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Functional Prototype

Prototype Creation

One of the most important phases of product development is prototyping. Vertex's model making shop fabricates a working, pre-production prototype to facilitate testing and evaluation. 

The model is an accurate rendition of the finished product. This is the last checkpoint before finalizing the engineering assembly. The main purpose of prototyping is to identify any potential problems. This functional prototype will display tolerances, clearances, and part fits in an accurate representation of the finished product. The designers and engineers will go through the motions and work though every aspect of the product as it functions during the entire assembly line process. The teams will have the same assembly experience that the manufacturer's workers can expect to have in the assembly line.

During the assembly process the team is then able to detect any parts interference, which may not be detected in CAD renderings.
From time to time, the design team may detect potential obstacles in assembly that must be addressed before production.

Some prototypes have a low level of detail and finish since they test functionality and serve only to prove the concept. However, some prototypes render at show quality levels. The client can then use the prototype with focus groups for marketing evaluation. They may also put the prototype on display at trade shows. This process is of high value to the client as it helps define and establish the client's marketing strategy.

Pre-Production Run

In some cases, our clients ask us to create multiple prototypes for testing and market evaluation. For cost efficiency, when applicable, Vertex will use RTV soft tooling to duplicate plastic parts. These pre-production units will look and operate just like the final product.
Typical processes we use in prototyping:

  • 3-D printing (SLA, SLS, FFF)
  • Vacuum forming and pressure forming
  • PCB board fabrication and population
  • Urethane castings
  • Sheet metal forming and fabrication
  • CNC machining
  • Testing

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