PROTOTYPE CONSTRUCTION – QUICK RESULTS ON FUNCTION AND ACCEPTANCE
Despite all simulation possibilities, prototype construction is still an important part of product development, especially in mechanical engineering. And this applies across all industries and sectors. Prototypes enable the testing of the functionality and the physical experience of a product. This is possible because they exist in reality and their construction is sometimes very close to the final product. Prototype production is supplementary to the virtual products designed by means of numerical methods and simulation. But only a real prototype enables reliable functional and user tests and shows possible further development needs. Prototypes are often very important, especially for start-ups, because with the help of the prototype and its proven results, successful investor discussions can be held and the necessary funds for series production can be obtained.
Prototype construction – an important element of product development
Digitalisation, which has now found its way almost everywhere, has also changed physical prototyping. CAD planning, simulations, electronic data acquisition and data evaluation as well as 3D-printing or laser-cutting for the production of individual parts are now common methods in prototype construction.
QUO has many years of experience in this field and with its in-house workshop also offers ideal possibilities to produce and test prototypes directly on site. Typically, there are different stages in this process:
At the beginning the product to be developed will be sketched in order to work out a first possible illustration. This is followed by a more detailed elaboration using paper or cardboard prototyping. At this point the product ideas are visualized for the first time. These methods can be part of a Design-Thinking-Workshop, but are mostly adopted by industrial designers.
A first “real” visualisation is made with the help of mock-ups. These are models of the product to be developed, which already look very similar to it, but do not yet have any significant functionality and are therefore often used for first presentations. If functionality is in the focus of attention, QUO develops a functional model, which shows the full or a partial function. The appearance is secondary, it is only about the feasibility and the proof that something works.
Prototyping – possibility for functional tests and investor search
The functional model is followed by the development and construction of a prototype. This prototype is very similar to the final product in appearance and function. In most cases, it is a single item, which could, however, be duplicated with the appropriate effort. The functional scope corresponds at least to that of the later product, but can also go beyond that (e.g. additional sensors for further measurement data or special operating modes for further development). At QUO we develop, implement and test controls, sensors, drives, various mechanical components or operating elements ourselves, depending on the product and customer requirements. The materialization resp. appearance of the prototype is close to that of a series product, but due to the high initial costs for series tools, it is usually manufactured with technologies that allow “batch size 1” (3D-printing, vacuum casting, etc).
Also the components inside are more purpose than cost optimized. It is therefore clear that a prototype is always more expensive than a series product, but is a good basis for cost optimization. This will become an issue at the latest when product development continues in the direction of pilot series after the prototype. The finished prototypes are used for functional tests in the laboratory or in the field, user tests, surveys or product presentations at investor meetings or crowdfunding. The knowledge gained in this way gives the customer certainty about the functionality and appearance of the product. The resources gained are used in a targeted manner for further development towards series production. QUO will also be happy to support you in this area.
- Idea generation
- Conceptual design
- Evaluation and procurement of components
- Commissioning of experimental setups, functional samples or prototypes
- Performance of measurements and functional tests
- Evaluation of the collected data
- Possible optimization and quality control
- Manufacturing and assembly
- control and measurement engineering
- Data preparation and visualization
- Risk analysis
QUO – Support for prototype production
We are your development partner from concept to prototype construction. Start up ideas excite us. Profit from our extensive know-how. You can reach us at +41 44 307 40 60 and we are always available to answer your questions. We would be happy to help you with your current project or support you in preparing for series production. Arrange a free initial consultation with us and convince yourself of our competence.