Time to read: 4 min

The workplace has changed more in the last four years than in the 30 years prior. The adoption of remote working that had been building for decades for a few was thrust upon everyone overnight. Businesses went completely remote, and school did too, with teachers forced to learn how to instruct students from afar. (For me, all of this occured in different parts of my house simultaneously.)

What made it all possible was the ability to communicate in real time and have ready access to each other through different software applications. The experience taught us that having access to more options in different areas is possible with the right tools and technologies – and it opened up new possibilities to hire and work with the best people, wherever they’re located.

This same opportunity to work with the best possible manufacturing partner has, for a long time, been hampered by the ability to communicate designs and address issues if you’re not located near the manufacturing facility. 3D visualization has come a long way in closing this gap and allowing engineers to work with the best possible partner, and not just the one down the road with whom they can talk to in person.

design engineers

Design for Manufacturability Review

Design for manufacturability (DFM) review is an important part of the discussion between an engineer and a manufacturer for any end product. Ultimately, a clear and precise understanding of what is possible is required for any project to be successful. Until recently, manufacturers and engineers relied on 2D images of parts using presentation software. With plastic injection molding for 3D products, this 2D approach has limitations that lead to confusion and misunderstanding.

First, the ability to see all areas on a part requires many images — and that approach may not be adequate to illuminate all of the issues with a design. Also, different copies of a single document often are forwarded to other members of the organization, and feedback is then sent to the manufacturer on several different slideshows. This adds complexity as well as confusion to the DFM review process, which causes delays and increases the potential for errors.

To tackle these problems head-on, Fictiv developed a DFM for injection molding solution that uses an online platform and 3D interfaces. The resulting 3D visualization is the clearest and most efficient method of sharing DFM feedback between the engineer and the manufacturer.

3D Visualization Benefits

The ability to rotate a part file on-screen lets you see suggestions from multiple angles as well as from the inside or outside of the part. It’s one of the biggest advantages to having 3D visualization. What used to take 3 or 4 pictures can now be shown in just a single view, and pinpoints can be added to highlight specific areas of concern.

3D visualization

Users can view DFM feedback from any angle.

Our 3D DFM also lets you zoom in on certain features to assess features too small to see in a single image. By allowing the engineer to increase and decrease the size of the part on-screen, very small features can be highlighted using the same interface as larger, easier-to-see areas.

Interactive zoom

Interactive zoom lets users get a closer look at areas that might otherwise be hard to see.

Fictiv’s 3D DFM provides clear heat maps of thickness and warp analysis are additional features that provide critical information about your injection molding design.

Warp analysis

Warp analysis

clear heatmap

Clear thickness heatmap

We also built annotation and feedback directly into the platform — so DFM feedback can easily be shared with other engineers to foster discussion among members of the design team. Once feedback and warnings are deemed acceptable, accepting them is simple using our online system.

If feedback results in design changes, it’s easy to note that a revision is pending. New files can be uploaded to replace the original file, all while keeping a history of files and feedback for the project. If there’s a required question or an item requires manufacturer feedback, the engineer has the option to annotate the slide and send that feedback directly to the Fictiv team. Our DFM feedback system accelerates the production process and reduces the chance for unwelcome surprises.

DFM feedback

By choosing annotation, you can provide feedback directly to the tooling team on DFM topics.

Complex Parts at Ridiculous Speeds – Start Your Next Project With Fictiv

To make your next injection molding project a success, it should be a collaborative effort between you and your manufacturing partner. And with our 3D visualization system and injection molding experts, Fictiv has you covered. 

No matter how complex your designs, we’re experts at producing custom injection molded parts in a variety of materials. We simplify custom part sourcing with intelligent, streamlined, automated workflows that deliver high quality mechanical components fast. Fictiv is your operating system for custom manufacturing that makes part procurement faster, easier, and more efficient.
Create an account and upload your part to see what our instant quote process, design for manufacturability feedback, and intelligent platform can do for you