The product development cycle includes several steps. It begins with initial concept sketches and models, and then it goes through prototyping and testing phases. While these phases are traditionally clearly defined and vital to the final design, what happens when you need to move through the process quicker?
There is a way for your team to take designs into the production phase sooner than traditional approaches allow. Bridge tooling streamlines this process. From cutting costs to saving time, this method can help you successfully meet consumer or other businesses demands without sacrificing quality. Learn more about how rapid tooling services can benefit your business.
What Is Bridge Tooling?
Bridge tooling is the part of the product development stage that bridges the gap between prototyping and production. It's the ideal solution for high-quality, limited-quantity production. These parts and tools are manufactured using aluminum, soft-steel grades, and other materials.
These cutting-edge solutions help bring your design to life with precision accuracy. Depending on your product specifications and volume needs, a professional rapid tooling prototyping company can help you select the ideal method for your needs.
How Does It Help Manufacturers Go to Market Sooner?
When time and cost restraints are a factor, bridge tooling can boost your product development cycle in the long run. Offering an alternative solution to the traditional product development model, this service lets you produce parts ahead of the final production phase. Furthermore, it does so without compromising product integrity. This method yields premium-quality results, making it easier to test the market's response to your design and deliver feasibly manufactured products to the consumer.
In terms of lead times and cost, bridge tooling has the advantage over traditional production tooling. This service can yield product quantities ranging from tens to a few thousand parts. Some techniques can even be used to produce a few hundred thousand parts depending on the materials used. With lead times for these quantities ranging from a matter of hours to a couple of weeks to a couple of months, your final product can launch very quickly.
Is Bridge Tooling Always the Right Answer?
While bridge tooling as a low-volume production method has several advantages, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for every design. As with any service, bridge tooling has its limitations and may not prove to be in your best interests. Here are just a few occasions where this service can prove to be the ideal option:
Thousands of plastic components need to be released in the market to fulfill an order.
Hundreds of trial parts are required for products still in the R&D stage.
Quantities are low enough that bridge tooling can serve as the final production method.
Ramp-up volumes require initial support.
Early production orders are necessary to ensure the return on investment is worth it.
Keeping production moving when an issue with your supply line arises.
Custom or limited edition accessories can enhance an established design.
When the need arises for production-quality parts on a short timeline, seek advice from your prototyping partner. A professional well-versed in rapid tooling services can help you decide if this method is best for your project needs and make sound recommendations for materials, techniques, and more.
Discover Innovative Product Solutions at Advantage Engineering
Every product is unique. Bridge tooling makes it easy to go to market, but other options are available. Depending on the project and the intent for creating a part, several methods could suit your design.