When new equipment is being developed or an old part requires updating, prototyping is an integral part of the process. Building a prototype is never as costly as creating a finalised spare part only to find out that it doesn’t fit.
The processes involved in spare part prototyping are complex. However, the materials used may be cheaper for the sample than they are for the final model. The costs involved depend on the purpose of the prototype model and its intricacy.
What Is Part Prototyping?
Part prototyping is creating a model of a spare part to see how well it fits the equipment, in case you don’t already have all the necessary parameters at hand. Such an approach may be necessary when creating a spare part for a machine on which the old part is worn out, and a new one is no longer manufactured.
The lack of specifications for a new spare part leads to the necessity of creating a new one based on minimal information. Another situation in which spare part prototyping may be necessary is upgrading a machine. In these cases, simply replacing the part like-for-like may be more expensive than investing in an upgrade.
Two approaches to part prototyping are:
- A prototype model is built, tested and then polished as necessary until it fits the equipment perfectly.
- A prototype model is built out of cheap materials to evaluate the exact sizes of the necessary spare parts to serve as a sample for a final component.
How Much Does Part Prototyping Cost?
The most common part prototyping approach involves building the part from high-quality materials from scratch. In this case, the cost of the prototyping process depends on the materials used.
Another factor is the complexity of the spare part in question. Depending on its function, the complexity can vary greatly. Essentially, the more turning, milling, polishing, and hand finishing are required, the more costs are involved.
The third factor affecting prototype cost is the company doing the prototyping. A team of experienced technicians with the necessary tools at hand can complete the work faster, thus costing less than a team without access to these resources.
The cost of a prototype can vary from £100 to £100,000 and beyond. If you need a sample made using cheap materials and 3-D printing, the price of a prototype model won’t be as high. However, developing a complex spare part for an intricate machine can cost thousands of pounds.
Find Out More
At Woodley Engineering, we specialise in spare part prototyping for numerous industries, from pharmaceutical manufacturing to nuclear power. No matter how complicated your project, we have the experience and the equipment to complete it on time and within budget.
For more information about our services, please click here to claim a copy of our FREE Woodley Engineering Precision Engineering Guide.
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