In business, there are three things that matter to be successful – quality, price, and effectiveness. You need to have a good quality product for your customers to trust you and prefer your brand to the rest. Price is important in product delivery because you need to have a perfect balance between affordability and profitability. Lastly, the effectiveness of your product. This is not easy to achieve because it needs time and cost.
To achieve all three, you need the right manufacturing technique to deliver your products to customers on time. If you fail to deliver a new part or piece on time, your competitor may capture the market intended for you.
Only rapid prototyping services can deliver these essentials to you. The rise of innovative manufacturing techniques using computer-assisted design paves the way for a cost-effective method in developing and testing new parts and products. Rapid prototyping may be the ultimate solution to your dilemma, but like any other processes, it too has some pitfalls.
As with other technologies, it is not a one size fits all formula. Here we explore the pros and cons of rapid prototyping and how to use it properly to ensure your success.
Advantages of rapid prototyping
Using rapid prototyping, you can have your part or product designed and tested in a short timeframe. This allows you to have a full-scale model ready to determine whether it meets your requirement or not. If it’s all good, then you can approve the full production of the product and move on to develop more products. If there are design flaws, then you can either work on iterations or discard the idea altogether. With rapid prototyping, you did not waste much time as you would in the traditional method.
It has been said repeatedly, but rapid prototyping is the most cost-effective among the forms of prototyping. This is because you are dealing with low volume production and will not spend as much in the final production model. It allows you to do product testing without great financial risk. This help to keep your production within the budget and will save your money further in case the prototype turned out to be a success.
Full-scale model for approval
Depending on your business model, with rapid prototyping, you can send physical model for the client and management’s approval. These prototypes can help them determine its viability, effectiveness, and reception of the market before an order for full-scale manufacturing is made. The feedback from multiple sources can help improve the final design to gain the upper hand in the market.
Disadvantages of rapid prototyping
When the focus is on a limited prototype, it can distract the product developers from doing proper product analysis of the complete project. They may overlook a better solution, or may not complete the specification that will result in poor engineered projects that can be hard to maintain.
If a prototype reached the customers, they might mistake it for the final product. If what they see is a rough prototype, they will not understand that it is subject to further finishing or polishing and may perceive that it is the actual performance or appearance of the final product. Worst, they may grow found a prototype feature that will not be included in the final product.
Rapid prototyping techniques can also limit your option. There are many other options available to make a prototype. Although they are not as fast, they have many good features too like creating many moving parts that interlocks and work together. In complicated projects, rapid prototyping may not be the best choice.
Deciding on whether to rapid prototyping services in your manufacturing process depends on your business needs. It all depends on what kind of prototyping you need. Simple projects it can do well, but for more complex and larger projects, you can try other options.