Why do I need a prototype?

Posted on 14/09/2012 by Chadanuch Pomankul

A prototye of a trycycle for children

So, what is this “prototype” and why do I need it in product development?

Simply speaking a prototype is a built-up model to test a concept or a new design that is being developed. There used to be the saying “a picture speaks a thousand words”. And this saying captures what prototyping is all about: using visual means to describe thousands of words worth of design and development specifications that details how a system should behave and look.

Prototyping is an essential stage in any product design project. It will show you how the design of the product will respond when used in a real world environment. It will show weaknesses in the manufacturability of the design, and it will provide invaluable feedback about usage and function. Just imagine what can happen if you skip the prototype stage. Let’s say you order thousands of units and then you discover one part isn’t working as it needs to be. How would you feel about that?

If you are new to product development, the prototype stage will be the most amazing and important stage for you. Up to now, you have seen your product being developed on paper or on a computer screen. And sometimes, ideas or drawings of a design are a far cry from the real world in which the product will be used. Prototyping makes it possible to hold your product in your own hands and analyze it carefully. Prototyping is not only beneficial for our clients but also beneficial for our design and engineering team, as it will allow them to test the product before going to mass production.

Prototyping reduces both time and money as it can fine tune the requirements and specifications. If you want to make some changes with your product then the early determination of what the user really wants can result in faster and less expensive alterations. However if you don’t have a prototype and skip all the way to manufacturing it can cost exponentially to make necessary changes or improvements.

At DETEKT, the fourth step in the design process is “Prototyping and Manufacturing Documentation”. This stage follows the detailed engineering work. So soon after you’ve seen your engineered product on your computer screen you can hold it in your own hands. It is the most exciting stage for all of our clients and the last step before you can go ahead to produce your product.




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