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Posts Tagged ‘Product Prototype’

Your Complete Guide to Product Prototype Development Services

Every year, roughly 30,000 new products are introduced to the world. All the companies responsible for producing these products are filled with great hope when they’re first released. But ultimately, right around 95% of them fail and disappear forever.

Some of these products fail because there simply isn’t enough demand for them. Others fail because they aren’t marketed in the right way.

But then, there are those products that flop because of design flaws that get exposed once they hit the open market. It becomes clear that the companies that created them didn’t obtain the necessary prototype development services.

Prior to your company putting out a new product, you’ll need to put it through the product development process. This will involve you doing product prototyping and testing out different types of prototypes. It’ll enable you to find design flaws in your product before you put it out into the world.

Check out our guide to product prototype development services to gain a better understanding of the prototyping process.

What Is Product Prototyping?

Your company might have a fantastic idea for a new product you’d like to release. It may have all the makings of being a super successful product once you start selling it. But you could inevitably ruin this product from the start if you don’t do any product prototyping with it.

So, what is product prototyping? It’s a process that involves taking your idea for a product and using it to put together a sample of this product so that you can test it out to make sure it works. You’ll get the opportunity to test the quality of this product when it’s still in prototype form to avoid any major issues with it once it’s released to consumers.

The last thing you want to do is mass-produce a product only to find out that it has fatal flaws. They’ll doom a product from the start no matter how innovative it might be and make you wish your company had taken the time to invest in prototype development services.

Why Is Product Prototyping Important?

Product prototyping is important for a whole host of different reasons. First and foremost, you’ll be able to iron out all the details of a product that you would like to mass-produce while creating a prototype for it. You might quickly learn that bringing the ideas that you have for a product to life might be more challenging than you may have anticipated.

But this will only be the first of many benefits that’ll come along with prototype development services. Here are several other benefits that you’ll enjoy when you go through the product prototyping process:

  • Allows you to see what a product will look like so that you can give it the most aesthetically pleasing appearance possible
  • Helps you to see potential problems you might have with a product from a quality standpoint
  • Highlights any production issues you might have with a product during prototype manufacturing
  • Prevent you from wasting time and money manufacturing a product that isn’t as perfect as it can be
  • Gives you new ideas on how to improve a product that you might not get access to otherwise

There may be times when the product prototyping process will start to frustrate you to no end. This will be especially true for companies that have to create dozens of prototypes prior to landing on one that works and checks all the right boxes.

But as you can see, going through the product prototyping process will be well worth it in the end. It’ll give you so much more confidence in the product your company is going to be putting out.

What May Happen If Product Prototyping Isn’t Performed?

If your company chooses not to invest in prototype development services, you might get lucky and not encounter any issues because of it. If your product is incredibly simple and straightforward, you might be able to get away with not doing any product prototyping.

But these cases will be very rare. More often than not, your company will be making a huge mistake if you decide not to do product prototyping. You’ll almost instantly regret it and wish you had gone through this process.

Why? Well, most products aren’t going to turn out the way you want them to be the first time you manufacture them. There will be at least a few small problems with them that consumers might complain about later on.

You can steer clear of finding yourself in this situation thanks to prototype development services. They’ll uncover these issues and let you make changes to your product so that you aren’t forced to spend the next few months fielding complaints from angry consumers.

If you choose not to do any product prototyping, there is also a chance you might release a product that could potentially be dangerous for people to use. It could open your company up to all kinds of legal action, especially if you aren’t able to prove that you did your due diligence on a new product prior to selling it.

There isn’t usually going to be a whole lot of good that will come out of not doing any product prototyping. It might save your company some time and money on the front end. But you may pay the price for this later if a new product is defective in any way.

Which Industries Can Benefit From Product Prototyping?

The simple truth is that just about any company in any industry can benefit from product prototyping. But there are some industries that will find prototype development services to be more useful than others.

Here are a handful of the industries that can benefit from product prototyping the most:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Medical
  • Oil and gas
  • Transportation

But again, you shouldn’t dismiss the idea of doing product prototyping if your company doesn’t fall into any of these categories. If you’re planning to manufacture a product made out of plastic, rubber, metal, or any similar materials, prototype development services will be a wonderful investment.

What Are the Different Types of Product Prototyping?

One of the really cool things about product prototyping is that there isn’t just one way to go through this part of the product development process. There are tons of different types of prototypes that your company can produce when you’re attempting to fine-tune a product and make it perfect.

Sketching and diagrams are some of the most basic forms of product prototyping. They’ll bring together all the ideas you have for a product and allow you to figure out how they’ll all fit together.

But you shouldn’t stop there. Here are some of the other types of product prototyping that should also be on the table:

  • Physical models
  • Wireframes
  • Working models
  • Video prototypes

These days, companies have also started to use what’s called rapid prototyping to their advantage. It involves utilizing 3D CAD software and a 3D printer to bring a product prototype to life in no time at all. Rapid prototyping is great for those companies that want to create prototypes quickly so that they can get a product out into the world faster than they would be able to otherwise.

What Are the Stages Associated With Product Prototyping?

No matter which types of prototypes your company decides to create, you’re going to need to work your way through a specific series of stages during prototype development services. These stages are designed to help you both create a prototype for a product and, more importantly, put it to the test to see whether or not it works as it should.

There are five stages that you’ll need to complete with a prototype before you can declare it a success or a failure. Here are the stages that you’ll need to move through:

  1. Defining a product
  2. Focusing on a product’s features
  3. Producing a prototype for a product
  4. Testing a prototype
  5. Presenting a prototype

Most of the time, a company that is doing product prototyping will need to go through these five stages over and over (and over!) again until they’re left with a prototype that is as close to perfect as it gets. It’ll be important for your company to practice patience throughout this process.

How Many Prototypes Need to Be Created?

As you’ve seen so far, there are crystal-clear answers to most of the questions that companies have about prototype development services. But there isn’t a clear-cut answer to this particular question, and there is a good reason for this.

It would be impossible for us to sit here and tell you exactly how many prototypes your company will have to create before you’re done with the product prototyping process. It’ll depend on everything from the complexity of your product to the logistical challenges you might face while putting prototypes together.

There are some companies that will only have to create a few prototypes while doing product development before landing on what will become their finished products. There are other companies that will create dozens and sometimes even hundreds of prototypes before finding winning formulas for their products.

You should try not to put a cap on how many prototypes your company is going to create. Generally speaking, you’ll need to create as many prototypes as it takes to get a product to a point where you’re satisfied with how it looks and functions.

When Is the Product Prototyping Process Over?

Just like it would be difficult for us to say how many prototypes your company will need to create while developing a product, it’ll also be tough to tell you when the product prototyping process is over. It’s going to be a different answer for all companies.

With that being said, there are some signs that will suggest the product prototyping process is over. Here they are:

  • Your product doesn’t have any obvious (or not-so-obvious!) design flaws that could hinder its ability to work in the way it’s supposed to
  • Your product is 100% safe to use
  • Your product can be manufactured at a reasonable price for your company
  • Your product isn’t the same as or even similar to any other products that are already on the market
  • Your product serves the original purpose that your company came up with for it

It’ll be imperative that you make sure your product is everything you want it to be before you bring the product prototyping process to an end. Not doing enough prototype manufacturing could be almost as bad as not doing any product prototyping at all in the first place.

Who Can Provide Prototype Development Services?

When your company first sets out to create a prototype for a product, you might be able to put something together on your own. But after that, you’re going to want to work with an experienced and skilled manufacturing company that can provide you with all the right prototype development services.

Shield Works is a British-owned company located in China that can set you up with a wide range of services, including:

  • Assembly
  • Manufacturing
  • Order consolidation
  • Warehousing
  • Quality inspection and testing

We also specialize in delivering some of the best prototype development services to those companies that are just setting out to create new products. We can help you piece together different types of prototypes and work with your company for as long as we have to in order to ensure your complete satisfaction with your prototypes and products.

Trust Us to Set Your Company Up With Prototype Development Services

Is your company currently in need of prototype development services? Shield Works can speak with you more about the importance of product prototyping and explain everything it entails.

We can also lend a hand when it comes to all the other aspects of manufacturing a new product and make sure that you’re able to give it every possible chance to succeed when you release it to the world. Contact us today to get additional information on the long list of services that we can provide to your company.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Product Prototype

Henry Ford’s invention of the assembly line revolutionized manufacturing in 1913. As long as humans have manufactured products, they have started with a prototype.

A product prototype is an early model of a product. Prototypes are used to test and refine the design before it goes into full production.

The success of a product often depends on the quality of its prototype. As a result, prototyping is a crucial step in product development.

Creating a product prototype can also be a challenging task. It’s easy to make mistakes without proper preparation.

If you want to launch a new product, this article will help you avoid costly mistakes. Read on for a complete guide to what you should avoid when creating a prototype!

How Do Prototypes Work?

A prototype is an initial version of a product created to check the design and functionality.

The main purpose of a prototype is to provide a visual representation of the product. Manufacturers also use the prototype to test a product’s features. They consider the design and manufacturing processes before producing the final product.

Manufacturers create prototypes using various methods, including:

  • Manual fabrication
  • 3D printing
  • Computer-aided design (CAD) software

The method will depend on the complexity and specific requirements of the project. Once the prototype is complete, the design team can identify any issues or areas for improvement.

Prototypes play a crucial role in the product development process. They can help reduce the risk of production errors, improve product quality, and reduce costs. This way, manufacturers can identify and address issues early on in the process.

Additionally, prototypes are a way to present the product to potential investors and customers. The prototype can help show the potential of the product and secure funding and support.

1. Not Fully Understanding the Product

One of the most common mistakes made when creating a product prototype is not having a clear understanding of the product. This can lead to design flaws and issues with functionality, which can result in wasted time and resources.

A lack of clarity on what the product does and what it should look like can result in a prototype that doesn’t meet the desired specifications.

To avoid this mistake, designers should have a complete understanding of the product. This includes its intended use, target market, and any specific requirements.

It’s helpful to conduct market research to understand what competitors offer. Designers should also consider what consumer needs the market fails to meet.

Having a clear understanding of the product will help ensure that the prototype design aligns with the intended purpose. This will also make it easier to identify and address any potential issues during the prototyping process.

2. Ignoring the Manufacturing Process

Another common mistake when creating a product prototype is ignoring the manufacturing process. The design of a product prototype has to account for the method of manufacturing used for mass production.

Ignoring the process can result in a prototype that’s difficult or even impossible to manufacture. These difficulties can lead to costly delays and even a complete rework.

To avoid this mistake, it is important to consider the manufacturing process during the prototype design stage. Research and test manufacturing methods to determine the most efficient and cost-effective process.

You should also optimize the design for the chosen manufacturing process. This will help you create a product you can produce in large quantities.

Take the time to consider the manufacturing process during the prototype design stage. This will help ensure that the final product is easy to manufacture efficiently and cost-effectively.

3. Choosing the Wrong Manufacturing Partner

While many companies handle manufacturing and prototyping in-house, others outsource the production.

A key aspect of the product development process is finding the right manufacturing partner. A manufacturing partner can help bring the product prototype to life with the highest quality standards.

Choosing the wrong manufacturing partner can result in significant problems. The wrong manufacturing partner may produce poor quality, delays, and increased costs.

Be sure to research and carefully select the right manufacturing partner. Assess their experience, capacity, and quality control processes.

You should also consider the location of your partner. Working with a manufacturer in a different time zone or region can impact communication. Communication issues can then lead to unexpected challenges.

Consider the cost of production when choosing a manufacturing partner. Working with a low-cost manufacturer may seem like a good option at first. Choose carefully, as it may also result in lower-quality products and production issues.

A more expensive manufacturer may provide a higher level of quality and support. It may also result in higher production costs.

4. Underestimating the Cost of Manufacturing

When creating a product prototype, it can be easy to underestimate the cost of manufacturing. This can lead to significant financial problems like insufficient funding and profits.

The cost of manufacturing includes not only the cost of materials and labor, but also tooling, shipping, and other indirect costs.

Make sure you get an accurate estimate of the cost of manufacturing before starting production. Manufacturing costs include the cost of materials and labor. You should also account for any other indirect costs associated with the manufacturing process.

Additionally, take into account any potential changes in the cost of materials or labor over time.

For example, fluctuations in the cost of raw materials can impact the total cost of production. Be prepared for unexpected changes in the market.

Taking the time to accurately estimate the cost of manufacturing is a crucial step in prototype production. This will ensure that there’s enough funding to bring the product to market and that the final product is profitable.

Having an accurate cost estimate can also help you find investors. Investors will be more comfortable funding a prototype if they know how much you plan to spend.

5. Insufficient Research on Chinese Manufacturers

China is a popular destination for product manufacturing. Many Chinese manufacturers offer low-cost production options.

Many companies are wary of working with Chinese manufacturers. Outsourcing manufacturing overseas sometimes results in quality control issues and intellectual property theft.

Thoroughly research any potential Chinese manufacturers before entering into a partnership. This includes evaluating their experience, capacity, and quality control processes.

You should also consider their reputation within the industry. Think about the legal and regulatory environment in China and any potential production risks.

Communicate with the manufacturer and establish clear expectations and protocols for quality control. Discuss regular inspections and testing to ensure reliable quality standards.

China-based manufacturing facilities can of course produce high-quality products. There are plenty of reputable Chinese manufacturers to choose from as long as you research thoroughly.

Many facilities based in China have completely western management and ownership.

6. Creating a Prototype That’s Difficult to Manufacture

Having a well-designed prototype is essential for successful product manufacturing. Prototype designs not optimized for manufacturing can lead to significant challenges in production.

It’s crucial to design the prototype with the manufacturing process in mind. 

Consider the materials, tooling, and processes required for production. The cost and lead time associated with each should also be a factor.

Think about potential challenges or limitations that may arise in the manufacturing process. You might encounter several issues, such as:

  • Tooling limitations
  • Material availability
  • Manufacturing complexity

Additionally, you should work closely with the manufacturing partner throughout the design process.

They may advise changes to the design to make it more cost-effective or easier to manufacture. You might reduce the number of components or use simpler manufacturing processes.

When you consult with your manufacturing partner, don’t be too committed to a particular design element. Although you have a clear vision for your product, the manufacturing team will help you keep it workable.

7. Not Having a Cost-Effective Prototype Design

For any product prototype, you should consider the cost of manufacturing. Work to create a design that is both functional and cost-effective.

A design that is not cost-effective can lead to increased costs and reduced profitability. This can make it difficult to bring the product line to market.

To keep the design cost-effective, consider the cost of materials, tooling, and labor when designing the prototype. 

You may need to alter the design to reduce costs. More cost-effective materials or simplifying the manufacturing process can keep costs down.

Think about the cost implications of different design choices. Make informed decisions that balance cost and functionality.

Designers should conduct a cost-benefit analysis before moving forward with a design. With the chances of an economic recession going up, it’s crucial to keep costs low.

Compare the cost of different materials and manufacturing processes. If necessary, explore alternative manufacturing options.

8. Lack of Scalability in Designs

In the design stage, you should consider the potential for future growth of your product. A scalable design will help you meet future demand in the manufacturing stage.

A prototype design that is not scalable can lead to production limitations. This makes it difficult to expand into other markets.

Design your product to be easily modified or expanded in the future. Use materials and components that are readily available.

You should also consider the potential for automation and other manufacturing improvements. At later stages of production, a design you can automate production for can greatly increase your profit margins.

9. Not Protecting Intellectual Property

When you come up with the idea for a product, take steps to ensure you keep control over your intellectual property. Any patents, trademarks, and copyrights are a part of the intellectual property (IP) of the product.

Failure to protect IP can lead to disputes, expensive legal battles, and the loss of ownership rights over the product. Financial and legal issues like these can destroy a product launch.

To avoid IP issues, get a legal review to protect the IP of the product. File for patents, trademarks, and copyrights, and keep any confidential information secure.

Consider working with an IP attorney to review the prototype design. A legal expert can identify any potential IP issues or infringement risks.

Keep in mind the IP implications of working with a manufacturing partner. This is especially important when dealing with manufacturers in other countries.

Steps you can take to protect IP include:

  • Adding confidentiality clauses in contracts
  • Conducting due diligence on the manufacturer
  • Taking steps to protect the IP of the product during the manufacturing process.

10. Not Having a Plan for the Product Line

Before you take a prototype into the manufacturing stage, work with your team to create a production plan. Have a plan for the product line and how the product will fit into the strategy of the business.

A lack of planning for the product line can lead to confusion and inconsistencies. Poor planning can stop an enterprise from making it past the prototype stage.

Create a product line plan that outlines any future products and how they’ll fit together. Consider the target market, and determine the potential for future growth and expansion.

Ways to Avoid Prototype Mistakes

Making a mistake in the prototyping process can stop a product before it gets off the ground. You can use several strategies to avoid making mistakes at this stage.

  • Plan and research thoroughly
  • Work with a trusted manufacturing partner
  • Budget in advance
  • Consider scalability
  • Protect your intellectual property
  • Plan for the product line

Precision OEM Manufacturing

Creating a product prototype is an exciting and challenging process. It requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a commitment to quality.

Many common mistakes during the process can lead to issues with production. Mistakes can cause costly delays, poor quality, and difficulty in bringing the product to market. By avoiding the mistakes outlined in this post, you’re sure to have a successful product launch.

Shield Works has provided customized manufacturing and assembly services for nearly 18 years. Contact us today to learn more about starting production on your prototype!