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Rapid Prototyping: An Approach Beyond Manufacturing Technology

: Steger, W.; Wagner, J.

Rix, J.; Haas, S.; Teixeira, J. ; International Federation for Information Processing -IFIP-, Working Group 5.10 Computer Graphics:
Virtual Prototyping. Virtual environments and the product design process
London: Chapman and Hall, 1995
ISBN: 0-412-72160-0
Workshop on Virtual Environments and Their Applications and Virtual Prototyping <1994, Providence/Rhode Island>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IPA ()
Fertigung; Fertigungsorganisation; Fertigungstechnik; IAO; Produktionstechnologie; Rapid Prototyping

This paper defines Rapid Prototyping as a new approach to reducing cycle times in product development, thus going beyond the view of Rapid Prototyping as a collective term only for the class of new, generative manufacturing technologies. In particular, the use of different categories of prototypes for the development of new products, and the organizational impact of Rapid Prototyping are shown to form a holistic framework for evolutionary product development. Depending on the extent to which the organizational principle of Rapid Prototyping is implemented, and depending on the individual utilization of specific prototypes, there may be a tremendous benefit in terms of the factors time, quality, and costs of the entire process. Furthermore, these benefits are not only due to the availability of physical prototypes. In all areas where virtual prototypes can provide answers to the core questions of a development process in the same manner as their physical counterparts, virtual prototypes perform at least as well (e.g., through reduced building time or cost reductions). Before the influence of prototypes on the development process is discussed, there will be some general remarks on classes of prototypes and purposes they are used for. The need for a new organisational form is then derived from the requirements of designing, manufacturing, and evaluating the described prototypes, with cooperation and the respective enabling technologies turning out to be the essentials to the success of Rapid Prototyping in product development.