The Importance of Prototyping

What is a prototype? A prototype is a sample or a model of a part or assembly. Many times companies have 3D models on paper of their part or assembly, which is also a perfect world. In order to test and make sure that the part or assembly can be manufactured and the function, form, and fit of the part are followed through, a prototype is made.

Many companies will also create a prototype in order to test the product to their customers. Instead of investing time and money straight into production, and the product not being what the customer wanted, companies will create a prototype to get their opinion. This is beneficial to any company who wants to grow steady. Whereas companies who want to put the pedal to the metal, will rush right into production, but many times there are too many mistakes in a design costing them time and money.

Prototypes are also good to actually test the function. Inventors and new product developers will create prototypes in order to see if their idea will actually follow through in the actual product. Speaking of inventors and new product developers, when attempting to obtain investors for a product, they will want to see an actual physical product rather than seeing it on paper, which means they want to see a prototype.

Let’s take a look at a cost / benefit analysis to see the difference between creating a prototype before production, as oppose to going straight into production. Please note, these are just estimated costs, estimated lead times, estimated line of events for no particular product, but rather just for concept.

 Prototype Before Production

Engineering & Design………….………….$20,000.00…1 year

Prototype…………………………………….$3,000.00…2 weeks

Re-Engineer & Design……………….……..$4,000.00…1 month (assuming changes need to be made after the first prototype)

Prototype…………………………………..…$3,000.00…2 weeks

Production………………………………..…$45,000.00…5 weeks

Total costs…………………………….……..$95,000.00…1 year, 3 months

 

Straight to Production “Taking a shortcut”

Engineering & Design……………..………$20,000.00…1 year

Production…………………………………..$45,000.00…5 weeks

Rework costs…………………………..…..$10,000.00…3 weeks

Scrapping costs………………….……..……$7,000.00…———–

Re-Engineer & Design……………..….…….$4,000.00…1 month

Production…………………………….……..$45,000.00…5 weeks

Total costs………………………………….$131,000.00…1 year, 4 months

As you can see, the cost differences are huge! The company who decided to go the prototype route showed they didn’t bite off more than they could chew and took time to grow. Whereas the company who went straight into production rushed into things in hopes of getting their product to the market quicker, but ended up taking longer and they spent more money.

Here at Vista Industrial Products, Inc., we advise our customers all the time on the importance of prototyping for the long run. The customers who take our advise end up being more successful with their product while saving money in the long run.

If you are interested in fabricating quality prototypes, VIP is the perfect manufacturer. As mentioned in our Prototype vs. Production vs. Mass Production blog post, Vista Industrial Products, Inc. is not known as a prototype house, but rather production. Nevertheless, we cater to customers who require high quality prototypes within our standard lead times. To learn more about our capabilities, please visit our website. Stay tuned for next week’s blog about dimensional drawings (also known as blueprints, prints, etc.).

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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  1. Pingback: 5 Steps: How to Manufacture a Product | Vista Industrial Products, Inc.

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