Most products go through many different phases before reaching their final, perfected state. So to prevent mistakes and improve efficiency, nearly all major design and manufacturing processes begin with prototyping. A prototype is “an initial model of an object built to test a design” (source). The term comes from the Greek word πρωτότυπον (prototypon), which means “primitive form.” By creating a mock-up of a product, engineers and designers can see what works and what doesn’t work. For example, by prototyping enclosures, we can customize products and create new enclosures for customers with unique requirements.
In the design of a complicated new product, prototyping is essential. It allows designers and engineers to work through troublesome issues, and it helps customers better understand how the product will eventually look and function. Sometimes a prototype replicates just one portion of the design; other times it recreates the entire product. Sometimes the prototype is a miniature version of the design to save resources; other times it is a full-scale, working model. It all depends on the needs of the designer, the engineer, and the customer.
Prototypes also come in a variety of different materials. Since the material used in the final product is often expensive, prototypes typically use cheaper and more readily available materials. As the design reaches its final stages, a prototype may be formed in the final material for one last review.
Modern technology has greatly simplified the prototyping process. For example, prototypes previously built by hand can now be formed using state-of-the-art, three-dimensional (3D) printing. In addition, in many cases, computer modeling proves adequate and eliminates the need for a prototype altogether. Some companies are even investing in virtual reality technology, which allows the customer to view the computer model in a whole new way. Although currently rare and quite expensive, virtual reality is expected to gain normalcy in the coming decades.
Benefits of Prototyping Enclosures
Giving your design a test run before generating the final product provides numerous benefits, saving you time, money, frustration, and much more. So before you commit to a concept for your electrical enclosure, consider all of the advantages that come with prototyping beforehand:
- Before committing to ordering a production order, you can evaluate the product design and make adjustments.
- APCM offers live, online video conferencing so that you can provide feedback in real time while viewing 3D prototypes.
- Many people struggle to visually imagine the final product during its conceptual phase and appreciate the visual aid.
- Prototyping allows designers, engineers, and manufacturers to provide helpful suggestions to reduce the cost of the product without sacrificing its design goals.
- APCM can “fast track” prototypes to ensure that they reach the customer’s hands as soon as possible. This can reduce the amount of time between the conceptualization phase and the manufacture of the final product.
- If one designer works on the project throughout the design stage, he or she can oversee the entire prototyping process and pay close attention to the details. This helps ensure that the metal enclosure meets all of the customer’s goals.
Customized enclosures must be carefully designed and prepared in order to ensure that they address your unique concerns and meet your many goals. Although a prototype is not strictly necessary for all personalized enclosures, it is recommended for all the reasons listed above. When you receive the prototype of your enclosure, review it carefully, evaluating the big picture and minor details. A little extra work at this stage of the process can prove immensely beneficial in the long run.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re on the hunt for a company that can manufacture premium metal enclosures on your behalf, check out American Products Contract Manufacturing. Manufacturing metal enclosures is our specialty. Our high-quality, innovative enclosures enable our customers to assist the telecommunications industry in expanding and improving their network services. We offer NEMA type 1, type 2, type 3, type 3-R, type 3-X, type 4, and type 4-X metal enclosures, and we form these enclosures from aluminum, galvanized steel, carbon steel, and stainless steel to create a rugged and reliable structure. Plus, we understand the value of prototyping enclosures, and we will work with you throughout the process to ensure that you’re satisfied with the final product’s design and cost. Give us a call at 1-877-736-2228 to learn more, or request a free quote online.