Melrose focuses on building long-run business relationships with clients on all core services. And for that, we work side by side for every project closely with an open mind. There is a systematic process we follow once our engineers are entitled to a project. You shall find our process approach in the below section.
How to make the most of rapid prototyping in manufacturing?
Rapid prototyping processes allow for smarter iteration and testing during the early stages of developing a product. Some manufacturers use advanced technologies like 3D modeling to enable rapid prototyping of more complex user interfaces, graphic overlay, labels, and membrane switches.
Prototyping is an essential step a manufacturer needs every single time they develop a brand-new product. Still, many companies might not be certain whether spending time and money on prototyping is a good idea.
Sometimes the prototyping process falls victim to serious pitfalls that might impact the shape of the product itself. In this article, we share our experience in rapid prototyping and some best practices that help you eliminate these problems during the early stages of production.
But before we go into the details, here are a few reasons why rapid prototyping is so important.
Benefits of Rapid Prototyping
It allows you to explore new concepts and experiment with them faster. Rapid prototyping is an efficient method that allows teams to move beyond product visualization.
It also helps them to easily grasp the new design and properties of the product before moving to full production.
Rapid prototyping offers an opportunity for testing new ideas and incorporating changes that allow for better evaluation.
Thanks to rapid prototyping, teams can create a roadmap for developing the final product of a higher quality.
Rapid prototyping also allows communicating concepts more efficiently to clients, collaborators, colleagues, and other project stakeholders.
Rapid prototyping allows for initial design review. This is important in reducing the potential for flaws as parts move into the production cycle.
Finally, rapid prototyping helps teams to save time and money. Engineers can use the same equipment to produce prototypes with different properties of materials. So, the time and cost of testing new ideas are greatly reduced.
Best Practices for Rapid Prototyping
Have a good reason for starting with a rapid prototype
The process of rapid prototyping can help solve a lot of the issues, but it’s not a silver bullet. It might not be the right solution for everything in the production process.
Creating large simple parts that don’t require tight tolerances might lead you to exceed your budget. This might take away the budget for other critical parts of the production. Some techniques might be quite expensive, and the need for post processing can increase the costs even more.
An experienced manufacturer like Melrose can help you understand whether rapid prototyping is the best next step in your design process or other techniques would be bringing more benefits.
Pick the right orientation
Orientation during prototyping will impact the success of your design once it goes into production. If you forget about basic design rules early on, you will be wasting resources when your team will need to backtrack it all later. So, start by setting up a framework to define the principles, rules, and process characteristics to enhance your precision and success.
Select the right materials and tools
Some machines or materials might not fit all types of prototyping scenarios. The materials and technologies you choose are going to influence the development stages later on.
But it’s possible to find tools and resources that increase your success rate for multiple prototyping scenarios. For example, you might want to use only fully functional parts and components in your rapid prototyping process.
Focus on communication
If designers and prototypers fail to communicate during the process, the risk of failure increases. It doesn’t matter how great your idea is – if these two teams can’t cooperate, you might oversee something or miss out on important aspects of the project scope already in the prototyping stage.
Take extra care of your assembly process
Assembly issues may quickly cause trouble during later stages of production. When working out the risks during the planning stage of your prototyping process, consider the materials that will be used and how you will prioritize tolerances. Discovering that your materials don’t allow your chosen tolerance variances early on will save you a lot of time.
Use the full prototyping process
Don’t worry if your first iteration isn’t perfect. It almost never is. Use the entire process to your advantage and anticipate multiple attempts at determining the ideal design. Leverage each step of the process to the fullest. Avoid overproducing in the quest for perfection. And consider making components and improving them individually before building a larger device.
Keep your eye on the final product
Make sure that you understand the final product intended for use already during the prototyping process. Complicating the product with too many features and complexity will become a problem later on when the time for mass production comes. Never forget about aesthetics and usability.
Know your customer
The end-user needs to be your top focus when prototyping and designing a new product. Every stage of the process requires a clear vision of who your ideal user is and how they’re going to use the product. This will help you to identify potential problems and save time later on issues that you may not have noticed at the beginning.
Choose the right prototyping partner
At Melrose, we have decades of experience in prototyping products manufactured for the most demanding industries. We usually manufacture a small number of sample modules and only charge a fee to cover associated with setting up the production line. The products are then shipped to our customers, where they can be tested and checked.
Prototyping can have an incredible impact on the production process. It’s an excellent opportunity to eliminate any irregularities without paying the high price that would become necessary when applying changes to items already in production. If the test batch matches the requirements, our team can start working on the final product.
If you’re looking for an experienced manufacturer with a solid rapid prototyping process in place, get in touch with us. Our specialists know how to develop a successful product within the set timeline and budget.
At Melrose, we custom design testing programs so that no detail is overlooked. Our focus on quality testing helps to prevent costly errors that negatively impact function and durability. Learn about the various test methods employed here at Melrose.
When Requirements Become Real Prototype
Talk with the Melrose engineers to layout a prototype you wanted to launch. Get your customized product with a 100% satisfaction rate.
Melrose has superior knowledge in using the right technology, meeting every requirement consideration. Call us for any clarification.