Fabrication of a prototype model or early sample of a finished product is a critical step in product design.  Designers frequently use companies with special skills in prototyping services to accomplish this task. With a completed prototype, you can check your concept and test the product to identify any potential flaws or defects prior to the investment into expensive production tooling and machinery not to mention the risk of producing a large quantity of parts and components without sufficient prototype evaluation. Done properly, efficient prototyping saves time, effort, and cost. Of course, it is imperative that you consider only the best prototype companies to ensure a quality product, as there are many ways to approach a prototype.

Prototyping Services done well

Whether you are interested in CNC prototype services, rapid prototyping services, or 3-D printed prototypes, the most important factors are precision, speed, and the identification of the process that will best meet your prototype requirements.

Because the prototype manufacturing process is often different than the process that will be used in mass production, care must be taken in communication of the critical aspects of a design between the designer and fabricator.  From that information, the best prototype providers are able to engineer the build process in order to precisely manufacture the prototype to be as production representative as possible.  No prototype is exactly like its production counterpart; however skillful processing can reproduce intricate designs with great precision.  Precise prototypes from metal prototyping providers, plastic prototyping suppliers, and CNC prototyping suppliers play an important role in validating designs to be used in production.

For speed, qualified prototyping services companies must complete the task quickly without compromising on quality. Efficient data handling and a culture of enthusiasm with customer service are key to achieving this speed.  After all, with a quickly produced prototype, valuable production time and cost can be saved. Keep in mind that depending on the results of the first prototype, a design revision and additional validation may prove necessary. Therefore, the quicker the part or component is produced, the quicker the modifications can be made. This makes it possible to go into mass production and launch the product efficiently in a short amount of time.  A poorly evaluated design; rushed straight to production without sufficient prototype evaluation is a big cause of product launch trouble and can add to a companies risk of quality defects or warranties.  The prototype process, done well, is a time saver, and a money saver for the end manufacturer.

Finally, selection of the appropriate prototype process is another key to success. The best prototype service companies will be able to talk with you specifically about what it is you are most trying to learn during the prototype build, and design the process accordingly to best match those goals.  In some cases, use of production intent materials is the most important.  In others, it may be aesthetic or assembly function issues.  In others, it may be systems engineering checks.  Each of these needs may drive a different choice of build process. Technology has advanced in recent years, providing a variety of new options for manufacturers, including 3-D printing and 3-D rapid prototyping. Today, plastic and metal prototyping providers can use these technologies, also known as additive manufacturing, to compliment any machining, casting, molding, fabrication and decorating techniques they have.  Additive technologies using lasers that can fuse powdered metal in 20-micron layers are now being used in this additive technology field; so the options available continue to expand.  The best prototyping services will be able to match your specific need to the best process to get you the prototype product in the fastest and most cost effective way.