A proof of concept or prototype machine is a key step forward in any manufacturing process.
No matter how good your ideas may be, realizing them in a concrete form is the cornerstone of the manufacturing process. Your proof of concept shows internal and external stakeholders alike that you are pursuing a project with long-term potential.
Smaller enterprises might be tempted to get a design just right before moving into prototyping. For small enterprises, it’s much more useful to “fail fast” and benefit from the lessons learned.
Spending too much time tinkering with a design can leave you disadvantaged down the line. In tough industries like medical devices, delays can even cut off your path to a successful launch.
A proof of concept is about more than momentum – it also has practical effects on your process:
1. A Prototype Machine Facilitates Testing
Not all prototypes are complete facsimiles of a design, but those that are can give you a head start on testing. Most importantly, early testing will help you root out safety issues that could threaten consumers and compromise the trust you’ve worked hard to build. You’ll also be able to drive down production costs by using test results to streamline your design and its inputs.
2. A Prototype Machine Captures Investor Interest
Something you can hold in your hands is much more persuasive than a drawing or description – and that’s especially true when there’s money on the line. Having a prototype makes it easier to connect with investors and impress them with your clarity of vision. It also allows you to get started with test marketing and the collateral you’ll need when production is in full swing.
3. A Prototype Machine Sparks New Design Ideas
Your engineers might spend thousands of hours with a design before all is said and done. Still, it’s crucial to refresh your perspective every now and then to keep the ideas flowing. One way to do it – possibly the best way – is to see the prototype in front of your face. A three-dimensional object can spark a creative thought process even the best three-dimensional drawing can’t.
4. A Prototype Machine Accelerates Future Development
A proof of concept might use a stripped down design, but it helps ensure you have the resources ready when you need to go into full production. Depending on how your prototype is fabricated, you might need to make only a few minor tweaks in order to shift into production mode. Fewer delays and uncertainties in the future will translate to an easier product launch.
Small companies are notorious for putting off prototyping until the last minute or rolling out a prototype design that turns out to have mechanical and ergonomic flaws.
SMBs, on the other hand, need to focus on delivering a totally professional experience across the value chain. That means early prototyping for all major projects – no exceptions.
The way to simplify the prototype machine process is to plan ahead. A contract manufacturing firm will help you move through your design, development, and production processes that much faster.