Product design and development is a crucial process to the success of any product, whether it’s for consumer or industrial use. A good understanding of this process is paramount to product development success and is frequently required for early phase product introductions. Design and development are broken down into several stages. Understanding these stages is key to product design and development success.
Understanding product design and development is best achieved through industry-specific training and courses, product development companies, or by undertaking an industrial design course at a local college. The advantage of undertaking a formal industrial design course is the opportunity to engage with industry leaders who can guide you to meet your product development needs. During your course you will be given the opportunity to develop joint industry projects and network with other students.
The second step in product design engineering is market research. This step is often overlooked but is critical to product development success. Market research should identify potential problem areas that need to be resolved before designing and manufacturing a physical product.
Once you have identified potential problems, your next step will be to design and develop a prototype for testing. This prototype will serve as a “plaything” for early production and allows you to validate your concepts. This step is often referred to as “inventive engineering.” Proper prototyping practices ensure a higher success rate for product design engineering and a shorter learning curve for manufacturing engineers who have not previously designed and manufactured prototypes.
During the prototyping process, engineers will implement all of the design information that has been gathered during the research stage and fine tune the new product design. In addition to testing, the prototyping will help engineers verify their assumptions about the viability of the new product development. Designing and developing a prototype is not an easy task; however, with the assistance of a quality prototyping service, the entire product design and development process will move at a much faster pace.
Once the product design and development process are complete, it will be ready for production. Many times, companies will seek to launch new products as a “scratch and sniff” project. This means that they will design and develop a product, but are not planning to produce it in-house. This is beneficial for companies looking to gain manufacturing expertise without investing significant money into the new product development. OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and contract manufacturers will often take a look at these prototype designs and provide significant assistance and advice. OEMs and contract manufacturers will also have the benefit of experience and knowledge about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to new product design engineering and prototyping.
When it comes to developing and manufacturing a new product, a prototype design should always be finalized. The reason for this is that a prototype design often represents the best-case scenario of the product design and development process. By finalizing a prototype design, it will be easier for a company to determine whether or not the product has what it needs to become successful. By finalizing a prototype design, it will also be easier for the manufacturer or firm to determine what parts and pieces will be required in order to complete the project. By finalizing the prototype design before a product is released to the market, a firm or OEM can ensure that the final product meets or exceeds all of its target functions and delivers on the promises made within the feasibility study.
Once a product design and development prototype has been finalized, it will be time to move on to the planning phase. During the planning phase, it will be necessary to determine the schedule of the project, which will depend heavily upon the details and scope that have been determined during the development process. It will also be important to establish whether the new product will be available to the target market when it is scheduled to be released. By planning for all aspects of the new product design and development, a firm will be able to maximize its resources in the development process and reduce waste throughout the manufacturing and distribution phases.