Companies use rapid prototyping services to speed up product development in the highly competitive market.
Prototypes are early versions of a product that help to evaluate the design and technology to provide robust specifications for the end product. They are integral to the modern product development process, supplemented by rapid prototyping services from prototyping companies.
What Is Rapid Prototyping?
RP (Rapid Prototyping) enables manufacturers to fabricate physical models of their products using CAD (Computer-Aided Design). Manufacturing companies like X Rapid Technologies use rapid prototyping services to create prototypes during various stages of product development.
RP can be used to create components and sub-components of a product any number of times until the desired design or mechanism is achieved. Rapid prototyping services are very helpful throughout the development cycle and are key to creating a well-finished end product.
How Are Rapid Prototypes Made?
The RP process begins with creating a virtual design in CAD software. The following processes depend on the rapid prototyping techniques applied. Take 3D printing as an example. This data is then fed into a 3D printer, which uses layers of raw material in powder form to build several layers or cross-sections. These layers are then joined together automatically to create the 3D prototype. It is the standard procedure of 3D printing, but different rapid prototyping companies may use varying techniques.
The time taken to produce a 3D prototype depends on the design, the number of 3D models needed, and the type of printing machine used. Rapid prototyping services can usually create 3D prototypes in just a few hours.
What Are the Different Types of Rapid Prototyping Techniques?
Rapid prototyping companies need to select the apt RP technology for a particular project to ensure the maximum level of success. Every RP technique has pros and cons in terms of speed, cost, fidelity level, development stage, and material compatibility.
Also, rapid prototyping services often use more than one RP technique to create a prototype. Such an approach is often necessary for more complex designs.
Product designers and rapid prototyping companies often use one or more of the following mainstream RP techniques:
· CNC machining
· Vacuum casting
· 3D printing such as SLA (Stereolithography), SLS (Selective Laser Sintering)
· Sheet metal fabrication
· Reaction injection molding (RIM)
· Die casting
What Are the Types of Rapid Prototypes?
Rapid prototyping companies categorize prototypes according to the purpose required. The type of prototype required also depends on the current stage of development, but broadly, prototypes are classified into:
· Visual prototypes
· Structural prototypes
· Functional prototypes
As prototypes nearly look like the end product, the degree of accuracy can vary highly among all kinds of prototypes in terms of appearance, size, and functionality.
Rapid prototyping services produce visual prototypes very quickly to test the concept of the product. Structural prototypes have high requirements for tolerances. Meanwhile, functional prototypes are similar to the final product in functionality and appearance.
What Are the Benefits of Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping companies have identified the importance of rapid prototypes in the modern consumer market, which is developing at an incredibly fast pace. Companies need to build and release new products faster than their competitors to capture more share in the industry, and rapid prototyping services are a boon in this case.
A company's success depends on the speed of innovation, not just innovation itself. Rapid prototyping companies offer much-needed speed and accuracy in the product development cycle.
Hiring rapid prototyping services can result in the following benefits:
· Faster and efficient development of new products.
· Early validation of fit, function, and form of a design or concept.
· Product verification at the final stage ensuring all requirements and objectives are met.
· Hands-on experience with the product by testers results in invaluable feedback for a more finished end product.