Making prototypes in all stages of the project is crucial to be able to test idea's, feel the real shape, check if an ergonomic solution indeed is as good as we believed it should be.
Testing solutions and formFrom the very beginning of the project we make raw foam mockups to test shapes or preliminary functional solutions. As soon as we start building the concept in 3D CAD we can make 3D prints of an unfinished shape or solution to evaluate and discuss in the team.
Mockups during concept designWe are used to build multiple mockups during concept design. In some cases these mockups are made of foam, sometimes from wood, 3D printed plastics, or other materials.
These quickly made mockups help us to evaluate shapes, understand proportions in more realistic environment then with sketches, and helps us to run ergonomic testing.
In other cases we want to test solutions in a very early stage with users. Then we have some parts made that are rough but functional and good enough to evaluate multiple variations with users.
Iterations, the road to perfectionDuring the concept design stage many small iterations have been made with mockups and shape models. And also during product development a number of iteration cycles are needed to optimize the product. We make high quality prototypes that come very close to the final mass manufactured product.
Together with your team we create a test plan and run both simulations and tests on the prototypes, with real users, impact tests, drop tests, functionality tests, temperatures tests, durability and performance tests. Every product needs its own testing. Each test shows defects or possible improvements that lead to optimization of the design. After a session of testing the design is modified and we enter a new iteration cycle, with an improved prototype that will be tested again.
From prototype P1 to PFMost design projects have a process of development and creation of a first prototype P1 included, so that we can test basic ergonomics, functionality and usability. This prototype is made in the right materials, with the right finishing, the right coating, all very close as how it will be in manufacturing.
In many cases further development iterations are needed, to optimize the prototype for manufacturing. Based on a test plan we start cycles of testing and optimization. We test new prototypes on general functionality, durability, performance, assembly and run real life user testing. If the product needs to be tested on CE safety norms, MDD or other medical norms, EMC / ESD norms, or specific sports norms, then this is the time to organize that. This is also the moment to select manufacturing partners.
When all testing results are satisfactory, then mostly a final prototype PF is made, which forms the basis for further mould engineering and manufacturing preparations.