Product Design & Development: Models and Prototypes

Тhe goal of each project is to pass through „Product design & Development” step by step. It starts with designing in the stages of “Conceptual Development” and “3D Modeling”. It continues with the development of the “Models and Prototypes” stage, through experimental models and functional prototypes, depending on the characteristics and objectives of the project. The previous three stages are very important for organizing and developing the fourth final stage – “Adaptation of Manufacturing”.

Stage: Models and Prototypes

Experimental Models and Main Prototype

Analysis of Stage: “3D Modeling” and building a plan for model and prototype types. Selection of manufacturing technologies, materials, subcontractors and production cost. Development and analysis of experimental models and functional prototypes. Following is the final development of a main prototype. An analysis of the prototype is performed and, if possible, tested under realistic conditions, taking into account the manufacturing technologies and materials used for its manufacture, as well as its technical characteristics.

1.Plan of models and prototypes:

Analysis of Stage: “3D Modeling” and building a master plan for modeling and prototyping. The required number and type of products are specified in compliance with the set objectives and priorities of the project. The basic functional characteristics that are embedded in the product are taken under consideration, and the direction to follow is then determined until a particular end result is achieved. The appropriate types of models and prototypes are selected: mockups and product models for viewing and presentation; experimental models and products – for testing and data collection; making a basic prototype and setting a certain level of functionality or lack of functionality. The amount of models and prototypes, that have to be produced can not be accurately determined due to the specifics of Stage: “Models and Prototypes”. It is possible to make new models and prototypes, or different components and details, in order to clear the ambiguities and improve the final result. All these processes are undertaken with a constructive purpose in the direction of optimization of the structure, specification of the functionality, adaptation to the engineering characteristics of the project, etc.

2.Manufacturing technologies and materials:

Analysis and selection of model and prototype technologies and materials relevant to the specific project. After the selection of model and prototype technologies, communication with different subcontractors is carried out. Тhe technical characteristics, production requirements and used materials are specified. The production cost for each particular product is determined.This will also determine the total production cost of each model and prototype. Discussion over the technical characteristics, which have to be covered by the 3D models is held – necessary for manufacturing of models and prototypes. The appropriate subcontractors are selected for further partnership with and communication – production of models and prototypes.

3.Development of models and prototypes:

Development of selected types of models and prototypes – mockups, product models, experimental models and main prototype. The designed 3D files from Stage: “3D Modeling” are used to get bids with price values. Subcontracting is underway and all possibilities and ways of making the respective models and prototypes are discussed. In the process of production, it is very important to have the feedback between the subcontractors, the client and the designer. Intense communication and discussion is necessary because various problems and obstacles of all kinds arise during the production process. All of this is part of the logical process of developing models and prototypes, with the aim to reach optimal end result. Before and during the production process, some corrections are made in the 3D files, from Stage: “3D Modeling”– regardless of the corrections of the main structure, components, zones or individual details. This is made with the aim to adapt the models and prototypes to the production requirements and the types of materials used. After the production of all models and prototypes a thorough examination, main analysis and discussion is carried out. If necessary, additional parts, details or new models and prototypes are produced.

4.Development of main prototype:

Final development and building of main prototype. Selection of appropriate production technologies and a combination of materials is carried out. The main prototype emphasizes on the technical features such as – structure, vision and functionality. The functionality in the prototype is determined individually for each project – lack of functionality, partial functionality or close to the real functionality of the product. It is desirable, the technical characteristics of the product to reach level of identity 50%, exceeding over that percentage will be advantage for the stage of the project. Reaching certain levels of identity in the prototype is strictly individual for each particular project. In order to optimize the main prototype during its production, it is possible to make further adjustments and corrections of the 3D files – main structure, components or details. Sometimes it is necessary to make individual components or details. During the process there is intensive communication with the subcontractors.

5.Analysis of the main prototype:

A comprehensive analysis, discussion and review of the main prototype is carried out. Different technical characteristics are analysed: structure of the prototype; functional characteristics; styling characteristics; ergonomic zones; main analysis of components and details; analysis of used materials and production technologies for its manufacture; principles of assembly and disassembly, if available in the prototype, etc. If the characteristics of the main prototype allow it to be installed and used in real conditions and environments, a view, data collection and thorough analysis are performed. To perform such a process, its level of functionality is taken into account – a lack of such a function, partial or close to the real functionality of the product.

IMPORTANT: Developing a strategy for modeling and prototyping, according to the priorities of the project, product type and its purpose – mockups, product models, experimental models and functional prototypes. It is impossible to determine accurately the amount of models and prototypes to be produced before the start of Stage: “Models and Prototypes”. An indefinite number of models and prototypes is produced in the process of the stage, tailored to the specific end result, that has to be achieved. The production cost of the stage, departmental models and prototypes, as well as each detail, is impossible to determine until the previous two stages have been completed: Stage: “Conceptual Development” and Stage: “3D Modeling”. Information on the value of individual products that build models and prototypes could be obtained from subcontractors only if there are 3D files. It is only then possible to receive specific price offers from subcontractors. The communication process is very important and it specifies: a final selection of manufacturing technologies and materials for the production of models and prototypes; the production cost of components and details; determining the total production cost of the stage; optimization of the details, taking in to account the technological requirements for their manufacture, etc. During the communication with subcontractors, it may be necessary to upgrade and correct 3D models – 3D files. This is done in order to meet the production requirements of the specific manufacturing technologies and materials used by the subcontractors.

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