We sometimes get the question how exactly the execution of a Prototyping assignment goes. Much of the innovation work we do is subject to secrecy, which prevents us from telling as much as we would like. In this article I will tell you a bit about an assignment that is now being carried out. It concerns the development of a prototype of a consumer product that our client has come up with.
From inspiration to realization
The image above shows our value chain for our Rapid Prototyping activities. So we are active in the stage of idea, research & development and then through design & engineering up to and including prototyping. After this, the process steps are described how we get from inspiration to realization of a prototype.
A first contact often takes place via this Web-site or a phone call. An appointment is then made for an intake interview.
We held this intake interview (usually around half an hour) with our client. From this conversation it emerged that we can play a valuable role in converting the idea of an MST device (that’s what we call it now) into a functionally working prototype.
Practically all prototype assignments start with a joint work session, which we call a Design Session . It is an interactive working method for which we discuss your innovation question in a structured way with 1 or 2 professionals from our side and a maximum of 3 from your side, technically assess it and describe it in more detail. We do this with all our practical and manufacturing knowledge about technology and the current availability of techniques, semi-finished products and suppliers.
- After the Design Session you will have a limited conceptual design and technical and business ingredients for an innovation project, which has been considered from all sides by our team
- The result is documented and delivered via a mind map
- Optional and at an additional cost, there will also be a descriptive document
- Depending on the complexity and uniqueness of your question, after a successful Design Session we can give a budget indication for specific prototype project results
- If this is possible within the limits of a Design Session, then the aforementioned questions have been answered
A Design Session is held both at our location and remotely.
The MST device is aimed at consumers. It was not clear to our client whether there could be blocking patents. For this we have had a Patent Research Service for some time – optionally. By carrying out a patent research, you like to give you insight into opportunities and risks of your innovation idea in advance and quickly, Carrying it out for this assignment resulted in the fact that at first sight there are no blocking patents. That result paved the way for our client to commission us a prototype development.
After the assignment is given, we usually start sketching. Traditional, sometimes with scissors, cut and paste in order to come up with some ideas about the implementation of in this case the MST device.
That craftsmanship is beautiful and often gives us for technical details about the execution and manufacturability of a part. However, it is of course far from ideal to share with a client and it is not in 3D in this way. That is why, as a “digital native” company, we are switching to this language design as soon as possible. We do that with Autodesk Fusion360. The model below (housed in Sketchfab), shows the first (interactive) result of this assignment that was literally made last week.
At the end of this article, it is listed which techniques are used in this assignment to give an idea of the scope:
- 3D modeling with Fusion360
- 3D printing of silicone plastic with a Shore A value of 50
- Infrared LED light
- Steam generation and high temperatures and
- Vibrations with haptic feedback motors