Prototyping services provide low-volume conceptual or working models of a design. These designers create prototypes or models to engineers to explore design alternatives and test product performance prior to production. As the prototyping process continues, significant contributions are made towards completing the development of the final product.

What We Offer

We are masters of prototyping, and over the course of our careers we’ve created hundreds of prototypes from simple plastic parts all the way to working robots with autonomous mission plans. We have in-house capability to develop hardware, software, parts and equipment in plastic and metal and to conduct small-run manufacturing. We work with a wide range of materials and technologies. 

Why We’re the Prototyping Firm of Choice

Our education and experience places us in the top 2% of engineering firms for developing prototypes. We have all the skills needed to rapidly assimilate knowledge of new technologies and apply them to produce new products.

In addition to know-how, we’re also well-equipped with all the hardware, software and machinery needed to produce prototypes as quickly as the same day. Anything we can’t produce ourselves can be quickly produced with our partners and vendors.

Our prototyping services include:

  • Proof-of-Concept Prototyping (POC Prototype)
  • Looks-Like Prototyping
  • Technology Demonstrator Prototyping
  • Functional Prototyping
  • Pre-production Prototyping
  • Engineering Validation Testing
  • Design Validation Testing
  • Production Validation and Testing

Proof-of-Concept Prototyping (POC Prototype)

A Proof-of-Concept (POC) prototype is, as its name implies, an early-stage prototype for proving the basic concept of the product.

A POC prototype rarely functions exactly like the final product, and it will never look like the final product. It has only one goal – to prove the fundamental concept of the product at the lowest cost possible.

A proof-of-concept prototype is usually only used to determine the practicality of a new product idea. It will rarely be seen by customers.

Creating a proof-of-concept prototype makes the most sense if you have fundamental questions about whether your product can actually solve the intended problem.

Looks-Like Prototyping

A looks-like prototype focuses on the look, feel, form, and aesthetics of the product. Optimizing the look, form, feel, and aesthetics of a product is the purpose of a looks-like prototype. A looks-like prototype focuses on the exterior of your product which will be made of plastic or metal. A works-like prototype, on the other hand, is focused on the internal electronics.

Technology Demonstrator Prototyping

A technology demonstrator prototype is focused on the functionality of your product, which for most electronic products means the internal electronics. A technology demonstrator combines custom-made electronics and software with a looks-like prototype to communicate the concept of the final product. It will be missing features intended in the final embodiment and may be buggy and unstable.

Functional Prototyping

A functional prototype (a works-like-looks-like prototype) brings together appearance and functionality in a single stable prototype. A functional prototype should be able to perform all the functions intended to be embodied in the final product, and about 80% stable. 

Once you have a functional prototype you finally have something of sufficient quality to show customers and investors. A functional prototype is close to the production prototype, but it still hasn’t been tested or prepared for mass production.

Pre-production Prototyping

This is a functional prototype that has been optimized for manufacturing. This is very close to the final product customers will see. In most cases, it should also include the retail package if the product will be sold via retail outlets.

Although the pre-production prototype may look and function very similar to the functional prototype, the key difference is manufacturability. Making a few prototypes is completely different from manufacturing millions of units. In most cases, considerable additional design effort is required to prepare the design for mass manufacturing.

Engineering Validation Testing

The first stage of this testing is called Engineering Validation Testing (EVT). This stage of testing focuses on the electronics. Typically between 10-50 units will be tested during EVT.

EVT will include testing the basic functionality but also doing various stress tests to ensure there are no hidden problems. This includes power, thermal and EMI testing.

The goal of EVT is to validate that your prototype meets the functional, performance, and reliability specifications.

Design Validation Testing

Ensure the product meets any necessary cosmetic and environmental specifications.

A significantly larger number of units will be needed than for the EVT stage, typically 50-200 units.

These units will be very aggressively tested including drop, fire, and waterproof testing. Validating that the product is durable enough to withstand day to day use is one of the primary goals of design validation testing.

This is also commonly the stage at which electrical certifications are obtained. This includes certifications such as FCC, CE, UL, and RoHS to name a few.

Because of the cost and time required to obtain the necessary electrical certifications, the process is usually delayed until the DVT stage. This is to ensure that no other design changes are required after certification testing begins.

Of course, if any problems are found during the certification testing process then design modifications may be necessary to correct them.

Production Validation and Testing

First official production run establishes pilot production line with goal of optimizing production processes.  The focus is on improving the scrap rate, assembly time, and quality control process by optimizing your production line, but not by making any further product design changes.

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