Rapid prototyping is a process of fast product manufacturing. Rapid prototyping helps produce the first product version quickly, save money on tooling, get initial customer feedback and understand what needs improvement or refinement.
Clients turn to us to design ergonomic products with an appearance that evokes positive emotions for the user. Prototypes provide more information about how the product interacts with the outside world than renders or 3D models. Prototypes either confirm or deny technical solutions and hypotheses of designers and engineers. Using mass production methods for the first prototype can bankrupt a project because of the high costs of any adjustments.
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is the premier technology for rapid prototyping companies. EnCata uses FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) and SLA (Stereolithography) technologies. In-house 3D printers, experience in polishing and painting allows us to get great results quickly. Our technologists will adapt the CAD model to use proper 3D-printing technology in your project. Therefore, it will be more cost-effective than designing and manufacturing mass production tools. We also use vacuum forming and silicone molding for rapid prototyping. These methods are not as fast as 3D-printing rapid prototyping but can save time and budget when producing a small batch of devices.
We act as your extended R&D team which is faster than hiring engineers locally. The breadth of our technical expertise is unique.
Our dedicated team is ready to scale up quickly. We utilize AGILE lean development process that leads to 30-50% faster delivery.
Our development location enables us to be cost-effective and deliver premium R&D and engineering services at 1/3 of the price compared to that of in N-W Europe and USA.
Our team is highly experienced in working with prototypes. Besides additive manufacturing, vacuum forming, and silicone molding, we use CNC-milling or hand-operated aluminum injection molds at our production facilities.
These manufacturing processes can not be attributed to the classic rapid prototyping technologies. Nevertheless, they still give the desired result quickly and are more cost-effective than developing full-fledged injection molds.
Rapid prototyping is used to validate industrial product design solutions. The prototype will give considerably more information than the model on а screen. Despite this, it is better to focus on mass production technologies when creating an industrial design. Not all 3D printed prototypes can be produced in thousands of units. Mostly, rapid prototyping companies use 3D printing to produce only small batches. If you are interested in a large batch of the product and close to the final version, it makes sense to take a closer look at product prototyping using technologies close to mass production.
Rapid prototyping technologies allow us to quickly model and create an enclosure for electronics components. It is important for products where the users are constantly interacting with the device. If the finishing is done well, users might not even notice that they are holding a prototype in their hands. In cases where the primary enclosure function is to protect products like industrial devices, it is wise to use standard off-the-shelve enclosures. Thus you will save your money on design and launch into mass production.
Mostly, engineers do not have the necessary data to begin a new product development process. However, you can quickly test technical decisions for the ergonomics and the assembly ability using rapid prototyping methods. Unfortunately, the mechanical properties of prototypes, made by rapid prototyping methods, are very different from the real materials that the producer will use in the finished products.
The use of Arduino and Raspberry Pi can be attributed to rapid prototyping methods in electronics. It is possible to make something functional in just a couple of days. Unfortunately, the product team cannot use these prototypes as a base for subsequent development stages. Printed Circuit Boards will have to be redesigned to achieve low costs and operation stability. The firmware may remain unchanged.
The use of rapid prototyping allows you to get new information about the object of research much faster when testing hypotheses and searching for non-standard solutions. It is also possible to produce various non-standard tools for testing products using rapid prototyping methods. However, companies specializing in rapid prototyping will use these tools only once.
Rapid prototyping technologies reduce the budget and time for obtaining the first sample of the product. The development and manufacture of high-quality molds are expensive and time-consuming. Rapid prototyping reduces the risks of subsequent mass production but does not avoid investment in the development of molds.
We work on prototypes a lot. Sometimes our clients and their customers expect more from the appearance of the 3D printed prototypes. Right emotions are especially critical for consumer electronics and medical devices. Since we have our manufacturing facility, we use CNC milling or aluminum molds to produce beautiful enclosures and other plastic parts. These prototyping processes involve metalwork and can not be attributed to classical, rapid prototyping technologies. Still, they allow us to provide the desired result quickly and much cheaper instead of developing full-fledged molds.
In the case of CNC milling, we use engineering plastics similar in properties to ones that will be used in mass production. Our technologists create a CNC machining program based on the 3D model and design additional jigs and fixtures needed to manufacture the product parts. CNC machining as rapid prototyping is a long and expensive process, but investment in such a prototype will be less than manufacturing molds or other technological toolings for mass production. We have three types of milling machines at our manufacturing site: 3-axis, 3+2, and full 5-axis. We can work with steel, aluminum, polyamide, fluoroplastics, high molecular weight polyethylene, polycarbonate, plywood, foamed plastics, sheet plastics, and cardboard.
Sometimes milling can not be used because of the design of the product parts, or sometimes the Client needs not one but several prototypes. In such cases, we offer to produce "fast" aluminum molds. Such molds are designed to minimize the cost of manufacturing. Their wear resistance is designed for manufacturing 50-1000 prototype parts. In this case, we use a standard load-bearing plate package designed for our injection molding machine.
We focus on the entire product/service lifecycle, from concept to implementation to market launch. EnCata’s knowledge, resources and innovation development expertise allow our Clients to develop and expand their businesses faster and leaner.
EnCata can provide your startup with the end-to-end product development service in both hardware and software domains coupled with the outstanding inhouse prototyping facilities.
Turn to EnCata if you need our premimum consultancy services (concept review, design / CAD review or advice on software architecture code you produced) only when our advice is needed.
Come to EnCata with your CAD to produce parts for your prototype in EnCata. Assemble and test your prototype at our MakeIT Center fablab - we don't charge for the access!
Work that highlights the incredible technologies, solutions, and products EnCata developed.
Our hardware engineers are focus on the entire product/service lifecycle, from concept to implementation to market launch. EnCata’s knowledge, resources and innovation development expertise allow our Clients to develop and expand their businesses faster and leaner.
When working with our clients we sign a contract where all the intellectual property to be generated during the R&D and engineering development belongs to the customer.
Yes. As a highly professional design and engineering firm, we make sure that all discussions with our clients and all information regarding your invention, idea and other proprietary information are kept confidential.
Aside from being a reputable company which does not steal ideas, EnCata's entire business model is based on delivering premium R&D, design and industrial prototyping services to our clients. As soon as we stole one client’s idea, our entire business would be ruined. Also, as we are not contract manufacturers (OEM or ODM), we wouldn’t be able to benefit from a stolen idea even if we wanted to. This is definitely not a worry for our clients.
We follow a LEAN approach in product and business development and thus we strongly recommend patent filings only after you are at least part-way through development. This is because patenting is expensive and early patents can already become obsolete or irrelevant later in the development phase. Typically, EnCata's work generates many patentable opportunities for our clients and the best strategy is to file patents at TRL-7, i.e. when early beta prototype is ready and when a startup is ready to start batch production and marketing.
There is, however, another strategy, which is to use provisional patents which can be loose and are not to be disclosed to the public for 18 months. These are much less expensive and time consuming, generally costing below $500. EnCata will always sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement and keep your intellectual property confidential during the development phase and then we can recommend several third-party patent attorneys when the time is right.
Whether you need to validate, evaluate or review your design, concept, 3D model, BOM or drawings, our experienced manufacturing, mechanical and electronics engineers are ready to help.
EnCata’s engineering consultancy service will allow you to critically reassess your project and help reach your goals while keeping the process cost-effective. To read more about the TRL and learn why it is useful, please procees to our blog.
EnCata develops integrated Hardware and Software solutions for a variety of industries. We are engaged in multiple domains like IoT, robotics, medTech and IoMT, aerospace, agriculture, consumer products and many others. It is possible to work with such a wide variety of industries because we have multidomain expertise and utilize a cross-disciplinary product development approach.
Generally speaking, we do not allow clients to work on EnCata's manufacturing premises.
What does work, however, is that EnCata can manufacture prototype parts and the startup team can assemble thea prototype in our MakeIT Center hackerspace. Alternatively, the startup can design and build the prototype themselves in our hackerspace. We operate this free-access space in Minsk and we are currently working on expanding a hackerspace network worldwide.