The Role of Rapid Prototyping in Successful Hardware Product Development
By Hieu Duong
The key to successful hardware product development is iteration. Even after researching all of your different options, you still need to go through trial and error to determine the right components, size, shape, architecture, etc. for the piece of hardware.
That’s the problem, though. Hardware iteration can be highly resource-intensive. The amount of money and time needed to go from sketch to production is enough to delay many potential projects. No one wants to sink so many resources into a new hardware project only to go back to square one because it didn’t work in production.
Rapid prototyping can solve these challenges. With just a relatively small budget, you can quickly build something to test and decide if the functionality is worth your time and money.
While rapid prototyping can alleviate some of the hardware product development pressure, it’s not necessarily easy. Mastering the process is one thing that sets the Dialexa Hardware Lab apart from other firms.
PROOF OF CONCEPT VS. PROTOTYPE
Before going into the key components of our rapid prototyping processes, we need to distinguish proofs of concept from prototypes. Many clients use the two interchangeably, but they’re really two unique (and important) points of the development process.
A proof of concept (PoC) is when you’re trying to prove the feasibility of a certain idea. It can help you determine that the technology and architecture could work, which then leads into the prototyping phase. Our engineers evaluate these PoCs and figure out what it’s like to work with and integrate these technologies so we can have a greater accuracy in our prototyping and product development phases.
The prototyping phase is when we start to customize the PoC for the specific client requirements. This is when you start building out specific functionality you’re looking to test. With the right approach, you can quickly come up with a prototype that shows if a product is worth pursuing — even if it’s not exactly the final form factor.
4 KEYS TO OUR RAPID PROTOTYPING SERVICES
Our development services are meant to engage clients at every stage of the production process. However, I believe rapid prototyping is a major strongpoint within our hardware product development process.
Rapid prototyping success isn’t about hiring a certain expert. It’s about cultivating an end-to-end discipline that enables quick testing of just about any concept.
These are 4 main keys to our rapid prototyping discipline:
- Multi-Discipline Collaboration In-House: One reason we’re able to get prototypes out so quickly is that we have in-house experts in design, mobile, and software to complement hardware design. We even have embedded programming to quickly have a PCB created with functional firmware. For one project, we were able to allocate resources from UI designer, a mobile engineering, and a QA engineering to build a validation mobile app to accompany the hardware prototype — all in just 2 months.
- Experience: The diverse team here at Dialexa fully understands the process and value of rapid prototyping. We’re capable of electronic design, mechanical design, industrial design, embedded development, CNC, and lathing all with in-house talent. We’ve put this experience to work for brands in the automotive, transportation, hospitality and services industries.
- Diverse In-House Hardware Capabilities: In addition to 3D printers that can create models at a a 16µm level, we have tools for just about any hardware project. We can do rapid prototyping for any project requiring plastic casting, hydraulic press, CNC, pressure chambers, soldering and rework stations, spectrum analyzers, oscilloscope, and much more.
- Third Party Relationships: We’re capable of handling just about any prototyping task with our in-house talent and tools. However, we also maintain strong relationships with vendors for anything we can’t do complete on our own. Having vendors that can get casings and PCBs back to us within 24 or 48 hours when necessary complements our in-house capabilities perfectly.
RAPID PROTOTYPING MAXIMIZES EFFECTIVENESS OF HARDWARE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
The bottom line is that rapid prototyping can help you maximize the cost efficiency and success rate of hardware product development.
It’s not just about having an agile mindset and moving quickly. Effective rapid prototyping demands extensive collaboration and coordination that you may not have in-house.
That’s why clients come to Dialexa for all kinds of hardware design projects. We want to make sure you can get to market as quickly as possible with a product that delivers the most value (to you and your customers).
Contact us today if you want to learn more about our rapid prototyping and the hardware development services we offer.
Originally published at https://by.dialexa.com/the-role-of-rapid-prototyping-in-successful-hardware-product-development.
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