Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, the production and even design of nearly every product that companies use throughout the world moves at high speed. During the 20th century, most companies considered manufacturing as being an ‘all or nothing approach.’ In other words, creating new products (manufacturing) was a complicated process that required the proper designs and ultimately the right moulds that would be used in their manufacture. It was often too costly to create moulds and products for anything less than large orders.
Today, the global population has moved beyond seven billion and even though there are more people than ever, there is also a growing need for products to be manufactured on a smaller scale. We are PRV Engineering are often called upon to create these small scale or even jobs where we manufacture one off parts.
Therefore modern manufacturing needs to adjust and to be able to accept smaller orders. Engineering of major projects, such as bridges, buildings, railway systems, and more also can benefit from a more agile manufacturing system in order to create scale models of the projects to be built.
In order to accomplish this, rapid prototyping has become popular.
What Exactly is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is a series of techniques used to design and create a scale model of a physical part that will eventually be used in an assembly. These prototypes use what is commonly referred to computer aided design, or CAD. The manufacture of these parts can also be done on the more low quantity orders.
The earliest versions of rapid prototyping were made available during the latter part of the 1980s and were based on the work of Voelcker’s and Deckard which included the development of 3D printing techniques. During the next twenty plus years, aided by work done by great advances in computer technology rapid prototyping has become both lucrative and convenient, allowing for high quality.
There are a number of different rapid prototyping processes that are in use today. Some of these include Stereolithography, or SLA, PolyJet, Manufactured Plastic Prototypes (MMP), Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM, Cast Urethane, and Selective Laser Sintering, or SLS.
Each of these processes use a variety of options for the end user however delving into the details of each is beyond the scope of this article. What is important to keep in mind when it comes to rapid prototyping is this: when a company requires perfectly augmented scale models for use in design, or they require parts to be manufactured in small quantities, rapid prototyping is an option that saves our customers’ a great deal of time and money. We are even able to offer a small stocking service which allows the companies we work with to reduce their stock and call off items only when required.
Get in touch with us today to see how PRV Engineering’s rapid prototyping services can help with your manufacturing needs.