5 Benefits of Rapid Prototyping
Here Are Five Benefits that Rapid Prototyping Can Bring to Your Next Big Idea
When it comes to the prototyping stage, nothing is more important to your final product. It helps you test different components and refine your ideas, providing a clear pathway from concept to reality. This stage occurs early enough in the development process to provide product designers with valuable insights – before too many resources are allocated to a concept that has little chance for success. Here, we’ll break down how rapid prototyping benefits your product development cycle in the long run.
What Is Rapid Prototyping?
With approximately 30,000 new products launching each year, how can your brand stand out? One of the best ways is to use a prototype early in the development stage. Prototyping is defined as the creation of functional or nonfunctional samples to help validate ideas, test designs, and acquire approvals.
Essentially, it’s the step where your big ideas are put to the test. The goal of your concept models is to help your team learn what works, what doesn’t work, and where improvements can be made. Gaining these valuable insights makes it possible to pivot if needed and finalize your product into one that has everything consumers need and expect from your brand.
Your prototype can be manufactured in several different ways by expert engineers. With the innovative techniques in place today, prototyping engineers can take almost anything you can envision and turn it into a tangible object ready for evaluation. Commonly used prototyping tools include:
- Multi jet fusion (MJF)
- Selective laser melting
- Stereolithography (SLA)
- CNC machining
- Injection molding
- Urethane casting
Benefits of Rapid Prototyping
At this stage, your R&D team can validate the most promising concepts on the table, using a prototype to test core features with a panel of users, assess how this concept meets current market demand, and make adjustments as needed prior to launch. Rapid prototyping helps you make the most of this step in the product development cycle. Partnering with expert engineers has several benefits, including:
Reducing Product Development Costs
Rapid prototyping lets you turn your concept into a test subject quickly and efficiently.
Time-saving measures early in the development stage help bring you one step closer to a final product that yields a return on your investment. Whether you’re an established global brand or a small business, any cost reduction can help your bottom line.
Allowing Functionality Testing
Your prototype reflects exactly how your product looks and operates. Testing and retesting provide opportunities to fine-tune your ideas and turn them into the winning designs that are most likely to succeed. Does it offer a sound user experience? Does it achieve your goals? At this point, you can uncover the features that need a little more work and identify potential areas for expansion.
Eliminating the Risk of Product Failure
If your product designers discover major issues during the testing phase, these critical design flaws can be remedied before your product hits the market. It’s much easier to fix a prototype than it is to fix a product that’s already in the hands of consumers. A thorough evaluation of your design helps minimize the chance of failure in the long run.
Improving User (and Stakeholder) Involvement
Prototypes encourage collaboration and constructive feedback from vital sources. After creating a low- to medium-fidelity prototype that meets your expectations, you can create a high-fidelity prototype for users and stakeholders to explore for themselves. This enhanced model makes it easier to gain outside insights on the final iteration of your proposed product and reassure stakeholders in their investments toward your ideas.
Ergonomically Evaluating and Identifying Product Hazards
Prototyping allows product designers to identify potential product safety and/or compliance issues. From form to function, this stage is where you can get to the root of any risk factors involved in your design. Numerous materials are used in the prototyping process, making it easy to find the ideal combination that ensures your final product achieves your goals.
Contact Advantage Engineering
Our experts can walk you through the process step-by-step. Speak with Advantage Engineering to learn how rapid prototyping can help launch your next big idea and save valuable time and resources along the way.