Posted on Jan. 16th, 2019 | By Tony, WayKen Project Manager
To help the market understand a designer’s innovative product is very challenging, as well as to be an excellent designer. It is because as customers want a cheaper product immediately, but good quality and creative design. However, these desired attributes often contradict each other and constrain each other in our modern industrial life.
However, business Presentation Model development is a vital process to create a successful product, especially in such a competitive global market environment.
Fortunately, the current technologies offer good leverage to deal with some of the issues. As rapid prototyping activities can often be very expensive in terms of time and cost, it is critical to plan them well and use state-of-the-art technologies, such as rapid prototyping and virtual prototyping tools.
As a rapid prototyping company with 20-year experience, WayKen has served almost all industrial design areas, we share this article, which is based on understanding and suggestions to help the designer achieve the best Presentation Prototype.
1. What is Presentation Model?
There are several stages during the product development process, and each stage has different requirements of the prototype parts. Various demands from the industry or the products are different. Therefore, the definition of Presentation Models depends on the usages or specifically speaking, the demands.
Most of the Presentation Prototypes are used for purposes as below:
- Gather initial user requirements
- Show proof of concept to senior management
- Validate system specifications
- Explore solutions to specific usability or design problems
- Deliver early proof of concept
- Resolve fuzziness in the early stages of design
- Validate evolving user requirements
- Increase constructive user participation
- Pre train users or create a marketing demo
A Presentation Prototype can be a comprehensive prototype, which is a full-scale, fully operational version of the product. It can also be built up like a facade for a specific purpose—like a Hollywood set, where only the front of the building is constructed.
Before a prototype is made, it is very important to define the goal of the prototype so that the level of details from the prototype can be determined.
2. Why Build up Presentation Models before Real Product Go to Market?
A simple answer to the impotence of presentation models is from McKinsey:
If the product is delayed for 6 months, you’re going to lose 66% of your gross margin– McKinsey & Co.
To be competitive, products need to be cheaper, but of high quality, and adaptive to customers’ always changing needs. The quick turnaround product cycle time implies that more frequent changes in products are necessary, thus engineers will need to use limited resources to produce a quality product in a short time.
Under such a circumstance, the successful development of one product may not be sufficient to sustain a company. A successful company will need to produce a series of good value and high-quality products with great consistency, and the secret to success lies in the fine execution of the critical tasks in the product-definition stage, and presentation models or prototypes definitely plays a key role to persuade your market and your customers.
3.What Challenges will Meet during the Presentation Prototyping Period?
Despite the advantage of prototyping in product development, there are some possible drawbacks to developing a prototype. It is important to note that misguided prototyping efforts do not contribute to the goals of the overall product development efforts. These misguided actions actually can end up costing the project precious time, resources, and money without contributing anything to the process.
Below are the common mistakes and issues we may meet in the product development phase.
3.1 Explore solutions to specific usability or design problems
Recently we have one case of a coffee machine designer from Austria, sending us a project which has a great crystal appearance, but the material thickness over 40mm, the product design looks very good, but finally found out injection molding is not possible for such a thick wall thickness. Actually, we are ok to make the presentation models the same as their design by silicone mold, but the limitation is material that is not UV stable. Therefore, this perfect look product not suitable for mass production due to not well designed for production tooling, and in the end, if not do some design change it will affect its push to the market.
3.2 Material option and alternate
Most of the products are used in specific areas such as medical-grade, automotive grade, or even aerospace-grade, some important components will have critical material requirements. However, due to machining limitations or technology, sometimes we may not able to meet such requirements and will need to suggest alternate material or alternate technology.
For example, one of our Indian customers inquiry about a lamp housing (prototype required 1 piece only), they required material to be PP, using CNC machining. After the engineering team stimulated the CNC machining feasibility we found it not possible to machining the housing as one piece without splitting machining, due to too many undercuts, even our 5-axis machine can’t build it up. The question is PP material is not suitable for splitting machining, because it is not possible to glue. So we suggest using alternate material – ABS/PC, which is strong enough and ok for splitting and gluing.
3.3 Balance cost and optimize the benefit
For a minimal investment of time and money, one can find usability and design problems to adjust one’s design before one invests greater resources. This is why aeronautical engineers use wind tunnels to optimize airplane profiles, why bridge builders create stress models before an actual bridge is constructed. Does the question be how to invest the minimum time and money in the presentation rapid prototyping phase?
Most of the time we can split the product development into small tasks and build up different prototype parts at each stage will means we will avoid mistakes at the terminal.
Task 1: Prototype Conceptual Design
The prototype design should include customer requirements (a new product, subassembly, or a part) for problem formulation.
Task 2: Configuration Design of Prototype Parts and Components
After the conceptual design, some prototype parts will result in standard components and configurations, and in this task, design involves selecting the types or classes such as a motor (DC, AC, stepper), spring (leaf, beam, helical), etc.
Task 3: Parametric Design
This task defines major dimensions and tolerance information and specifies materials needed for the prototype.
Task 4: Detailed Design
This task supplies the remaining dimensions, tolerances, and material information for engineering drawings.
To achieve the above task we can use prototyping technologies such a CNC machining, 3D printing, silicone tooling or rapid injection tooling.
Choosing a prototyping technique for a product is a very critical issue, and it depends on many factors such as cost trade-off, cycle time, the accuracy of the prototyped part, material property, part size, part strength, and availability. Most importantly, the selection should be based on the prototyping objective.