Prototypes are a necessity in the product development process. However, many are not clear what prototypes to fabricate based on different objectives, resulting in huge wastage on resources. We basically classified the different types of prototypes as below;
– Aesthetic prototype
– Proof of concept
– Beta prototypes
Be it CNC milling, Vacuum casting or 3D Printing, it's not what you use but what you want to achieve that matters.
First, we understand your application and requirement, then with our expertise, we help you choose what is the best type of prototyping you should go ahead with. Some types can be used repeatedly during the course of innovation. Correct approach for prototyping will save money and time which can occur during the manufacturing stage due to any errors in the product design and architecture.
This type of prototype combines the functionality of the product with the overall appearance. Often using bespoke parts, it is likely that production-grade materials will be used in this stage. A presentation prototype is very close to what the final product we are trying to develop will look and work like. This allows clients to see their product closer to the real picture and make decisions based on that.
The earliest version of a product is called the proof of concept. It is the single most crucial part to test the functionality of the product and verify the design concept was engineered correctly and works. The PoC won't be pretty and most likely will not use mass-produced materials, and that's OK – this prototype is only meant to confirm the validity and viability of the idea. If the PoC fails, then the concept does not work and a new concept will be needed.
Beta prototypes of a potential product are usually much closer (80%) to the final product. These product prototypes are, in most cases, tested by prospective consumers as well as the general public. A beta prototype is typically an augmentation of a presentation prototype – meaning it has all the functions in place that are expected for the final product. The beta prototype also has fewer flaws than the presentation prototype.
Nowadays, a product needs to be more than just functional. The color, shape, and feel should evoke a positive response from the client. The goal of an aesthetic prototype is to provide you with a physical sample of how the product will look and feel. Clients may prefer rounded edges over sharp corners or softer materials as opposed to hard ones – difficult to grasp from just renderings. While clients can get an idea of the colors with renderings, it's always best to verify this with a physical sample.
Our aesthetic prototype will answer the following questions:
Does the product have the correct color combinations for the target audience? Does the product have the desired shape for the target market? Does the product feel comfortable when you are using it? Is it ergonomic? If the sample looks great and is ergonomic, then the aesthetic sample is accepted.
The objective of the pre-production prototype is to develop the manufacturing processes and techniques required to produce the product.
Prototype development is a stage in the new product development process. A new product originates as an idea. The pre-production prototype step usually will result in knowledge about the manufacture-ability of the product, the manufacturing processes, maintainability and reliability, material and component lists, plans for field support, installation and production costs, safety and environmental factors, time schedules, and regulatory requirements.