As the product emerges from the Detail Design stage the customer may require prototypes to ensure functionality.
This provides the opportunity to physically assess the whole system, and confirms the virtual testing undertaken in the Detail Design and Concept Stages.
To produce the prototypes we can use a range of processes, such as 3D printing, both plastic and metal, machining from solid, off the shelf parts or even cardboard modelling. The assembly of the prototypes offers opportunities to learn and test the production assembly methods. This is a very important step as we have to ensure DfM (Design for Manufacture) concepts carried out in the virtual world are verified in the real world.
We can also test the prototypes to the design specification and to destruction. This provides the first physical demonstration of the system and confirms the concept virtual tests.
Once the Detail Design is complete, we start to kick off the production tooling for each component. This is a critical stage as the cost for the tooling and any potential design changes is significant. The tools are manufactured to suit the needs of the production volumes, for low volume we will use “soft tools” with high manual content. To accommodate higher volumes automated and fully hardened tools are required.
MarchantCain is a global designer, developer and manufacturer of window regulators with more than 25 years’ experience in the industry.