A prototype is something you don’t see or know about and yet it is very helpful in the manufacturing industry. It is what manufacturers create to test whether their concepts, products or processes will work. Every product you see around you began as a prototype, which is used to test, analyze, dry run or try an item before a company spends millions of dollars to mass produce it.
Prototypes have three basic uses: to improve a design, test the market and provide user experience. A product design is not an accident. The newest shoe, car, airplane, computer, or phone designs have gone through hours and hours of drawings, sketches, engineering activities, mathematical computations, and so on. But nothing is more helpful in finalizing a design than coming up with a prototype. Once engineers or artists see a 3D replica of the design they had in mind, they can begin making cuts, additions or improvements to it.
The first prototype typically makes use of plastic materials. It doesn’t have to be the exact product already. Engineers just want to see what the product would look like outside the sketch pad or the computer monitor.
After altering the original product, manufacturers usually come up with a second prototype to see if it will sell. That’s the bottom-line of manufacturing, in the first place: all products need to make money. They have to sell and the manufacturer has to win back millions of dollars worth of investment.
And finally a prototype will allow people to actually try out the product to create user experience. This normally involves a research focus group to see what people might think about an item. Active human interaction is encouraged so that manufacturers can answer the question, “Will people find our product useful at all?”
The prototypes created at this stage should be handled and tried on. It could be more complex than a plastic replica.
Prototypes allow industries to create the most usable, profitable and beneficial product in the market today. Manufacturers should make money and we, the consumers, should be happy with what we spend our money on.
Prototype-making is so important that it is an industry in itself. A leading company is Arcola Products Limited and its most effective process in making prototypes is called vacuum forming. If you wish to learn more about the company and the product, you can check out the following details:
Arcola Products Limited
Unit N2, Trinity Trading Estate, Sittingbourne, ME10 2PG, United Kingdom