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What are Prototype Services?

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  • Written By: J. Airman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Prototype services include every step in the process of designing and producing new testable part and product ideas. Companies often seek prototyping services to flush out design issues in a new concept before the finalized item goes into the production and marketing phases. Most prototypes are drawn using three-dimensional drafting software so the digital design information can be inputted into specialized plastic injection molding and metal stamping machines. These prototyping machines are capable of quickly creating multiple variations on a design so that the best options can be determined through research and development. A new product or part may require several rounds of prototype services and design changes before it is eventually brought to the market.

The design and engineering stages of prototype services often take the longest. Complex three-dimensional forms are often painstakingly plotted to exacting dimensions using graphics software. Completed digital images of prototypes can be viewed from every angle and put through computer simulations to test aerodynamics and shear strength. Design flaws and form issues can easily be addressed and changed at this stage to improve the prototype. It is common for companies to divide the design and production steps of prototype services between more than one prototyping firm.

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Comprehensive prototype services agencies offer a wide range of structural materials and creation methods to meet the most rigorous testing criteria or time schedule. Each version of a prototype item is specifically made for the level of testing it will undergo. Early-stage prototyping generally employs lighter-weight plastics that can quickly be formed for a faster turn around to the company. These first versions of the concept are generally used to judge fit, form, and size only. Later prototypes often incorporate durable machinable plastics and metals that will stand up to real-world use.

A thorough prototype development process increases the likelihood of success for the production item. Many products never make it to full production and marketing after consultations and preliminary testing from a prototype services group. Concepts that make it through the prototype services to final production are generally more refined and tested to be sufficiently viable. Corporations and individuals retain full rights to all their commissioned designs and prototypes whether they decide to cease development efforts or go forward with full-scale production. Abandoned prototypes are commonly used as an inspirational tool to create new and improved product designs that build on lessons learned in the past.

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