The Toolless Prototype Process.
The first step is to make contact with our Sales Team. They will gather as much information about your project as possible. This can be as extensive as a detailed model or drawings you may already have or as simple as describing the concept you have in mind. If you check our website you will see our “EB100” and “EB200” style enclosures (EB is for Easy Box). If you like one of these styles then all we need to determine is the size of the enclosure and any special features you require. The Sales Team will also assist in selecting the best material for your project. The more information provided at this stage, the more accurate the quote. The quote given for the prototype will not change throughout the prototype process, however, if there are significant changes to the design, the quote for a production run may be different than the original quote.
Once you have decided this is the way you want to go – the project gets presented to the Design Engineer Team. Using available information a 3D model is made. We normally approach the design one of two ways. If you know the style and dimensions of your enclosure and how everything will work we can make a 3D to match your request. If you have sent a 3D model to us we will use it to make our model. Even with a very good, detailed customer 3D model, we will have to create a model of our own because we must model to match our production process, milling limitations or advantages, and how the enclosure will be assembly. You will receive a detailed model which will include all the slots, feeders, grooves, etc we need to include for manufacturing and assembly.
The second approach is taken if you have an idea of what you need, but are not sure of the design. In this case we will create a simpler model to give you a good idea of where it is going. This gives you a chance to look at a design and make corrections. This would only be a concept and we can make changes as you require. Once we have the idea settled then the more detailed drawing will follow.
Whichever approach is taken there will be as much coordination as needed to get a good 3D model approved. We use Solidworks, but can generate files in several different formats. We can make mechanical drawing, but the ability to view a 3D model is better.
Once a 3D model is approved by you, the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) programing begins. Remember all parts start as a flat piece of plastic. We create a 2 dimensional image by flattening the part and develop a process plan to cover all aspects of the manufacturing process.
Once the parts are programmed the Manufacturing Plan is printed for the shop and manufacturing begins. Our dedicated operators run our CNC machines, saws, benders, gluing, and printing machines. It will start with the CNC machines which use a variety of bit types to produce the cutouts, recess, slots, etc. Then the parts proceed to the following stations as required: saw, printing, bending, and assembly. Parts are measured and compared to the manufacturing plan throughout the process.
Once the prototype is assembled we do a final quality check. If you have sent components we can ensure they fit as required. If minor adjustments need to be made we make them here before the prototype is shipped.
Once you receive the prototype we appreciate any feedback you can provide. With most prototypes there are going to be things which will need to be adjusted. If there are only minor changes we can easily update the CNC program/process plan and proceed with a production order.
If however there are major changes (material thickness change, significant overall dimensions, etc) we would prefer to make a second prototype.
Until Next Time,