Design for manufacture (DfM) has made significant strides by recommending incremental changes to design details. As DfM is pushed further upstream in the design process, it becomes an integral part of design. In the earliest stages of design, designers must consider the manufacturing implications of all of their decisions and trade them against other aspects of design performance. We present a decision-based framework for system-level DfM that focuses on the entire design process. To examine this methodology, we present issues arising from the development of an integrated design process for mechatronic products that includes both DfM evaluations and heuristic DfM design practices as ways to shape the early design process. Integrating DfM into design search must happen at the system level, doing so requires improving the overall design synthesis process.

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