Wayken Automotive Prototyping Uses: From Concept to Creation

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Wayken is a specialist in bespoke automotive prototypin. In automotive prototyping, the prototyping process comprises of a number of different and crucial design validation processes before the actual production of the final automobile or its automotive parts. Automotive prototypes are an excellent and effective way to ensure how a product (for example, an automotive headlamp) feels and looks before deciding on what type of materials to use for the product. A safety barrier, if you will, to evaluatethe manufacturing viability of that specific part before full-scale production begins.

In order words, the prototyping period extends far beyond a single phase in the development of the specific automotive part(s). For the automotive industry today, specialist prototype manufacturers play a vital role in the success of a product. Wayken is one such company.

In the automotive industry today, automotive prototyping is an important part of the entire automotive engineering process. It allows the CNC automotive engineers to determine how to create new parts that would appeal to the internal stakeholders and customers. This way the stakeholders can be convinced to invest in a certain product ensuring that either the part(s) and or the vehicle as a whole is fully validated before it is manufactured and sold to end users.

The auto industry uses a number of processes and methodologies when prototyping during phases of product development: design validation, pre-production, production process validation, customer testing, safety testing, and manufacturing validation.

Prototyping for Design Validation

During the design validation process, product engineers are able to test the initial design and the functionality of the proposed product. To that end they are also able to ‘sell’ their new concepts to potential stakeholders who in turn have the confidence to invest in their ideas and products at the prototype stage.

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The prototypes created during this phase are rarely complete. Instead, they are usually made with rapid prototyping techniques using CNC or 3D printing. These techniques are both cost and time effective. The basic prototypes help to visualize the concepts and share key information such as form and functionality with the entire project team.

Prototypes in the Pre-production Phase

Once the prototype has been approved and successfully validated, the early pre-production stage requires a much more refined prototype. This will allow key stakeholders to determine the usability of the product as well as to smooth out any design challenges that there may exist.

Automotive engineers often refer to this phase of the automotive prototyping as the ‘mule stage.’ During this stage, the design engineers use donor cars, remove the old parts and install new prototypes in the existing chassis. This allows engineers and designers to determine how the new car parts will interact with other parts. It also gives them the opportunity to consider any design alternatives that may prove to work better.

Automotive Prototypes for Production Process Validation

After the mule stage, CNC automotive part manufacturers make use of finalized automotive prototypes during the production process validation stage at the assembly plant.

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During this phase, extensive use of CNC machining, rapid manufacturing, metal forming, and fabrication techniques are put into effective use to determine the ideal method for the final automotive part.

Customer Testing Prototypes

For both the prototype manufacturer and the car manufacturer, it is important to gain valuable feedback from the customers. This allows the companies to sell their concepts to stakeholders, spot possible design issues and gain customer trust.

It must be noted that the customer testing of prototypes can occur at any stage of the automotive prototyping process. However, it is advisable to begin the prototyping phase in the early stages of the product development to avoid any last-minute changes that can often cause an escalation in costs.

Safety Testing Prototypes

Any automotive part, even the automotive headlamp, requires mandatory safety testing. This is where the value of safety testing prototypes is crucial. This testing is called Failure Mode Effect analysis (FMEA). For any part that goes in an automobile, a prototype is made specifically for safety testing. It is therefore essential that the car manufacturer chooses the correct prototype manufacturing process.

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An ideal prototype manufacturer must carry out rapid prototyping efficiently, have a good record of successful prototypes and offer a competitive rate. All these characteristics are at the very foundations of Wayken.

Manufacturing Validation Build Prototypes

Before a new automotive part goes into full production, a separate prototype is developed for manufacturing feasibility and validation.

The manufacturing validation build phase uses machinery that is planned to produce a certain part. Optimization of the tools, robotics and software is essential to perform prototyping tasks at their maximum efficiency. However, if you take your prototyping and part manufacturing demands to a third party such as Wayken, you can lower the production cost by completing eliminating this phase of the part manufacturing. Prototype manufacturers already have their machines tweaked to perform to full efficiency.

The Many Roles Played by Automotive Prototypes

As evident from the above, there is never just one single automotive prototype when developing a new automotive product.

Prototypes play a crucial role throughout the ongoing process of developing automotive assemblies and parts. They are refined continuously with the help of a specialist prototype manufacturer until a consensus is reached regarding the final product design.

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It can also be seen that by having the prototypes created throughout the automotive product life cycle, project teams, stakeholders and the manufacturing production staff can work together to realize the feasibility and efficiency of a concept.

If you are in search of an automotive prototype for any of the stages outlined then consider Wayken for it has built an enviable reputation for rapid automotive prototyping for all stages of product development.

With decades of experience and industry expertise, Wayken is a leader in creating high-quality prototypes for demanding clients using bespoke state-of-the-art prototyping techniques.

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