Rapid prototyping is a key electronic product design service allowing us to help clients turn product innovation and product development concepts into reality. Services include PCB layouts; assembled PCBs, software development and programmed devices.
It also extends to physical prototypes in plastic and metal to aid product development and to facilitate field trials.
Working closely with clients’ product design and procurement teams, AES can design and manufacture many different physical prototypes.
The proven rapid prototyping development path typically involves one or more of the following electronic design and development stages. These may be integrated with client’s product design stages to harness product design synergies:
- Initial electronic product design concept - Through creative meetings, design reviews of historical products and market feedback.
- Capturing the electronic product design specification – Defining the product designs required and preferred attributes for the finished device together with projected costings, volumes and target sector information. Future-proofing is considered from the start of an electronic product design and development project. This may include the provision for increased memory and processing capacity, additional communication protocols and interfaces for anticipated functions not included in the initial product design specification.
- Electronic product design concept drawings including E-drawings for review.
- 3D imaging if required to verify a product design in the context of a simulated work space.
- Physical models in plastics, metals and composites.
- Recent examples include medical grade silicone polymers, carbon fibre, polycarbonate, urethanes and a range of ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
- Urethane potting is used to locate components and to afford physical and commercial security in the product design and evaluation stages.
- Pre-production runs in near-finished forms. AES works closely with external bodies such as universities, local manufacturers, the MTC Centre and the Warwick Manufacturing Group. Through this network it can produce product design samples and pre-production tooling to check form, fit and ergonomics before committing to the cost of more permanent production-tooling.
With the expansion of the in-house design team and the drive for ever quicker turnaround of hardware and software designs, AES has maintained the theme of continuous improvement to the electronic product design and development process.
AES' recent investments to speed up prototyping and reduce the time to market include:-
- The addition of rapid-prototype milling and assembly is further reducing the time from design to first off working prototypes.
- Advanced testing - prototype pcbs can be physically tested within hours of the circuit design being committed to physical layout.
- Processes that mean the inevitable product design modifications and product design changes can be incorporated and further evaluation work carried out on prototypes the same day.
- In-house encapsulation, gives AES the flexibility to prepare working prototypes for field evaluation with speed and accuracy.
- Extention of partnerships and complementary skills to promote creativity and drive product innovation.