If you’re an inventor or have an idea for a new product, making sure it works in real life is the most important step. If you don’t have any manufacturing capabilities, however, building a prototype can be a long, tough process. While anyone can tinker around in their garage and build a rough prototype, if you really want to market and sell your product, you’re going to need something well-polished. And if your product requires any type of electrical control system, what you’re going to need is a contract manufacturing partner.
Ready to get started? Here are 5 steps you can take to help ensure your prototype gets made:
Create a clean line drawing of your product idea
Your design should be drawn to scale using consistent measurement methods. If you have CAD software, you should create a digital drawing that can be easily shared with anyone you partner with. Be sure to call out any material needs or specialized parts that may be required during this step.
Find a contract manufacturing partner
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a contract manufacturing partner. Look for a company with a robust supply chain and extensive design and engineering capabilities that is willing to partner with you. That partner should review your design to ensure it is possible to manufacture, as well as suggest any changes that could help the manufacturing process run as smoothly as possible. Once you approve the quote for the prototype, your contract manufacturing partner can get production rolling.
Be prepared for challenges
Just because everything looks good on paper doesn’t mean there won’t be any roadblocks. There could be issues procuring parts that match your drawing or getting them delivered in a timely manner. However, the closer you work with your contract manufacturing partner, the easier it will be to work through any challenges that arise. They likely face similar challenges on a regular basis and will be able to suggest part substitutions or design changes to help overcome the issues.
Look for design improvement opportunities
If you run into a problem, it’s an opportune time to go back over your design with your contract manufacturing partner and discuss the different ways that it can be improved. You might even come up with a better design than your initial version that enhances your finished product.
Work towards mass producing your product
After your prototype is finished, make sure all the changes you’ve made along the way are properly documented and dated. This will help you and your contract manufacturing partner stay organized as you begin to ramp up production. Before you do that, however, you should also stress test your product for functionality and durability. Once everything checks out, you can start mass production.
For hopeful inventors, the key to this entire process is finding a contract manufacturing partner that shares the same values and vision as you. Use the tips above to help get your prototype off the ground, and if you want to learn more about how MCL Industries partners with customers to develop timely solutions, check out our case study: Collaboration Enhances Control System Safety, Quality, & Performance. Click the button below for your free download.