Rapid prototyping makes it possible for a product to go from development to market testing and mass production faster and more efficiently than ever before.
With traditional prototyping, a product or component might be test-manufactured three to four times to determine if the product meets the end function, features, geometry, and intended consumer’s end use. Rapid injection molding makes it possible to create models faster while producing less waste, and most often, multiple prototyping rounds are not needed. This helps save manufacturers time while still allowing them to test the product’s fit, form, and function.
Beyond the ability to produce prototypes faster and more efficiently, there are other advantages of using rapid prototyping for plastic injection molded products.
Injection Molded Prototypes Limit Certain Risks
New product development always involves a certain amount of risk, including spending money that may not bring a return on investment (ROI). A product may be functional for the end user, but the manufacturing costs may outweigh those benefits. Early prototypes can be used for market testing to uncover the financial risks associated with manufacturing a product due to complexity, materials, tooling, assembly, and more.
Prototypes Add Value to the Proof-of-Concept Phase
The part design phase can be lengthy, as the design must be tested for manufacturability. Months can be eliminated when you work with a plastic molding supplier that is experienced in prototyping. Rapid injection molding allows plastic molds to be created quickly and requires less time and materials to build a mold. Injection molded prototypes are also manufactured with the same process as production parts and will better represent the product’s real-world appearance and durability versus a 3D printed mock-up that only shows stakeholders a portion of the final product to be made.
Rapid Injection Molding Can Produce Shorter Lead Times
Using rapid prototype injection molding to test plastic molded products can also shorten production times. If your plastic molding supplier has rapid tooling capabilities they can help you get real world injection molded prototypes in very fast lead times. Rapid prototype injection molding involves building an actual plastic injection mold with 1 week to 5 week lead times. Be careful! If your plastic molding supplier won’t commit to production quality surface finishes and functionality on your prototypes you may be better served with 3D printed prototypes.
Rapid Prototyping Helps Identify Design Flaws
A company’s brand, profits, and reputation can be shattered by a defective product line or a manufacturing supplier prone to excessive waste and scrap. You can avoid these types of product quality and manufacturing issues by working with a reputable plastic molding supplier. Because CAD software is used during the product design and rapid injection molding, it’s easier to catch design flaws even before a prototype is produced. Good suppliers will always help you review your plastic product design for manufacturability (DFM).
Prototyping Allows Manufacturers to Test Different Plastics
Rapid prototyping allows manufacturers to create several prototypes made from different resins. This allows manufacturers to quickly test each prototype’s performance to determine which material is needed. By testing various materials, manufacturers can improve strength, enhance corrosion resistance, and increase the product’s expected lifecycle.
Choosing the Right Prototype Injection Molding Provider
When choosing a prototype injection molding provider, experience and expertise should always be the primary factors. How long has the company offered rapid injection molding? What are their turnaround times? Are they capable of handling both low and high-volume production quantities?
You’ll also want to ensure that you choose a company that doesn’t just produce prototypes for you—you want someone who can offer you design advice, help you select the right materials, identify design flaws, and has full production capabilities.
MSI Mold’s Capabilities
Founded in 2005, MSI Mold is a full-service, U.S.A. plastic injection molding manufacturer that offers rapid injection molding, production injection molding, and in-house mold building services. We serve manufacturers in many industries, including consumer goods, medical, and transportation. Since our founding, we’ve been committed to customer service and quality. We practice 6S lean manufacturing techniques to reduce waste and improve efficiency, and implement new technology to improve customer value. Additionally, because we manufacture everything in our U.S.A. facility, quality is never a question but a guarantee. All parts we produce are high-quality and free of defects. Contact us today to learn more about our plastic prototyping and production capabilities.