A prototype is a generally simplified yet fully functional sample of a product or production process. It is commonly used in technology to test the general suitability or feasibility of components, or the function of production processes. Prototypes are therefore always required whenever new products are to be developed or new production processes tested. Depending on the design, varying degrees of detail are possible; these range from simple illustrative samples all the way to fully functional machines.
Typical technologies that are used in prototyping are:
- CAD: For detailed engineering of the component in advance.
- Finite element calculations: These are used for everything from simple strength calculations to complex simulations of entire processes (digital twin).
- CNC: For computer-controlled manufacture of components.
- 3D printing: For the simple manufacture of components made of plastic or actual representative models.
At IAG, prototyping is an important step on the way to a new product or an improvement to an existing process. In our in-house production, or with the help of our suppliers, we are able to realise prototypes quickly and above all affordably, to test them extensively and to incorporate the insights gained into existing constructions during the engineering design or development process. Depending on the requirement, we can manufacture the simplest patterns in order to determine basic suitability, or assemble fully functional parts of a machine so as to carry out detailed examinations.