Moving a product from the design and engineering phases to manufacturing is an important part of getting it to market. It's wise to treat all three aspects as a whole, keeping an eye on how the product design and engineering will affect manufacturing. Here's how you can do that.
Incorporate Manufacturing Concerns into the Design Process
Once you have a clear idea of what the general makeup of the product will be, it's prudent to talk with manufacturers. If your product has 8 components, for example, you should speak with a product manufacturing services provider about how those components would go through the process. Can they machine components of that size? Will the manufacturer need advanced equipment, such as mills with multiple degrees of freedom?
Engineer Based on the Manufacturer's Responses
The goal is to take detailed notes from the manufacturer and start engineering work around them. A component might need to move a certain way in the assembled product. However, that could dictate a more expensive manufacturing technique. It may be cheaper to re-engineer the component in a way that allows the use of a simpler manufacturing method without sacrificing significant functionality.
As you look at the engineering, design, and manufacture of the product, you'll want to keep an eye out for opportunities to improve the process. If it appears you can eliminate a step with a bit of engineering, you'll probably want to do so. Your goal should be to eliminate as many steps as possible without compromising the integrity of the final product.
Expect to see some back-and-forth between the product design and engineering end of the process and what a manufacturer says is possible. You may have to refine your product several times before you come up with a product that looks good and works well. However, the payoff comes from knowing the manufacturing process will be streamlined.
While modern manufacturing processes are a lot more efficient than they were decades ago, there is still a significant commitment. You'll want to produce prototypes and conduct practical tests. You may also want to use element analysis to determine which manufacturing materials will hold up best. Likewise, work with your target users to determine how well the design and engineering satisfy their needs.
You'll have a somewhat similar process with setting up manufacturing. The manufacturer will assess how well the process works and make refinements in consultation with you. You can then narrow in on the best approach and commit to production. For more information, contact local product manufacturing services near you.