Product design is an art and a science. Getting it right requires you to engage both creatively and logically with the task before you.
By the time your design is finished and gets sent off for manufacture, you want to be sure that you have ironed out all the kinks. Designing your product with manufacturing in mind from the beginning makes this a lot easier.
Get Feedback On Your Blueprints
Every product should start life in the form of a sketch or blueprint. This is the easiest way for you to get your idea down and assess it’s basic merits.
Once you have produced some annotated sketches or blueprints, it’s time to get some feedback. It helps to have other people’s eyes on your design; it’s all too easy for an individual designer to overlook something basic. Soliciting and reacting to feedback on your product will be important throughout the process.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of the prototyping process. This is where you will learn for sure whether your product works and your design is legit. If there are any deficiencies in your design that might affect the manufacturing process, they should reveal themselves in your prototype.
Don’t be afraid of commissioning multiple prototypes if you feel it is necessary. You want to be sure that you have caught all the design issues before you begin manufacturing. If going through a few iterations of your prototype is what it takes to achieve that, it is worth doing.
Refine Your Concept
None of the testing or prototyping you do is worth it if you aren’t going to implement what you learn. Where you identify issues, you should move to address them as soon as possible. Once you have considered the feedback you receive and act on it accordingly, you can then look for ways to further refine your product before you send the final design for manufacture.
As the linked video from Engineering Big Ideas shows, the refined product design and manufacturing process are intimately linked. Mouser Electronics has produced numerous videos in the Engineering Big Ideas series. They are all worthwhile viewing for product designers and manufacturers.
Shop Around For Manufacturers
Before you commit to a specific manufacturer, you want to be certain that they are able to offer what you need. Don’t just go for the first manufacturer you come across. Take your time and make doubly sure that any manufacturers you approach are able to provide the service you need at the right price.
When you are choosing a manufacturer, don’t just look at the cost. There are several important factors you need to consider. For example, you want a dependable partner who you can rely upon to deliver your product on time and on spec.
Manufacturing is one of the final components of the product design chain. If you design your product with the final manufacturing process in mind from the very beginning, you will find the entire process much smoother.
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