Making a product concept a reality is a multi-stage process that can involve transforming something as simple as a sketch on a cocktail napkin into a viable, marketable consumer good. While the journey from idea to reality can vary wildly depending on the product itself, the three most common guideposts on the product development path are what we might call the “Three P’s”—prototype, patent, and production. In fact, for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses, how these stages are navigated can mean the difference between market failure and market success. And for this reason, one of the best ways to successfully see your product through from the earliest development stages to manufacturing is to let experienced professionals help you along the way.
A vital stage in product development, prototyping describes the process by which a concept is evolved into a finished product in preparation for full-scale manufacturing. Prototyping routinely begins with a basic outline or sketch, which is then refined and revised—often through the creation of multiple iterations of the product—in order to bring the creator’s vision to life. These days, multiple forms of prototyping are available to inventors and entrepreneurs.
Virtual prototyping, which is a mode of computer-aided design (CAD), yields a 3D product model that is virtually identical to a finished product. Conceptual prototyping, which is routinely used in the second stage of prototyping, is used to generate a mock-up of a concept, providing both a general sense of the product’s appearance and a basis for conversations about potential design revisions. Finally, the next stage of the prototyping process involves a functionality test—that is, the creation of a model to test for form, fit, and function.
Another important part of the product development journey is patent research, which refers to the process of researching whether a patent exists with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for your product or something similar. While it is vital to ensure that your product does not infringe on the intellectual property rights of another creator, this is not the only value of conducting thorough patent research—and this is where having a little help can be extremely valuable. A prototyping company such as PRG can perform not only a patent search but also market analysis and product reviews to determine how to improve upon product design and, importantly, make it stand out from the competition.
The final stage in bringing a product to life—and to the consumer market—is production. While PRG Prototyping does not do mass production beyond a small run of approximately 100 units, our ability to produce a prototype model of virtually any product, whether a simple design or a complex object with moving parts, enables you to rigorously inspect and, if needed, revise your prototype design before taking it to a manufacturer. Moreover, prototyping at PRG can help you take your product to market as quickly as possible, with an average timeframe for full engineering and functional prototyping of 4-12 weeks. By emphasizing manufacturability as we work with you to develop your concept, we help to ensure that your product has the perfect look, feel, and function before you commit to mass production.
If you have a product concept in mind and are ready to take the plunge, we’re ready to help you get started and walk you through the journey to making your vision a reality. Just contact PRG Prototyping for a free quote on a prototyping project today!
PRG Prototypingis a specialist in designing and building new products, with emphases in concept design engineering, design for manufacturability, prototype development, production, and marketing presentations. PRG also provides clients with information on patent protection and intellectual property services.