Pros of Adopting Prototype Engineering

Pros of Adopting Prototype Engineering

Manufacturing Technology Insights | Friday, June 18, 2021

Companies interested in prototyping are encouraged to consider the suitable technology for their requirements to develop faster design iterations and beat competitors.

FREMONT, CA: Developing a sample product to be evaluated in a "real world" environment is known as prototyping. This sample product is commonly known as a prototype and is defined as an original model, form, or instance that functions as a basis for other processes. It is used to enhance the design iterations before the product reaches the end-stage.

Rapid prototyping is an accelerated form of prototyping that employs 3D CAD software and 3D printing technology. Many industries have used it to assess the structure and function of physical parts.

What are the Benefits of Prototyping?

The main advantage of prototyping is that it leads to a more efficient and reliable design cycle. As prototypes enable the companies to test their designs in a "real-world" setting, it becomes easier to determine the potential issues and avoid expensive mistakes down the road. Designers can pivot faster and connect with the design to troubleshoot and enhance any problems.

Rapid prototyping is particularly beneficial because it can develop prototypes in days, if not weeks, compared to conventional prototyping methods. A wide variety of 3D printing materials are available, such as metals and engineer-grade thermoplastics, which provide designers and engineers with a physical representation of how their product will look, feel, and react.

Types of Prototypes

Even though manufacturers widely use rapid prototyping during physical product development, other industries are also trying to leverage 3D printing rapid prototyping to create better designs, reduce costs, and address current issues. Prototypes come in various forms, including:

Automotive: Automotive prototypes can be durable and cost-efficient to test heat and wear concerns by utilizing strong 3D printing materials such as nylon, carbon fiber, and Ultem.

Aerospace: In aerospace, 3D printing has evolved beyond the prototyping stage, with industry giants producing 3D printed airplane parts such as fuel nozzles, toroid housings, and out-of-cabin parts.

Medical: Researchers and doctors use customized medical models and new medical device prototypes to enhance patient outcomes.

Consumer goods: Photorealistic prototypes and 3D printed packaging for custom designs can now be produced at a reduced cost.

Companies interested in prototyping must consider the technology that will best meet their requirements. While conventional prototyping methods can still be efficient, companies looking forward to developing faster design iterations and gaining a competitive edge must consider rapid prototyping. This can be accomplished by outsourcing 3D printing to a 3D printing service provider or making investments in a 3D printer for prototyping in-house.

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