For many, prototyping and production are seen as two separate steps on the path to the final product. Prototyping is often carried out with one set of materials and processes, which can be vastly different to those that are ultimately required for production. This can cause a stumbling block when a prototype that has been iterated to perfection, must now be produced in much greater volumes.
Pathway to Production
Plunkett Associates can look at the design, and depending on your requirements, support your development of the part and manufacture it all under one roof. With close collaboration your pathway to production becomes much smoother and we can avoid “Designing for Prototype” tunnel vision.
Test and Validate the Design
Our Figure 4 3D Printer, with its array of production grade materials and high detail finish, gives us the capability to test and validate the design in its real-world use, further increasing confidence in the final design.
We can additively produce prototype parts with high temperature resistance (up to 300°C), flame retardancy and even biocompatibility (to name just a few!) to confirm the part is suitable before committing to full on production.
Additive materials have come on enormously in recent years allowing us to get as close as possible to end use materials – and some of them are impressive we have to say. However, if this isn’t quite close enough, we can use aluminium tooling to make a bridge tool for that step to the ‘real’ material and help ensure a successful product.
Compress Development Timescales
Plunkett Associates have the added advantage of having additive manufacture and tooling and moulding engineers all under the same roof, so communication between all parties is easy and instant. When the tool designer can hold a prototyped part less than an hour after it has been designed, we can compress development timescales by validating tool design changes with production quality samples the same day.
By leveraging the speed of the Figure 4 and its high-specification materials alongside our production capability we can move seamlessly from sample parts to production. Easy! (See our article, “How can 3D Printing Support Production Schedules.”)
If you are in the early stages of your development project, please get in touch to find out how we can help you plan a smooth transition for the future.
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