Once the concept is proven, a rapid prototype can be made from additive machining or high-speed machining. These types of prototypes can be expensive but can be created out of many different materials. The high cost of a prototype is small compared to the capital expenses needed to tool up for production quantities of the design. One of the greatest benefits to using prototypes is to prove out the concept fully before spending capital on tooling and manufacturing. Various businesses online offer to prototype sample parts with quick turnarounds.
A functional prototype of the conceptual design is thoroughly discussed through a design review. Various agency testing, type tests, or functional tests can be performed to prove out the intended design. If the design is satisfactory to all parties in the design review process, proceeding to the next step is granted. Tooling is manufactured for the production ready sources of parts. Assembly fixtures can also be created around the prototype parts to prove out lean manufacturing assembly.
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Another important factor to consider in this process of evaluating electronics manufacturing service providers would be the design assistance that they may be able to provide throughout the process of developing the product. Services such as electronics design and printed circuit board layout design, component selection and procurement process with assistance in multi-sourcing components, enclosure design, mechanical packaging design, and providing production capability from prototyping to low volume to high volume could all be of immense
help to you. In addition, a contract electronics manufacturer may also provide suggestions to improve the manufacturability, lower component costs, and improve the product's reliability. Be sure to have an appropriate Non-Disclosure Agreement in place with any and all parties that are involved in this process to protect your intellectual property.
You must also define how will the manufactured product is to be tested and packaged. Once the product has been prototyped and tested successfully, it is important to determine the quantity of units to be manufactured for the initial production run and for volume manufacturing levels. You must also understand how many levels of distribution the product go through (with each level taking a cut of the margins) before it gets in front of a consumer to purchase.