Price is something that is always important to those making purchasing decisions. Budgets and ROI calculations are part of doing business. However, it can be most beneficial to focus on the long-term cost and overall time savings rather than the short-term cost. By investing strategically in a prototype tool, manufacturers can save thousands of dollars and weeks worth of time in the long run.
Quality prototype tools are designed to produce production style parts. With this in mind, initial tooling costs may be slightly more upfront than other prototype development options. However, production quality prototypes can be used for various forms of testing and can even be used in limited production quantities. Additionally, part modifications can be easily done without having to start over, as some rapid prototype shops would require. Selecting a prototype development partner that uses tools that can be used for small production quantities will help bridge your part from prototype to production.
Part testing is critical because not only do we learn about the characteristics of the plastic as the part is launched, we also learn about the tool design. Ultimately, what we learn about tool design will help in creating a more streamlined process should a component go to production. These learnings include how the material flows through the tool, where the proper gate location is, how to introduce water within the tool, and how the material shrinks. The findings will allow the production tool build to be seamless and quicker which will ultimately save money.
The world of prototyping is about speed to market and cost. We understand that the long-term cost of building an inexpensive and substandard prototype tool can ultimately be far more than any savings realized in the short term by trying to save a few bucks.
Check out our cost timeline and more tips on choosing the best process for your next plastic prototype part.