Learn how we manage to do rapid industrial prototypes and how we validate them.
What is a prototype?
Prototypes are sample pieces, which get manufactured before the rest of the series. They are used to assess if the final result of the product is worth the investment of continuing production.
Prototypes are made with different testing methods in mind, as their primary function is to be examined and tested before continuing into the final version of the product. By doing this, manufacturers ensure that their output will be up to standards, modifying any problems on the original design before it is too late.
As it is an intermediary process, prototyping should be fast and cheap. An inefficient prototype process could put production on hold needlessly, or cause unnecessary costs to the company. Because of this, rapid prototyping has become increasingly important in the industrial sector.
How is prototyping done?
As with most of the parts we manufacture, it all starts with a design. Our clients design and make the first drawings of pieces which are usually tailored to their every need.
The design is then translated into a 3D model, which will be reviewed and evaluated by our team. They usually make small adjustments to the original plants to ensure that the part is perfectly fitted to our foundry process. We have extensive experience with all kinds of shapes and sizes in components, so we are ready to face most of the models that are submitted to us.
Once the model is perfected, we manufacture the prototype. We usually produce it using the definitive materials, as that makes our clients understand better how the final piece will be. However, we have also worked with plastic materials in cases that require it. Giving the client full access to all materials we use for the get go means that they can have a functioning prototype that fully resembles the final version of the part.
The prototype is then tested and evaluated by our clients, who can decide one of two things:
- They may be satisfied with the results of the prototype, and order a full series using that same model
- They may prefer to review the design to fix any possible flaw that could have surfaced during the prototyping process.
How are prototypes validated?
The most important aspect while validating a prototype is the dimensional validation. In highly demanding industries like the ones we work with, parts must meet very specific dimensions to be validated, so we usually put special care into this process.
We can scan the piece, make a 3D model of the prototype and compare it with the original model. By doing this, we can assure that the original designs have been translated into the prototype without any problem. We also use traditional dimensional controls to compliment this process, along with mechanical testing techniques.
The client can also ask for us to test the prototype with all kinds of destructive and non destructive testing methods that we do in house. Tests like the penetrant liquid test, radiography test, or the magnetic particle test can be used to ensure that the final piece will meet all specifications.
Benefits of using a prototype
Why should you use a prototype before venturing to a full series of a new design?
- It can help you estimate production cost and time, setting realistic expectations for the final product.
- It can be used to test the part in real environments, making sure that it functions as it should.
- It can identify aspects that could be improved for the final design, creating a product that is fit for its use.
- Helps saving costs, as it avoids wasting money into producing a part that would not perform as wished.
- It helps discover design flaws early, avoiding the possibility of ordering a full batch of pieces that would not meet your expectations.
Turning prototypes into archetypes
With our rapid prototyping process, we turn prototypes into archetypes, that is, the ideal version of your product. We can produce functioning prototypes adapted to our foundry process in two weeks, which means that we won’t put you on hold as much as other companies would.
Do you want to be sure that your piece is up to the archetype you have set with your original design? Do you want to ensure that the part will be manufactured with the highest quality in mind?
Contact us and we assure you that you will get the best patternless castings in the market. You will have our complete portfolio of materials at your service, as well as the latest developments in founding and 3d modeling. We can accompany you from the prototyping phase to the full production of the series.