Design for Preassembly
Design for preassembly (DfP) is the aspect of Modular Design which allows a maximum amount of preparation to be done at the module preparation step. Design for preassembly may be applied to subsystems and s ystems of an integrated design. Integrated Design refers to considering all technical subsystems and human factors at the design stage. Design for preassembly and integrated design allow for the maximum completion of a build at the module build phase - as opposed to the module assembly phase. Design for preassembly allows for high build efficiencies to beachieved in a controlled environment (controlled by means of a visual workshop microfactory setting as opposed to field setting), and allowing for efficient final assembly either in the workshop or in the field. Design for preassembly lowers the cost of builds by shifting more of the build process to a controlled environment, which is more efficient - while making the final assembly more efficient as well because the modules contain a higher level of completion.
Design for preassembly facilitates owner-builder methods of production by shifting some of the production process on to the user or customer. This ideally upskills the general populace, facilitates Lifetime Design, and facilitates product evolution via modification. Design for preassembly facilitates kit-based business models, lowering the price to the customer.
The main enabler of DfP is thinking through the entire build prior to engaging in the build. Such deeper insight allows for the shifting of downstream steps further upstream in the build process - which may usually not be done because such reordering appears to break up the build with seemingly non-sequential steps. The potential savings, however, is in the overall build efficiency - ideally reducing cost and time.
A clear advantage of DfP s a more user friendly build from a kit - ie, taking 'some assembly required' to a deeper level. Thus, more access to otherwise more expensive products. The limit of such thinking is 'full assebly required' in a technosphere where lifetime design (based on ecological factors) and user-friendliness (based on human factors) is a priority. Another clear advantage is scalability, in that production can be shifted to Swarm Builds if a situation requires this, such as a crisis or emergency scenario.
DfP promotes closed loop material cycles, as ideally such design is more standardized (without decreasing diversity) for part choice and build technique. Standardization allows for flexible fabrication using common, off-the-shelf parts, following the principles of Degeneracy. Thus, materials may be reused and recycled more effectively, towards closed loop material cycles.