Five Steps to Mass ProductionStratasys Direct Manufacturing has helped thousands of customers bring their concept to market successfully over the last 22 years. Our prototypes have allowed customers to test the functionality and aesthetics of their products in the real world, and to demonstrate viability of their products to target audiences. Once a prototype has been successfully used for these purposes, our tooling and injection molding capabilities take our customers’ products to the next level: mass production.
Bringing a concept to market is much easier than it looks! If you have a 3D CAD model of your design, you’re already halfway there. Of course, we can’t tell you the secret to becoming a star designer or engineer—and we know you already are—but we can let you in on these steps that have helped hundreds of designers and engineers reach mass production and product success.
Step #1: Developing the Right ConceptHaving a product concept that somehow transforms the current market you’re targeting is definitely a bonus, but a simple, well designed concept works well too. Many of our clients come to us with ideas that would make their jobs (and lives) easier. We know that all of you have brilliant ideas, and we can’t wait to hear all about them!
Step #2: Turning Concept into 3D CAD ModelAfter you have fully developed your genius idea, you’ll need to create a 3D CAD file of the design.
There are many software programs out there to aid in your 3D CAD modeling. Choosing a CAD program to design with will be largely dependent on what your concept requires.
Once your design is finalized, the next step is to submit it to Stratasys Direct Manufacturing for prototyping.
Step #3: PrototypingYou can’t expect to successfully develop a concept in CAD—no matter how wonderful—and go straight into production. Renderings of an idea that look great on paper or in the virtual realm have no true bearing on the physical realm until they become physical. To ensure the most success with your concept you’ll need prototyping, whether you are prototyping for functionality, form and fit, to check design aesthetics, or all of the above.
Technologies frequently used for concept models and design evaluations include 3D Color Prints, PolyJet 3D printing, Stereolithography (SL), Laser Sintering (SL), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), CNC machining and QuantumCast Urethane Casting. With lead times as little as 24 hours, additive manufacturing technologies are a quick and effective way to assess and create the best designs for your project at hand.
Step #4: Test Your Product on the MarketWe’ve heard innumerable times from clients that our prototypes or pre-production parts, brought directly to our client’s customers, provided crucial feedback that dictated the way our client’s product entered targeted markets.
Methods such as additive manufacturing and urethane casting for low volumes of production are ideal because the price for tooling and injection molding may be unnecessarily costly with specialized or custom one-off products. Urethane Casting give customers the leisure to discover how strong market interest is and grow their market base without heavy upfront investment. We provide solutions for fast results with the option of low volume urethane casting productions.
One of our clients recently relied on QuantumCast Urethane Casting to create a short run of functional parts for testing. “After design modifications and verification, we actually used the urethane casting process for our initial product launch. We used the casting process far beyond what we originally meant to use it for,” he said. Once his team had completed testing on the QuantumCast parts, they then took the product to their targeted audience and displayed how smoothly it performed.
By providing our client with completely professionally finished urethane casting—which simulate injection molded plastics, proving to be quite durable—they were able to receive not only positive market feedback, but were also able to launch their product’s initial market phase.
Step #5: Mass ProductionWhen moving into mass production, it’s important to remember not only the volume of parts you want, but the finishing and assembly of your entire product. This is most viable for clients who have assessed their targeted market and assessed buyer response, and can therefore confidently invest in tooling and injection molding for the volume of parts they want.
We can provide customer projects customized solutions with our hard tooling and injection molding services. Our U.S. based project engineers ensured a smooth production process, while the actual manufacturing was occurring in China to help keep costs competitive.
For many of our customers, producing parts with our urethane casting processes to simulate injection molded parts provides them with the answers they need to make the final leap into mass production. It helps to lower risks and give confidence in the success of the product.
ConclusionBeginning mass production doesn’t have to be a scary leap into the unknown. We’re highly experienced in bringing products to market successfully and will enjoy helping you along in the process. In our experience, customers find our extensive, detailed literature and manufacturing resources exceedingly helpful, and we gladly provide those on our website or through consultations. We like to say that we have some of the best jobs in the world: Helping to bring awesome concepts into full production reality - it’s not a bad gig!
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