Prototyping is a key element of a successful design and engineering process. In the past, prototyping created many challenges for design teams looking to create makeshift models that would provide a valid basis for a given application. Prototyping was an expensive process. In many cases, making prototypes prohibited businesses from experimenting with new ideas.
The practice of rapid prototyping, however, offers many advantages that set it apart from traditional prototyping – and one of them is its cost. In this article, we take a closer look at the practice of rapid prototyping to show you what the standards in the field are and how we use the process of prototyping to help our clients create the best applications for their business use cases.
What is prototyping?
Before we dive into the advantages of rapid prototyping, let’s begin by defining it.
Rapid prototyping uses various techniques to quickly and efficiently fabricate a real-scale model of a physical assembly or its part. Thanks to 3D printing or additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping doesn’t require any tooling. This means that it poses almost no limits regarding the form of the prototype.
Rapid prototyping is today a standard in many industries. At Melrose, prototyping is a natural and complementary technique to any design process.
Benefits of rapid prototyping
Explore and experiment with concepts faster
The efficiency in time and cost of rapid prototyping allows teams to move beyond the visualization of the product. It also makes it easier to grasp the design and properties of the product before turning to production.
Test new design ideas
Rapid prototyping also allows applying repeated designs and incorporating changes allows for better testing and valuation of the product. A process like this offers a roadmap for developing the final product of a higher quality.
Communicate concepts efficiently
Rapid prototyping takes images, concepts, and ideas from two-dimensional visuals to hands-on products. Clients, collaborators, colleagues, and other stakeholders can see them in action and test them in real life to give you meaningful feedback. That’s why prototypes help so much in the process of developing new products.
Reduce design errors
Rapid prototyping offers the opportunity to reduce design flaws thanks to a small-volume rapid prototype. It helps engineers to eliminate costly design flaws that might not be so clear during the early assessment of the concept.
Save time and money
The setup and tooling aren’t necessary for rapid prototyping. Engineers can use the same equipment to produce prototypes with different materials and properties. That’s how they can keep the costs and time spent on testing new ideas to a minimum.
When to use rapid prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is applicable to many technologies and materials. It’s a versatile technique that can be used for numerous applications, for example:
Concept models provide designers with an opportunity to validate ideas and the assumptions behind them. A physical concept model is an excellent source for exploring the idea, showing its validity to stakeholders, and creating entire marketing communication around it.
Functional prototypes allow designers and developers to understand the details of the product idea and offer an accurate representation of the finished product. Moreover, they also help to verify the ability to realize the concept before moving onto the next stage. A functional prototype can test the fit, manufacturability, design, and function of the product before it’s moved to production. Applying changes then is far less costly before doing that during production, so functional prototypes are an excellent cost reduction measure.
Another application of rapid prototyping in the development of workable prototypes that achieve the balance of functionality and aesthetics, all the while keeping the costs low.
Prototyping at Melrose
Our experts deliver customization services for our touchscreens and display components. Thanks to customizing their products, our clients get limitless possibilities in creating the appearance and functionality of the final application and ensure that their solution matches the unique needs of the application.
After gathering general requirements about the project, we interview the client and provide them with expert advice on the application’s implementation. Most of the time, we need to gather a lot of information in order to begin this step. Once we agree on the details of the initial project, we prepare an estimation within a few days. When the client accepts this, we start by manufacturing a prototype.
We manufacture a small number of sample modules, charging a fee to cover the costs associated with the production line preparation, and prototypes the clients will receive for testing.
This gives us an opportunity to eliminate any irregularities without incurring high additional costs that are practically guaranteed if we want to apply changes to items that are in production. If the test batch complies with the requirements, we receive a production order and start working on the final product.
We hope that this article helps you understand the benefits of rapid prototyping in today’s manufacturing processes. If you would like to create a prototype with experts who have ample experience across different industries, get in touch with us. At Melrose, we provide solutions to sectors with the strictest demands such as defense, military, and healthcare.
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