As a design engineer, you would want to meet with the best prototype companies. You would want to make the most out of your association with them. But if you are a novice and don’t know how to negotiate with a prototype company you can make your boss unhappy. Here we would like to help you with dealing with a prototype company and as a customer to expect from it.
What is a prototype and what is a prototype company?
Prototypes are versions of your products that will be used in the final production. You will base your end product on a prototype you develop. You use a prototype as a sample for showcasing in a festival/fair, rope in investor, lure customers, or just present an idea or a concept. A prototype is not the final product and you are likely to order less than 100 units of it.
A prototype company is a company that specializes in the production of prototypes and understand their importance for the client and the industry.
Here is what you can expect from them
Maintaining your business secrets
The best prototype companies always guard the secrets of their clients. You should sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with them binding them not to leak the information to outsiders. The best prototype companies always protect their clients’ business secrets.
Feedback on the product
The designers and engineers of the prototype company can help you improve upon your prototype. They can give you suggestions and point out where you can make further improvements.
Knowledge of the industry
As a client, you expect that the company you are entrusting to produce prototypes will have ample knowledge regarding the product. They understand the best materials and the processes needed for its production. They should also be aware of the technical jargon surrounding the product or invention.
Technical prototyping capabilities
It is reasonable to expect from the prototype company that it will have the technical know-how as well as the mechanical capacity to carry out the job. They should have CNC-machining, 3D printing, plastic injection molding, and 3D CAD facilities, etc. at their disposal.
They should also be able to procure the best materials needed for your prototype. Sometimes the materials acquisition has to be outsourced. The best prototype companies always inform their clients beforehand for such eventualities.
A prototype will be produced in small numbers. So, your prototype company should be able to do this seamlessly. Making new tooling can be a costly as well as a time-consuming affair. Your prototyping company should be able to handle this aspect of prototype production as well.
The best prototype companies are always driven by the needs of their clients. They focus on providing the best solutions to their clients and doing everything in their capacity to make them satisfied and happy.
It is not difficult to deal with a prototype company. You should have a reasonable set of expectations before you encounter one and get your job done befittingly.