Rapid prototyping is a method used to achieve the fast creation of physical parts, designs or physical models using advanced manufacturing technology. It uses a variety of manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing, high-speed machining, casting, moulding and rapid tooling. It has been an efficient method in Rapid manufacturing of representative prototypes.
Rapid prototyping has been widely applied in the automotive industry and here are some of its contributions to the industry:
In the automotive industry, Rapid prototyping is used to create parts and form models of different automobiles. This has enabled the developers to have an idea of how the final product will look and function. With the information they obtain from the model, they can make modifications and improvements ahead of mass production. Making modifications and improvements reduces the risk of future costly errors which may rise up during mass manufacturing of the product or after the product has been released in to the market.
Most of the processes in Rapid prototyping are Computer Assisted and Controlled. Therefore, the output will be articulate and free of human error. In the automotive industry, even the smallest error, is likely to result in tragic effects. The articulateness in the process acts to minimize wastage of materials and parts which would otherwise be more in the case of human labor. The use of machines also saves on the labor cost since less staff are needed in the industrial process.
Representative prototypes of cars, bikes and other automobiles have been used as a way to get feedback from investors, clients and the rest of the consumer population. Clients are able to see how the final product will look and give their reviews. From the reviews of the clients, investors can assess whether or not to invest in the project and in case the investors are not convinced about investing in the particular project, they developers have a chance to make modifications and attract investors.
Rapid Prototyping has allowed the manufacturing of safe, cleaner and lighter automotive parts through manufacturing of a few sample parts and models from different materials. The different materials can be tested and compared in order to establish the most efficient and safe one to use during mass production.
With the ongoing evolution and rapid changes in the automotive industry Rapid prototyping is the best way to keep up with the rising trends in the market while also ensuring the delivery of good quality products. Vehicles are evolving every day, different parts are being introduced to enhance modern features such as fuel saving, better mechanical performance and better aesthetics. An example of such changes is the shift from fossil fuel generated cars to electric cars. Rapid prototyping has enabled the manufacturing of such parts and models within a short period of time and in a cost effective manner. The quick turnaround time makes it possible to deliver products in a short time, and this enables the developers to meet the demands in the market and keep up with the rising trends.
The automotive industry is growing and as it grows, the needs will keep on changing. Due to its flexibility in terms of time, cost saving and customization to meet the requirements of the day-to-day changing world, Rapid prototyping has proven to be an effective way to meet these needs.