Blog: How a DFM approach to engineering always helps customers

February 27, 2024  /  Blog , Cable Assemblies

A design-for-manufacture (DFM) approach to engineering always helps GTK to deliver the most cost-effective solutions for our customers, while also ensuring a streamlined production process in our own facilities.

"Customers that approach GTK with a custom cable assembly requirement are often pleasantly surprised with the end result," says Tom Hennessey, Technical Sales Manager at GTK. "Typically, they come to us with an existing cable assembly they are already using or a specification for a cable assembly for a new product they are manufacturing. The cable assembly is essential for their product, but they may not always have spent that much time in-house on its design.

Custom cable looms in bespoke trunking.

Custom cable looms designed for easy installation in the final unit.

"This is where GTK can really add value in a variety of different ways. Firstly, we look at any existing cable assembly with a fresh pair of eyes and ask several questions; can the design be improved or simplified? Is the customer happy for us to review the BOM and suggest alternatives to existing components? Can we streamline the production process to reduce lead times? All these factors can contribute to an enhanced assembly design with lower finished cost."

When it comes to BOM components, our Core Material Strategy (CMS) means that parts commonly used in the manufacture of cable assemblies are held in stock across both our UK and Romanian facilities. This list of components includes cable, heat shrink, crimp terminals and O rings, as well as any associated tooling. This not only helps to reduce lead times, but it also eliminates tooling costs for customers and speeds up the process for quoting and manufacturing. In addition to these generic components, GTK can identify and supply alternatives to industry leading manufacturers’ connector products that are fit, form and function equivalents, and result in sizeable cost savings.

Tom added, "We have been doing this for over 30 years now and over that time the knowledge base we have built is significant. We have identified high quality suppliers of connectors and cables and been able to assess and qualify their products as suitable alternatives to leading brands." Additionally, GTK can assist with packaging requirements for customers, with significant purchasing power in this area.

In addition to reviewing the design and BOM, our global manufacturing footprint means that our cable assemblies are always produced in the most suitable location (or locations) to suit the customers’ project needs.

Tom concluded, "A practical and cost-effective way to address problems with a project is early in the design phase. Through our DFM practices, we've learnt that specific guidelines help define various tolerances, and we create a collaborative discussion to pinpoint and propose designs that would enhance manufacturing build processes and potentially reduce manufacturing costs. Because we look at the cable assembly with a fresh perspective, the end-product is often different to what the customer imagined, but in all cases, it is better."

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