Manufacturers and inventors across the United Kingdom strive to create concepts for products or machinery that can be utilised within everyday life. They are based upon an adaptation of an already existing product or a brand new, innovative product that carries a purpose or quantity of functions to be efficient in its designed concept.
The process between a concept and production is integral to the overall functionality and success of a product. It requires considerable attention to detail within the precise measurements and dimensions of each part or assembly that fits onto a product. Jumping straight from a concept into development and distribution may lead to significant malfunctions or damage that could cause injury to those who buy the product.
During the production process, manufacturers and inventors must ensure each individual component of their concept is created to scale in order to effectively function. Creating a single or multiple numbers of prototypes is integral towards identifying potential flaws in the concept. Additionally, it allows an inventor or company to see their concept come to life as a prototype before considering any alterations towards entering the production stage.
Rapid prototyping techniques have been utilised since the late 1980s to create prototype parts, models and, most recently, exhibitions and production standard parts. Manufactures and inventors utilise computer aided design (CAD) systems to effectively create a scaled version of prototype parts accurately and instantly. These systems allow people to enter concept data and measurements into a computer which effectively transforms the calculations into a digital concept. This is then created using a 3D printer which takes the data given and creates actual parts or assemblies via a series of lasers.
Laser-based techniques are significantly more efficient than creating prototype or production parts by hand. Although manufacturers or inventors may be expert craftsmen or women, the margin of error within creating a product for public use is effectively zero. CAD systems utilises any set of calculations provided to create physical components that are perfectly and accurately scaled as specified. This plays an essential role in providing the accuracy required to not only ensure a prototype is correct, but also created products can provide their quoted functions and usage when placed on the market.