’s manufacturing engineering and procurement experts. During the review it became clear there were opportunities to modify the provided design to improve its function, making the product easier to manufacture and significantly reducing the OEM’s contract manufacturing costs.

What Was Needed:

Because of the rugged environment (vibration, heat, water, salt spray, etc.) the new product would operate in, the controller needed to meet tough environmental requirements. After years of manufacturing similar devices, these requirements are well known to the ControlTek team.

The original, customer-provided design incorporated a ruggedized connector, wire harness, external enclosure and an encapsulated (potted) module to protect the sensitive electronics. While meeting environmental requirements, the provided design was also handicapped by additional materials and labor needed during production.

After reviewing and quoting the initial concept, ControlTek engineers proposed a new idea that removed the need for a separate enclosure and wire harness. By integrating the controller with a similar interface connector, the modified controller would still meet all required environmental standards. The reconfiguration would make the parts easier to manufacture and less costly to produce while requiring only very minimal design changes. Simple and more robust, it was estimated the reconfiguration could save the customer as much as 30% in per part production costs with a very limited investment to make the required design changes.

More Than a Vendor - A Design and Manufacturing Partner

Because the customer’s design team was buried with other tasks, ControlTek stepped in to assist--making the required changes, building qualification prototypes, and completing all required documentation to the customer standards. Key deadlines were communicated up front and the design and testing were completed in time to meet the original product launch schedule.

The Results:

  • While it was originally estimated that the new configuration would save the customer up to 30% on production costs, the actual figure was actually closer to 55%.
  • To date the reconfiguration has saved the customer over $1,000,000 in manufacturing costs!

ControlTek’s in-house design engineering expertise meant we were able to implement and test the design changes within the original project timeline, helping the customer meet their time-to-market requirements while saving them money.

Best of all, ControlTek’s engineering resources freed up the customer’s own limited engineering capacity so they could continue working on other projects.

What Made ControlTek the Perfect Partner

ControlTek has deep experience with automotive and industrial electronic products. Our team is knowledgeable about environmental conditions and the challenges associated for products in these fields, and about relevant SAE and UL test standards, specifications, and regulatory compliance requirements. Most importantly, we trust our internal teams to use what we know will work best for our customers.  

Other ControlTek Capabilities Utilized During New Product Introduction (NPI)


Ensure Working Products in the Field with Custom Testing from ControlTek


Testing is never an afterthought at ControlTek, and this new product introduction was no exception. Because the product was new to the market, no test strategy had been conceived and no fixture/interface had yet been created. Our goal, therefore, was to create and implement a testing strategy that would prove the environmental survivability of the controller before production even began.

Utilizing our extensive experience with environmental testing and SAE and UL test specifications, ControlTek developed a test strategy that met the specific testing requirements for this type of product. The tests proved out electrical survivability and load dump protection to reduce operating failures following launch. ControlTek also built and integrated a test fixture with a VBⓇ NET interface to test new firmware and software.

In order to meet the needs of our customers ControlTek maintains the capabilities necessary to assist in test development, either independently or collaboratively with our partners. By undergoing both Design for Manufacturing and Design for Test reviews at the start of new projects, our customers can often avoid the costly delays that can arise from waiting to test until production.


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