Concept to Creation: The Automotive Prototyping Process
Rapid prototyping has become a common and useful technology source among automotive and aerospace engineers, scientists, medical researchers and more. Multiple iterations of an idea can be produced in the development process. In the automotive industry, rapid prototyping benefits clients by giving them control of the product creation, and they’re able to customize their desired car in any way they want. The production process is also less expensive and time-consuming. From concept to creation, the following process can guide you in the right direction to complete your automotive prototyping.
In the first stage, automotive engineers can use a prototype to achieve better clarity regarding their designs and to pitch their concepts to potential investors and stakeholders. A rough draft of the prototype made using cost-effective prototyping techniques, such as plastic injection molding, are used to create a simple physical object, which is then presented to the team for design collaboration.
This stage of design and development involves refining the proof-of-concept and testing it to see how it fits within existing production frameworks. Engineers may attempt to place prototype parts in stripped-down versions of existing vehicles to ensure everything lines up.
In the third stage, engineers will verify the presence of machinery, software, and materials needed to produce the new product.
Designers and engineers usually reach out to customers in beta tests, focus groups, and limited product tests to obtain feedback from the market. Remember, the best ideas aren’t created in a vacuum — they are designed through multiple iterations with feedback from users.
Safety testing is self-explanatory. Engineers put the new products through the wringer to determine durability, user safety, and useful product lifetime expectations. As safety is one of the core aspects of prototyping, it is vital to account for design alterations for safety considerations. Plastic injection molding manufacturers should be able to help ease this process.
Manufacturing validation usually means minor prototype tweaks to ensure the best possible utilization of resources as the product transitions from raw materials to a finished product. Machinery and manpower allocations may be changed at this stage to keep everything running smoothly and under budget.
In order to keep business flowing consistently and products turning out at optimal quality and sustainably, companies have adopted rapid prototyping both in-house and by seeking third-party contractors for prototype manufacturing such as plastic injection molding — especially in the automotive sector. If you’re looking for a plastic injection molder near you, check out Valencia Plastics or visit our blog to learn more about prototyping and the injection molding process.