The value of prototyping

Written by Graeme Robertson

01 June 2022

As a complete manufacturing services provider, we at CB Technology work closely with our clients from concept and design right through to manufacturing and shipping the end product. We have a solid history of helping our clients navigate the challenges of manufacturing, and we pride ourselves in helping customers develop products that are cost effective, manufacturable and quick to market.

Prototyping is an important stage of the manufacturing process. It is of utmost importance that we ensure a customer’s product design is fit for purpose. Prototyping is a key point at which we can engage potential suppliers to critique your design and look at it from a design-for-manufacturing point of view. 

Creating a robust product
Prototyping is one of the first steps in developing a product that is fit for market. It’s a crucial stage that can highlight any flaws in the design or potential challenges we might face during the build. Every time you create a prototype version you will, or at least should, learn something new. Having an exciting new idea can sometimes lead inexperienced businesses to rushed manufacturing. However, prototyping is an opportunity to test for any structural weaknesses in your product that could affect its functionality.

At CB Technology, we ensure that our customers understand there could be multiple stages within the ‘prototyping’ process. We encourage our customers to separate their product into different prototypes, each with their own goal.This ensures that the product is robust, both in terms of its physical state and its manufacturability. 

Cost effectiveness 
Prototyping is a chance to assess the most cost effective way to build the product. In addition to getting an accurate idea of the materials needed, which helps quantify the true cost per unit when mass producing a product, it gives us the opportunity to evaluate the plastic or metal work design of the product and consider whether it can be simplified. We can look at things such as the number of different types of screws included and whether this can be reduced, and tolerance stack up, which is when more than one part needs to be joined together, and look at whether those calculations are realistic. 

Exploring these avenues at the prototyping stage makes the build stage more predictable and subject to fewer problems, which of course reduces unexpected and unnecessary expense. 

Managing an uncertain supply chain
As the uncertainty of the supply chain still looms, prototyping gives manufacturers and their customers a point at which to take stock of the parts required and whether back up parts are readily available. Understanding those requirements means we are able to react quickly and avoid unnecessary delays once a build order is received. 

CB Technology has strong relationships with our supply base and we work with our trusted suppliers to minimise the impact of supply chain problems through smart product design and increased manufacturability. 

A worthwhile assessment
Prototypes can offer new ideas and inspire excitement for moving on to the production stage. By taking the time to prototype ideas, we help avoid costly mistakes such as a product becoming too complex, too expensive or subject to hold ups at the manufacturing stage. 

As a complete manufacturing solutions provider, CB Technology is well placed to add value at every step of the customers product design and build, and none more so than at the prototyping stage.