Developing hardware is a long drawn and a rather costly process. If you’re a part of a startup developing an electronic device or any complex product, you should know for sure the exact processes involved before going into any hardware mass production.
Let’s dig deeper into learning about this process. Taking your startup prototype to mass production requires you to follow a five-step procedure:
1. Refining The Concept
You should carry out detailed market research and refine what value your product will exactly offer to your customers. A part of this step is figuring out your customer base and their wants. This process will also include rough sketches and plenty of notes about your concept and how it will meet customers’ needs.
Avoid jumping straight to how the product will be manufactured. Instead, it’s preferable to ponder a bit on who is having the problem you’re trying to solve and why your product is the solution to their problem.
2. Visualizing The Concept In 3D
Once your concept is refined and decided, you need to create a 3D model of the product. There are countless software options that can help you visualize your concept in 3D; your choice depends on the intricacy of your concept.
After finalizing a model, your product is now ready for the prototype stage.
3. Developing A Prototype
A prototype will allow you to show potential customers and venture capitalists what you have to offer exactly. That way, you can offer them the prototype as a sample of your product. Even if you’re looking for rapid manufacturing of the prototype (read more at https://www.3erp.com/rapid-tooling-injection-molding/), you have a myriad of options. Do a bit of research and find out how much time it takes to get a prototype developed.
Once your potential customers see or use the prototype, they’ll get an idea in terms of how the final product will look like. Besides, they’ll be able to provide valuable feedback about the product that is still in its testing phase. Based on the feedback, you’ll be able to decide whether you want to bring your prototype to the next level, i.e. mass production, or further changes are required in manufacturing the product.
4. Testing And Refining The Product
Now that you have your prototype ready, your next concern should be in making sure if it’s good enough for the real market. There are three stages of testing that your prototype must go through:
Engineering Validation and Testing (EVT)
In this testing, the functional requirements are checked against those initially highlighted during the market research. Is your prototype fulfilling those needs you were targeting or not? Once all the requirements for functionality, performance, and reliability are met, the prototype can move to the next stage of testing.
Design Validation and Testing (DVT)
The next thing you need to check for is whether your product is suitable for the environment it was intended for or not. The product will undergo small-scale production and these batches will be tested for real-world problems such as dropping it from a height or in water.
Based on the country you’re planning to sell your product, you’ll make sure in this stage that your product meets the standards and certifications required.
Production Validation and Testing (PVT)
This is the final stage of testing which involves setting up a pilot production line and inspect it for any failures. At the end of this stage, you and your contracted manufacturer can decide whether to go on with mass production or not.
5. Mass Production
You can finally start producing on a mass scale now. Keep in mind that it’s crucial to keep looking for any issues in the design or the manufacturing process. In this step, you should continue testing and running reliability checks on the production. Once you’re sure that all quality issues are resolved, you’ll be able to maximize your output to the desired level.
The volume will not be the only decision to be made at this point but also how you want the finishing and assembly of your product to be like. The very first step in the market research will help you a great deal at this stage as you’ll know what your customers like or dislike.
The above steps should make moving to mass production less daunting of a task. With the breakdown in place, you’ll be better prepared to take on the challenges that will come your way during the process. However, make sure to never rush it and be patient throughout.