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Putting the MA in DfMA: Introducing Design for Manufacturing and Assembly

Jun 16, 2021

by Jeff Kiblen, Associate Vice President, U.S. Engineering Innovations

At U.S. Engineering Innovations (USEI) we’re driven to reimagine ways to execute construction projects. Disruption and efficiency live at the core of that reimagining. With those tenets in mind, we’ve been exploring Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) – an emerging approach in the AEC industry – to dovetail with our manufacturing strategy.

DfMA combines two methods, Design for Manufacturing (DfM) and Design for Assembly (DfA). The DfM approach seeks to make the manufacturing process more efficient, designing with a goal of using the most cost-effective materials and processes. DfA similarly aims for efficiency, seeking to reduce assembly costs and schedule. Merging the two approaches maximizes project value.

USEI operates on the MA side of DfMA. Simply put, we want to make our lean manufacturing processes and products leaner. And the DfMA approach squares with our continuous improvement program as we work to maximize our manufacturing equipment while minimizing waste.

We recently partnered with Henderson Engineers to join our strengths in constructability with their expertise in strategic design. With our shared enthusiasm for DfMA, we’re excited to create innovative ways to plan and execute projects with maximum efficiency.

With Henderson, we want to find repeatable, reusable designs that could become plug-and-play components for numerous serial building clients. In our first joint project we worked with Henderson to develop a duct module component that improved delivery.

I’ll offer more details about that project, as well as other U.S. Engineering Innovations efforts to create single-sized systems with the range and flexibility to maximize quality, cost and speed, in future articles. Stay tuned.


Jeff Kiblen is Associate Vice President of U.S. Engineering Innovations and K-Malt, a wholly owned subsidiary. Starting as a pipefitter apprentice in Kansas City, he spent a decade in the field working his way up to superintendent. From there, because of his passion for technology and problem solving, he pivoted to virtual construction and building information modeling. Today he and his family reside in Colorado.

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