12 Aug The Benefits of Rapid Prototyping in Manufacturing
Innovation is a word that’s used a lot today. In manufacturing, the creation of a new idea, method or device—the very definition of the word—is heavily impacted by the processes we have available to us.
Precision machining plays a pivotal role in today’s tech-heavy world. Before it became commonplace, the creation of new parts was a laborious, costly and slow process. Imagine the frustration of having done all the calculations possible for a new device, waited for the part or parts to be created, only to find that further tweaks were needed to make the product viable.
Precision machining has revolutionised the procedure, giving inventors and creators the ability to easily test a variety of parts to discover the optimal pattern.
Let’s look at how this has evolved over recent years.
From Prototyping to Environmental Responsibilities
Precision machining involves using a computer-generated programme that drives a physical machine. The human element comes from determining the instructions that this programme must follow. Once this is done, the machine takes over and forms the part into the pre-designed shape.
The advantages of this are many, including:
- A low margin of error: Once the program is set, precision machining creates the same pattern over and over again, with an extremely low error factor (virtually zero) that could never be matched by human hand.
- Speed and quantity: Precision machining can churn out constant parts, 24/7, each identical to the last.
- Easy to adjust: These are made via the initial computer programme, rather than the long, expensive, slow task of yesteryear that was necessary for the creation of new parts.
- Can take advantage of a variety of software: Including CAD, CAM, and other CNC and precision software.
- Reduces waste: Materials are used efficiently. Higher accuracy means less waste. The rise of precision machining also means that multiple patterns can be achieved with a single machine. This means fewer raw materials are needed to make the machines themselves, another benefit to the environment.
However, when it comes to innovation, by far the biggest impact of precision machining is how easy it is to create prototypes. This vital stage of product development has historically been the sticking point that stifled creativity. Cost was the greatest factor, closely followed by the time it took to figure out design flaws in early-stage production.
Precision machining has transformed this process. Adjustments can be carried out with a few taps on the keyboard, low batch production is possible and companies can even substitute cheaper materials during the prototyping stage.
Rapid prototyping is a phrase that came to light in the 1980s with early 3D printing. It’s now a stalwart of product development, allowing designers to test many aspects and functionalities of a new product.
In manufacturing, innovation and precision machining go hand-in-hand and have been responsible for many of the advanced devices in common use today. WA’s Australian manufacturing industry is fortunate to have a world-leading precision engineering and CNC machining provider right in their backyard. Sixde provides cutting-edge solutions to a variety of industries, including defence, robotics, infrastructure, energy, medical and more.
We partner with some of the most innovative companies in WA, nationwide and around the world, providing a second-to-none precision machining service for rapid prototyping and other manufacturing needs. Visit https://www.sixde.com.au to find out more.