What is rapid prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is a relatively new industry manufacturing development. The first machine for rapid prototyping was released onto the market in late 1980s. Today, they are used for a much wider range of applications and are even used to manufacture production-quality parts in relatively small numbers. Some sculptors use the technology to produce exhibitions.Rapid prototyping includes a lot of techniques, such as Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), CNC Machining
, Vacuum Casting
or Cast Urethane, Solid Grouding Curing, Reaction Injection Molding
or RIM, Rapid Injection Tooling
, Rapid Die Casting and so on.
In addition there are a number of newer processes, such as ballistic particle manufacturing and three-dimensional printing (3D printing
), which have appeared on the market. All these new processes we called them additive manufacturing, essentially start with nothing and end with a completed part. This is in contrast to conventional manufacturing processes or subtractive manufacturing such as milling machines that start from a solid block of a substance and cut material away to form the finished part.
Why is prototyping so important
If you simply build out your entire database and application without testing some of your concepts you will often find yourself with a completed project that is less than optimal in functionality, scale, and performance. The reasons of Rapid Prototyping are
To decrease development time.To extend product lifetime by adding necessary features and eliminating redundant features early in the design. Prototying can detect design flaws before the tooling and inexpensively To decrease costly mistakes and minimize sustaining engineering changes. Prototypes make it possible to do usability testing early in the development process.. Real innovation always includes a risk of failure. By building a prototype, you can quickly weed out the approaches that don’t work to focus on the ones that do.
Prototypes comply with the wish to show fast results to the client, increase effective communication. Not only can the prototype function as a discussion medium between designer and user but also between the embers of the design team. Thus, prototypes may help facilitate work across disciplinary borders, bringing together a disparate team.
Technically understand the problem –Prototypes make it possible to get a formal approval of the design from both programmers and the client before you proceed to the development stage. It is unfortunate that system architecture must come so early in the design process because time only enhances your understanding of the problems that you may encounter. By developing a functional prototype, you are forced to address both the foreseen and the unforeseen technical challenges of a device’s design. Then, you can apply those solutions to a more elegant system design when you move to the final deployed solution.
Gather more accurate requirements –Traditional requirements gathering techniques such as interviews and focus groups can fall short because many people find it difficult to conceptualize a product before they see it. Almost half of all project costs are attributed to rework due to inadequate requirements. By developing a working prototype, you can demonstrate the functionality to help solidify requirements for the final design.
Resolve conflicts –By taking advantage of a prototyping platform, you can quickly conduct several different implementations of the feature and benchmark the resulting performance to analyze the trade-offs of each approach.The best engineers have strong opinions about how a given feature should be implemented. Inevitably, differences of opinion result in conflicts, and these conflicts can be difficult to resolve because both sides have only opinions, experience, and conjecture to refer to as evidence. This can save time, but it also ensures that you make the correct design decisions. Prototypes focus on content and functionality and turn attention away from details of graphic design. Prototypes have the advantage of 'grounding' the discussion during a user session, making the sure the session does not get too much off track.
Prototypes incite criticism from users because they may be low-cost and low-fidelity. If a user is presented with an early version of a system that has required substantial work, he/she is likely to be more reluctant (as well as able) to criticise it.
Prototyping can save time and cost. This is to be expected given the high emphasis that is being given in most industries to reducing both the cost of new product development and time to market.Firms use rapid prototyping technologies to achieve both cost and time savings in the process of new product development.
The figures for time reductions on prototyping vary greatly, ranging from 60 to 90%. On the whole this range is likely to be realistic given that the estimation of time savings, when compared to the conventional methods of prototyping, is a fairly straightforward matter.
In most cases firms using rapid prototyping have gained time reductions in the production of prototype tooling and parts, which is mostly how these time savings have been specified.
How is Rapid Prototyping in China
Rapid prototyping started in China in the early of 1990s. Since then, China's rapid prototyping industry has been developing very rapidly during last two decades. Some good rapid prototype companies have emerged from the market and gradually gaining world-wide reputation. Uidea Rapid Prototype China Co., Ltd.
is one of leading players.
Prototyping companies in China mainland, mainly in pearl river delta area, in the cities like Shenzhen, Dongguan, Zhongshan and Guangzhou. Compared with rapid prototyping service in other countries, rapid prototyping in China still has significantly cost advantage, especially the CNC machined prototypes, vacuum casted prototypes, reaction injection molding, rapid tooling. Chinese RP revolution will probably happen in the next few years.