If you want to define the word prototype you can say it is the first or preliminary version of a device or vehicle from which other forms are developed”. It is a creative process and usually involves a lot of brainstorming and sharing of ideas. Trials and errors are not just expected but required to get a sample that fits every criteria. An actual sample (usually a miniature model)of the product is made from any number of materials ranging from metals to chemicals. Creating prototypes and samples isn’t as expensive as you think and let us look at some reasons why.
Once a sample prototype is developed the next step is to hire professional prototype developers, engineers and designers. But, keep in mind that the more high end they are, the more expensive they will be. Complexity and materials depend on the amount of money at disposal and the project at hand. Smaller businesses have been known to hire common technicians or even carpenters and machinists to create a prototype at minimal price. The key point to consider is to not limit oneself to any pre-conceived notion, neither about the material used nor about the types of professionals one seeks.
Facilities and Offerings
If one decides to go with a professional developer then there are certain advantages. Professional developers are equipped with machines-both electronic and mechanical, wiring and soldering components and they can build a sophisticated prototype from a model or a sketch.
Other services with such professionals include heat shrinking, screening and wire wrapping along with plumbing and mechanical construction. Such professional also usually provide early stage functionality testing. The assembly technicians that they have are usually trained to various IPC standards.
One on one approach
Another positive thing to keep in mind when seeking the expertise of a professional development team is that they usually have technicians with years of valuable experience and knowledge. The technicians interact on a personal level to give the customer a satisfied final product
The cost of a prototype can be broken into two parts: the engineering cost to design it, and the actual cost to produce it. Services by companies vary greatly depending on the product complexity, engineering specialty required, and the size of the product (smaller usually takes longer and thus costs more). The hourly rate charged by design engineers varies depending on their years of experience, education and area of specialty. The national average is 125$/hour but it can vary between $100-300/hr.
There are many start-up costs in manufacturing and the minimum order price is often the biggest start up cost. The commitment to a supplier for the initial order is often one of the largest components of start-up cost so a figure should be decided and worked on. In addition, as the production volume increases the costs will reduce. So for example, a single prototype might cost a thousand dollars, which seems like a lot but many units made in bulk reduce the manufacturing costs significantly and the same product would cost a hundred.
If done with proper consideration, planning, executing and creating a product prototype should not be an expensive task.
Article Submitted By Community Writer