Modern CAD software is very sophisticated. Not only can you do the design, it can tell you what the stresses and strains will be on the design, what the thermal affects will be and calculate fluid flows (liquid and gas); but what it does not do is tell you what the design will do in real life. Prototyping is an essential stage in any design project. It will show how the design will react when used in a real world environment, it will show weaknesses in the manufacturability of the design, it will give feed back from customers and suppliers alike about the acceptability of the design.
James Dyson went through 2000 prototypes before he got his vacuum cleaner design fit for market; this is exceptional, however prototyping is an iterative process, it is unlikely the first prototype will be ‘fit for purpose’.
Major car and Aerospace manufacturers use CAD software a magnitude (or two) more expensive than software used by Fripp Design and Research, but they always prototype…at the end of the day, would you get into a plane that went straight from CAD to manufacture?
Posted in: Product Design