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Design for service (DFS) is a product lifecycle strategy that addresses a product’s serviceability attributes. These attributes, such as reliability, configuration, and ergonomics, have a direct bearing on the cost and efficacy of servicing the product. Design for service is a critical aspect of service lifecycle management (SLM), which in turn is an integral part of product lifecycle management (PLM).
Service engineering specialists have come to realize that many of the product attributes that influence, assist, or hinder service are designed into the product. This means that the impact of these attributes on service execution continues through the product lifecycle. The purpose of a design for service strategy is to deliberately design in attributes that positively affect service execution.
Product design for service offers a structured framework to help manufacturers determine the right balance of reliability and serviceability. DFS considers customer expectations and competitive products, with the goal of delivering the highest desired level of service performance under given resource and cost constraints.
While many design elements and decisions play a role in the serviceability of the manufactured and deployed final product, a few stand out as being of significant consequence:
Reliability planning – Although product reliability is a primary driver of service and warranty costs, achieving the highest possible reliability may create new problems. It may delay the release of the product to manufacturing, add cost to the final product, or add complexity to the supply chain. The goal of manufacturing design for service is not to maximize reliability but to optimize it relative to competitive products, warranty period, the type of maintenance strategy to be employed, and the type of service agreement to be used.
Configuration – The physical configuration of a finished product significantly affects service and repair activities. Of particular importance is parts modularity and the designation of field-replaceable units (FRUs). The characteristics of each FRU dictates which parts have to be inventoried, carried to the point of service and replaced, and subsequently sent back for depot repair, testing, and recertification. With high-level FRUs, a single repair action may cover numerous functions and potential failure modes; but these FRUs are more expensive to inventory, ship, and repair than simpler FRUs. A robust DFS strategy weighs these different factors.
Ergonomics – Design for service accounts for heavy lifting, working around hot surfaces, properly handling hazardous materials, and many other activities associated with maintenance and repair of highly engineered finished products. By addressing these issues with design ergonomics, engineers help to ensure fast, safe service. Examples of such DFS elements include modified physical architecture, special tools, and specially engineered service techniques and protocols.
By implementing a design for service strategy, manufacturers help their service organizations achieve a higher level of service readiness before the launch of a new product. DFS also supports productive interaction between engineering and service, leading to better design decisions.
Lower service costs
More reliable maintenance plans
Greater customer satisfaction
CIMdata highlights the need for modern Service Lifecycle Management solutions coupled with product lifecycle management (PLM) to successfully address the planning, design, production, and operation of long-life assets.