If you are a member of the product manufacturing industry, you must have already heard and know about the concept called rapid prototyping. It is one of the most popular trends in the production and prototyping industry today. It provides an opportunity for producers to develop multiple scale models of their product design to simplify the manufacturing process further. In many cases, prototypes serve as dummy models to help represent the idea in front of the stakeholders of the company, so it’s pretty safe to say that rapid prototyping comes with numerous applications in the manufacturing operation. More or less, each product that we use in our day-to-day activities had a prototype made first, with the sole objective of finding out how this product works in the real world and if there are any necessary modifications to apply before going into mass-production. Take a glance at the following in-depth top seven reasons why you should start your future product development sessions with rapid prototyping.
Saves You Time
Time is money, and it’s essential in whatever you do to save time while doing it. A precise, rapid prototyping model is quickly available to engineers and designers for testing its usability, form, features, and performance. The highly automated process enables engineers and designers to promptly modify and change the product in line with the feedback they get from the developed prototype. The time saving is crucial for organizations to gain a respectable competitive advantage by coming up with new product designs faster and ahead of their main competitors.
Saves You Money
Everyone is satisfied and happy when production costs are reduced. Rapid prototypes considerably help in reducing the costs of product design development and production. With the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software and the 3D printing equipment, manufacturers no longer require to develop unique tools for each new product. The prototypes can now be printed in a matter of minutes. The method also reduces the costs of staff and waste too. The traditional prototyping techniques tend to create waste through cut-off material chippings because the tools build the finished model, and rapid prototyping does not.
Photo from Pixabay
Will Help You To Understand The Product Better
Once you understand what you’re building thoroughly, it can undoubtedly lead to improved functionality of the model and better overall performance of the finished product. By allowing engineers and designers to realize their concepts beyond virtual visualization, they can understand the look and feel of the developed design, rather than just assuming via a computer-aided model. Rapid prototypes also help engineers and designers to advance with their ideas and implement them in the whole image they create of the product before the finalization procedure. Besides, it offers a proof of concept for the end clients, and even creates a need that clients never thought of. This way, rapid prototyping can lead to generating more sales and profitability in the future.
Offers Complete Freedom And Creativity
One of the top reasons you should implement rapid prototyping for your future product designs is because it offers to develop and to modify customized products according to the individual’s needs. A slight change in the CAD model or a little tweak in the design won’t affect the whole process that would remain the same. Changes can be done at any time of the prototyping operation, depending on the feedback given since this is all a testing phase and won’t hinder the finished product. Another extra is that there’s no fear of going over the planned budget because engineers and designers are in full control over the changes that need to be done without further required costs.
Helps You Present The Model To The Higher-Ups
You can produce a lifelike three-dimensional scale model to present the new product design and concept to CEOs, stakeholders, business owners, board members, investors, or clients. As they need to understand, feel, and approve the development program and continue to fund your new design, rapid prototypes pave the way for a product design to become a reality. Engineers and designers can also get some much-needed feedback from potential customers and clients based on the physical model of the product in development. A hundred percent better than empty concepts, stories, and ideas, prototype models allow manufacturers to incorporate realistic and tangible data in the advanced stages of the product development process, thus making the end product far better.
You Can Test Different Materials
3D printed rapid prototypes allow its creators to choose from a range of materials that closely model the end-product material or perform in the same manner in the end-product environment. The materials vary from Nylon, a substance that can withstand a heat of over 150°C, to Aluminium. This metal composite can withstand the stresses and temperatures typical for automotive component environments. All in one, the process of rapid prototyping offers over 200 combinations of materials, colors, and finishes from which skilled engineers and product designers can develop new product designs in various industries.
Photo from Unsplash
Reducing The Overall Risk
Of course, everything ever created came with a risk: the risk of collapse, community backlash, risk of lawsuits, and whatnot. Every threat of failure can be somehow avoided and handled well before the products even reach the market. When you have a fully detailed physical prototype and analysis of the early stages in the developing process, rapid prototypes can lower the risk of pricey and crucial errors. The design team will recognize the usability problems of the prototype or the design faults and address them adequately with any modifications quickly before they produce more damage.
Various industries, including construction, healthcare, electronics, and automotive, regularly use rapid prototyping before committing to a mass-production of a specific part or end-product. Early prototypes tend to save money and time, help you understand the product better, and present it to your higher-ups. It offers a range of materials and colors that can be used for the end product and comes with many other benefits. The most beautiful thing about rapid prototyping is that it’s all tests and not the actual end product presented to the public, so nothing wrong can come from thorough testing, the product can be better and sell even more than predicted.