Digital Prototyping is a process that involves creating a new product by first designing a prototype of the product in a digital format. Digital simulation allows tests to be performed on the form, fit and function of a product. It provides engineers and designers with an opportunity to import conceptualized design into a digital prototyping software, and explore a product virtually before it is given a physical form. Hundreds of parts that go into the making of a product can be designed and assembled in a virtual environment using digital prototyping software.
The software used for digital prototyping has to be equipped with a powerful and comprehensive physics engine that enables tests to be carried out on the durability, stress analysis, usability, motion and other parameters generally used in the case of a physical product prototype. Autodesk Inventor is one such software that allows you to develop a single digital model that truly represents the end-product.
Digital prototyping goes beyond 3D modeling to create a digital prototype that simulates, validates and optimizes your designs rapidly and cost-effectively. It reduces the necessity of a physical prototype – significantly shortening product development time from concept stage through manufacturing while eliminating or reducing the expenses on building a physical prototype. Other benefits that can be associated with digital prototyping are:
Ease of Use: It is easy to deploy and manage the technology as one single prototype can be used as a reference in all the stages of production. It takes you one step closer to a paperless manufacturing process, whereby accurate and current data provides expertise to the engineering department early on during the product development.
Innovation: It enables design engineers to innovate. They can digitally design, visualize and simulate to find how the design will affect real-world conditions. Engineers can build an environmentally sustainable product that has high usability.
Marketability: Innovation can be beneficial only when the end-result is commercially viable. Digital prototypes can be used to market products before they are actually manufactured. 3D models can find their way into marketing brochures, websites and for demonstrating concepts to investors while looking for funding.
Quality: As prototypes are in digital formats, communication of design intent can easily transpire among different teams involved in manufacturing including research and development and designing. It allows exploration of a multitude of design concepts. Therefore, the final design, which will be selected based on various factors, will have a high acceptance rate and wider appeal among consumers.
Although, it is beneficial to have digital prototyping installations, the cost of acquiring all the tools required for a full-fledged prototype, is beyond the reach of most companies. Outsourcing CAD related services is a viable alternative for firms that aim to derive the advantages of 3D modeling and digital prototyping but lack the required funds.