Phase 6: Prototype Construction
Paragon Innovations’ Series:
12-Stage Product Development Process
From Start to Success
As we reach the halfway point in Paragon’s 12-Stage Product Development Process, developers should be prepared with the preliminary research they have conducted as the ‘foundation’ of their product. This includes a critical design review, a thorough requirements document, adequate fundraising, and more. Phase 6 focuses on building a successful prototype and our founder and VP, Mike Wilkinson, says it best, “We’re going to get cracking on construction!”
The prototype construction phase of a product development process is where design work and documentation are verified. A prototype is a functional model that is very similar to the desired product and demonstrates the feasibility of all major design issues. The most convenient way to get a prototype constructed is to utilize a contract manufacturer. Prototype construction is advantageous to the overall product development process in that you can create a better final product through user feedback. It’s important to communicate to the user that this is not the final product.
Prototype Development Cycle:
As with an entire product development cycle, prototype construction is best addressed as a piece-by-piece process. Similar to building a multi-story home, it pays to go step-by-step in the prototype construction phase. The prototype development cycle includes:
- Early concepts / 3D screen models
- 3D printed concepts
- Paper design
- Determine CM and include them in Design Reviews
- Incorporate Pre-DFM issues to save a step.
- Prototypes made (PCB, 3D model, hand machined parts)
- Design package updated and EIN/EOD produced
If you are collaborating with Paragon Innovations on developing a product, you are leveraging their decades’ worth of engineering design experience and industry connections. “Our lab is complete with all soldering gear, a wet lab, and all the equipment necessary to test [your] device,” says Mike. A comprehensive lab is essential for prototype testability. Testability refers to design features that are added/subtracted from prototype models to ensure manufacturability.
One of the most important steps within the prototype construction phase is record-keeping. Any change or correction within a prototype must be documented to ensure the success of a final product. A successful prototype construction benefits each phase of the last half of our 12-Stage Product Development Course. If you found the prototype construction phase helpful, stay tuned for Stage 7: Pre-Production!