Below we list a fairly standard sequence of steps that you will probably have to go through in the course of designing and making a new product.You can use it as a checklist to make sure you don’t overlook some vital step when planning the work, or when it has begun.
Step 1: Product Concept
This consists of basic sketches around your product idea. So ask yourself -what is your product and how is your product going to be used?
Step 2: Research
It is vital to research the current markets and demands. So you need to find out what is already on the market what is similar to your product idea? If there is a similar product, how is yours going to be better?
Step 3: Product design development
Using the information you have gathered from your research you can now develop your product designs. When you are designing your product need to answer the following questions:
- What is the function of my product?
- Will my product be able to withstand use?
- Will the manufacturing process be easy to produce the final product? Does it contain multiple parts?
- Will the process be cost effective? Can you still make profit after manufacturing your product?
- Do you want your product to be of a high quality?
- Can your product be maintained or will it break after one use?
- Which material will your product be made from? This will depend on the use and the forces your product is expected to withstand.
Step 4: Research and development of the final design
This is the final tweaks to your drawings with dimensions and material selection so when you progress to step 5 you have a detailed drawing to work from.
Step 5: 3D model
Using 3D modelling software (CAD – computer aided design) you will get a computerised 3D model of your final product design. These designs will often highlight problem areas where the theoretical stresses and strains on the product will be shown. If there are problems now is a good time to address the design faults and revisit step 4.
Step 6: Prototype
A prototype of your design will be created using computer aided engineering systems.
Step 7: Prototype Testing
This is the point where you may have to go back to the drawing board when you test your prototype. Be critical – will your product function properly? If your product isn’t right, go back to Step 3 and re-develop your designs.
Step 8: Manufacturing
Once you are happy with your product prototype you can then manufacture your product! Manufacturing costs depend on complexity of your product, if there are multiple components, material selection, low batch product or high batch numbers. These factors need to be considered to ensure you will make a healthy profit on your end product.
Step 9: Assembly
The assembly of your product is vital – It is recommended that your product should have the minimum number of joins; this will not only spend up manufacture and reduce manufacturing costs it also makes assembly of your product quicker. So the overall costs of your product will be considerably less than a complex product.
Step 10: Feedback and testing
Test your final product with family, friends and focus groups. Again it is important to be critical of your product and listen to the feedback you get back from other people. This will help with any further product development.
Step 11: Product development
If your testing and feedback have highlight areas that need improvement, you will need to revisit your product development – most manufacturing companies would have flagged up obvious issues before you get to this stage so at this point you are just tweaking or you might be skipping straight to Step 12.
Step 12: Final Product
You now have your final product so you need to focus on your marketing campaign and how you are going to sell your product. Remember, the more you sell, the larger the manufacturing batches, the lower the cost of manufacture means more profits!