What processes, in bringing a new product to market, might benefit from streamlining?
On the one hand, manufacturers already benefit from implementing processes to shorten the production cycle. On the other, there can be bottlenecks at earlier stages, when it comes to giving product designs the green light.
“Whereas designers at one time might largely depend on virtual visualisation, now, with rapid prototyping, they can present the look and feel of a design.”
This tangibility is an important factor in helping to carry forward and implement design concepts, and present them, realistically, to those people charged with approving their designs.
“It’s a case of seeing is believing. If you’re trying to accurately capture the potential of the product, then a 3D prototype is going to say more about it than a CAD drawing.”
Proof of concept, for clients and investors can help accelerate the whole production process, ultimately helping manufacturers compete.
Making Changes and Minimising Flaws
“Before finalising a design, there can be various iterations to further improve the design.
“With rapid prototyping, you can incorporate these changes swiftly, and you can respond to customer feedback to your prototype by using it to refine your design”
This can be essential in developing products that will compete by having a better acceptance rate.
Prototyping also helps minimise flaws prior to the manufacturing process.
“You can prototype using materials that will closely resemble the properties of the finished product. This can be enormously helpful in gauging the product’s overall strength and usability, and seeing how it performs in physical tests.”
Minimising the risk of faults at a much earlier stage in development makes good economic sense.
In an age where mass customisation is rapidly becoming the norm, manufacturers require the means to make them more agile and responsive to customer demand.
“Rapid prototyping is very much about the future of manufacturing and how products can best match the individual requirements of customers and consumers”
With its ability to implement rapid design changes and quickly incorporate feedback into refinements, prototyping is a perfect enabler for mass customisation in manufacturing.
“Ultimately, manufacturers are looking at the bottom line, and what will help ensure their competitiveness while minimising the risks surrounding launching new products,” Jeremy concludes. “Prototyping can help give them the confidence and means to compete more effectively.”