Producing injection molded prototypes before beginning mass production is an invaluable way to ensure a successful product. Just like the word "prototype" suggests, injection molded prototypes offer the opportunity to fully test a product before diving into expensive mass production and an opportunity to properly iron out kinks and troubleshoot problems. The simple fact of life is that theory is never the same as reality; one can only hope to bring reality as close as possible to theory. This means that no one can account for all the factors that will make a product turn out a certain way, so the only way to ensure reproducibility and accuracy of design is through testing – that is, by producing prototypes.
There are many advantages of prototype production, including offering the opportunity for adjustments in part engineering and allowing you to show consumers, distributors, and sales executives a sneak peek into your designs. This part is important because many people have difficulty envisioning how something will look, feel, and function from a drawing. An injection molded prototype gives your audience a way to relate to your product without the need for technical knowledge, as the prototype gives them something to hold and study.
Here are some more reasons why prototype production is essential.1. To verify functionality: After all the brainstorming is done, the only way to find out if a product idea will perform as intended is by actually producing it and testing it. This is the fundamental reason for prototyping – what good is a product that doesn't work? This step is a no-brainer if you plan to be mass producing a million or more products. To produce something on such a huge scale only to find out that it doesn’t work would be a waste of time, money, and resources, so producing and testing prototypes is the only way to ensure that the engineering is sound and that the product is guaranteed to work.
2. To design for manufacturability: Designing a product entails a lot of tradeoffs, including cost, efficiency, aesthetics, and manufacturability. The only way to know if a product is manufacturable in large quantities is to make injection molded prototypes. Injection molded products can prove that a design is or is not able to be product en masse in the most effective manner, or the highest number of products in the least amount of time.3. To obtain market feedback: The most important opinions about a product are the opinions of the consumers. Their choices are the ones that will determine how profitable your product will be. Making initial prototypes and seeking consumer opinion on the prototypes will give you insight into how the market will receive your final product. Making prototypes and accepting feedback will indicate what you need to improve upon or what may need to be discarded. The data you collect from this endeavor makes injection molded prototypes a necessity before taking your product into mass production.
4. To obtain government or third party approval: Many products are subject to testing by third party agencies to guarantee safety protocols and identify possible hazards that may occur while using the product. Products can be tested for quality as well, to assure consumers that a product is reliable and functional. It is therefore imperative to test a prototype that is as identical to the final product as possible.
5. To garner financial support: In the current economic climate, theoretical evidence simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Investors want to limit their risk to the barest minimum and will therefore want a sample of the product that they can use to make more informed decisions. There's an added advantage for the salesperson trying to get investment, as it is far easier to show how a product works than it is to describe an idea.
6. To file patents: Although not strictly required anymore, developing a prototype may help in filing patents more quickly and effectively. Patents are given to the first person or body to reduce an idea into a demonstrably usable form – and how better to create a usable form for demonstration than actually producing the product?
There are more reasons why one ought to invest time and effort into injection molded prototypes, but the above are some of the most pertinent. Basically, with prototyping you can never go wrong.
Click on cover below to download our eBook