From Prototyping to Production: manufacturability is key
Prototyping not only helps bring production costs down, but it also improves your time-to-market. By working with a partner that is able to look at both engineering and manufacturability, companies set themselves up for success with the launch of their new product. In this article, we discuss why manufacturability and modular prototyping are key when going through the prototyping phase.
Launching a new or updated product is, in several markets, quite an operation. In many, safety and other regulations require companies to go through several phases of tests or governmental approval processes before their product can be introduced. Additionally, the real-life durability or quality of a product is impossible to determine solely based on the design or model. And lastly, during the actual manufacturing process, companies regularly encounter new information that forces them to significantly change the design of certain parts or modules. Prototyping is a way to limit product development risks, finetune the product and refine the manufacturing process.
Antonius supports companies with a working model or concept during the prototyping stage and with at scale production. Our speciality is manufacturability, which includes steel construction, material selection, production techniques, sheet metal and assembly. This expertise allows us to already consider the manufacturing impact of choices during the prototyping phase, preventing delays or significant increases in production costs.
Prototyping: from model to something manufacturable
When a company presents us with a working model, their proof-of-concept, we are always impressed by their innovative thinking and concept. They are rightfully proud of what they have achieved. But at the same time, we realize that most of the components have, for example, been 3D-printed and the proof-of-concept is not operating under real-world conditions. While the core process or functionality might be proven, most of the design can still change. And that is what we work on during prototyping.
“For one client, we discovered during the prototyping phase that they had selected materials that were simply too expensive to use for at scale production,” says Maurice Schiffelers, Project Engineer at Antonius. “If we had not changed the materials they had selected, the retail price of the application would’ve been too high for them to be competitive. So, we helped them finetune the design and arrive at a competitive cost price for it.”
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Modular prototype: maximize testable concepts, minimize costs
Especially when time-to-market is important – and when isn’t it? – it makes sense to opt for a modular approach to prototyping. Modular prototyping means that one prototype should allow you to test a number of elements instead of the prototype as a whole. A part or application is split into multiple modules that can be swapped out to create multiple prototype versions. Modular prototyping helps you to evaluate engineering decisions and part designs more quickly, explains Maurice:
“The exhaust of one application was proving to be a challenge, we needed to prevent residue from re-entering the process while also making sure the application would not overheat. We eventually found the right balance by testing several different modules that we had prepared beforehand.”
Manufacturability and prototyping
Manufacturability is not just about whether something can be made, it needs to be practical in every sense of the word as well. Materials that are too expensive or difficult to source, components that require labour intensive production techniques or construction choices with negative consequences for durability or maintenance are examples of consequences that can be foreseen or negated during prototyping.
By working with Antonius’ specialized team, companies benefit from our experience with the engineering, manufacturing and assemble of high-quality products and applications. Contact our Sales Team for more information at email@example.com or +31 (0)475 439 000.