Prototyping is an essential step in the design phase of a new product and plays an important role in the success of the product. From the design phase to the production, prototype manufacturing is important to get right.
Prototype & Its Types
A prototype is said to be the early sample model right off your design board. It is said to be a physical version of what the product designers have visualized and digitally made. Prototyping is mainly carried out in order to evaluate the design and improve how the final product will look and behave in real-life scenarios. A prototype helps the designers and engineers to provide specifications in a real life-like environment rather than an on-paper theoretical one. There exist two types of prototype manufacturing;
- Proof-of-concept prototype manufacturing
Proof-of-concept prototype manufacturing is the first phase of the product prototyping that will lightly resemble the final product. A proof of concept prototype is used to validate the idea of the product and its feasibility. Proof-of-concept prototype manufacturing helps the designers obtain the intellectual property of the product and the copyrights of the design.
- Design prototype
Design prototype manufacturing is the second phase of prototyping. Design prototype has the look and feels of the final product. Rapid prototyping is effectively used here to get the prototypes done swiftly and correctly, Design prototype is carried out to tweak the final design of the product before putting it in full production.
Why Is Prototype Manufacturing Important?
Prototype manufacturing is an important part of any product that needs to make a commercial success. Prototype manufacturing is important due to a variety of reasons which are discussed as follows;
- Early feedback –One of the most important aspects of manufacturing a prototype is the process of gathering feedback on your design and prototype. With prototype manufacturing, you can gather insights and reviews from specialists at every stage which enhances your product to its best.
- Cost and time effective –having done your prototyping from a reputable vendor, not only saves you money but also time. They work hand in hand with your concepts and designs which makes sure that the prototype is made exactly how you wanted it to be rather how the vendor assumed it to be. Having a top quality prototype is the first step to your product success
- Proper validation before development –With a good prototype in hand, you can have a proper validation of your product with the product design engineers and your prototyping vendor. This iterative procedure assists you in giving you the confidence in what you are building is actually required by you and your company.
- Helps sell your product to others –Prototyping helps you gain the support and confidence of your financers, media and future customers. It also presents your product to the mass market which helps you to get pre-orders and back your project with more financers. Having a prototype to display, also gives a surface level idea of how your product might be perceived once put into final production. This helps you to make decisions at last minutes that you might want for the success of your product.
Manufacturing Your Prototype
Once your design is ready and approved by the relevant authorities, next comes the prototype manufacturing into action. And to do that, you should reach out to well-known prototype vendors, after all, you cannot risk the most important part of your product development to someone who don’t know their job well. Here are some of the things to keep in mind while working with a prototype manufacturer.
- Get an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) signed
Make sure that before you disclose your prototype to anyone, you get an NDA signed. Your prototype manufacturing vendor should commit to NDA. This way you will have peace of mind that your product design will not be leaked to other or taken over the rights of.
- Describe your ideas in depth
Once the NDA is signed, discuss your ideas and invention to your prototype manufacturer in detail. How your product is expected to work, who will be the end-consumer and what materials are you looking for your product are all crucial things that should be discussed with the vendor. This way you can get an accurate quote while the vendor will have a better understanding of your product and how to get it done properly.
- A reputable experienced prototype manufacturer
It is important that the vendor you select for your prototyping requirement is experienced and well-known in the market. It is important that the vendor specializes in rapid prototyping such as CNC.
- Review and understand your quote
It is important that before prototyping begins, you have a clear picture of what was exactly listed in the quote. In the quote, you should have the clear idea on how much are you charged for the materials being used, how much man hours are being charged and whether revisions are part of the quote or not. Understanding your quote in detail will eliminate upsets both for you and your prototype manufacturer.
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