Benefits of Rapid Prototyping

In the electronic age of technological advancement, rapid prototyping offers huge amounts of benefit. This is a key topic in leadership and innovation.

Rapid prototyping refers to a modelling technique used to accelerate and enhance the process of developing new products. It is carried out using 3D printers coupled with computer aided design(CAD) software and entails creating actual scale products both for analytical purposes and also production tooling.There are several benefits of rapid prototyping:

rapid prototyping project
It enhances innovation

Rapid prototyping improves innovation since it avoids the limitations of normal prototyping which requires one to first produce precise and laborious prototype tooling and other physical components. This method enables designers to create much more complex models than the normal prototyping.

The method provides time savings

By avoiding creation of patterns, molds and special tools needed in conventional modeling, rapid prototyping significantly reduces the duration between the initial design and the analysis stages. This means that a highly precise model is created very fast and its features, usability and performance tested. This automated process can enable the designers rapidly modify products after feedback. The time saved helps companies achieve competitive advantage through quicker launch of new products. It allows any flaws to be identified BEFORE manufacturing commences.

It reduces costs significantly

Using rapid prototyping means no special tools are required for every new product since the same printing equipment and CAD are used. This reduces both material and staff costs. It also minimizes wastes since material is added only where it is needed. Conventional prototyping produce a lot of waste through chippings and material cut-offs when the tools are creating the finished prototype or model.

Rapid Prototyping can be done using graphical programming and electronic kits – such as Flowcode and Eblocks, with PIC programming – Arduino is a popular choice and well-supported.

It provides valuable realistic visualization

Creating realistic 3D models aids the designers when making presentations of new product ideas to such interested parties as investors, stakeholders,board members or clients. These parties need to thoroughly understand the product before approving further development. Designers also get better quality and valuable feedback from potential customers or users since they see the products in realistic physical form, not as concepts. This provides more realistic user data which can be used in the later development phases. The rapid prototyping technique also affords the opportunity of conducting market studies using realistic looking prototypes. The company can then obtain early data relating to the market reaction to the product. This information can then be used to further streamline the design, ultimately boosting sales.

The technique allows for easier customization

Rapid prototyping is a repetitive process, making it easy to affordably create customized products and incorporate personal customer preferences. The teams developing the products do not start from scratch when making the customized products. This enhances competitive advantage through offering increased flexibility and choice to the clients.

Click for an educational introduction from the BBC.

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