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How contract manufacturing can improve your prototyping 

In today's world of manufacturing products of all kinds, you must be smart and responsive. Consumer demands, regulatory requirements, and market competition requires quick action from New Zealand manufacturers. Prototyping can be an important part of taking a leaner, more agile approach to bringing a profitable product to market. 

At ENI, prototyping is a vital part of our contract manufacturing process, where our engineers bring their highly technical mindset to the table. Our goal is to design products that are optimised for a lean manufacturing process, while also meeting our customers’ visions. 

Read on to find out more about our process and how we can help you improve your prototyping. 

What is prototyping? 

Prototyping - sometimes known as rapid prototyping – describes a process used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly. In a nutshell, prototyping is about designing and creating a template that can then be reproduced as many times as necessary. 

In the prototype planning phase, we use Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to create three-dimensional drawings of the product. This helps you visualise the prototype before it is built, and allows the designers to get as much of the detail correct as possible before the prototype is built.  

Challenges of prototyping 

The process of prototyping usually includes someone setting the expectation and someone working out the reality: The visionary and the prototype engineer. 

The most difficult challenge for an engineer is to meet the original vision. They want to create a design and prototype that are as close to what the visionary had in mind as possible. 

The other main challenge is working out a product cost that works for everyone. The product visionary may have an upper limit in mind, but the cost of creating the design and prototype may exceed that. Not only that; once the prototype has been built, the production costs may mean that manufacturing for market is not cost-effective. 

What it boils down to is that for both these challenges, the expectation and the reality could be poles apart.  

This is where a contract manufacturer like ENI can help. Because we have manufacturing experience, we bring a practicality that can assess your vision and tie it down in reality. We'll examine the original concept and develop a modified design that is both manufacturable and cost-effective. 

Prototyping with a contract manufacturer 

We are working with a company at the moment who imported their product. They were experiencing issues with supply and costs, which drove the decision to approach ENI about designing an alternative, improved product. They provided the scope of what they were looking for, and we drew up some plans and provided quotes. Once the client was happy with the design, we went to work building the prototype. The prototype was reviewed and tested and, after some minor adjustments, they took it to market. 

The client then had two options: 

  1. They own the IP, so they can take it out and have someone else manufacture it 

  1. They sign a contract with ENI for the manufacturing 

In this case, the customer decided to manufacture with ENI. 

Outsource your prototyping 

Remember, prototypes don’t have to be made by you in-house. If your business venture involves a product that requires more technical know-how or industry-specific expertise, it is not uncommon to engage product engineers like ENI.  

Outsourcing prototyping can be a major benefit. We welcome an iterative process, where we work together to keep improving your product until you feel it is ready to present to a potential investor or your client base. 

A contract manufacturer means a customer can benefit from having design and manufacturing expertise under the same roof. At ENI, we’ll find ways to design a prototype that is as close as possible to both your vision and your budget. You will have the option to use our manufacturing abilities and technology to take your idea to market. 

If you want to find out more about how we can help with your ideas for creating and building a prototype, we would love to start a discussion. 

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