Making a prototype is a crucial stage in creating a new product. A prototype is a detailed representation of the finished product. A crucial step between design and production is having a prototype produced for your product.
Prior to starting mass manufacturing, testing and design validation are beneficial. A 3D model makes the vision of designers a reality. Building a prototype is difficult, enjoyable, and satisfying. You may require a product concept to present to investors and start your Kickstarter campaign.
Prior to manufacture, any prototypes made in China are crucial for effective production and marketing of the new product. In China, there are numerous processes involved in the entire product development process, from the prototype to production. A prototype should be created in between your design and production stages.
It is not difficult to find a prototype manufacturer in China if you know what to do. You must have comprehensive, production-ready documentation as well as a skilled China sourcing agent who can locate the ideal facility fast, work out a deal, and examine the order before shipping.
Here are some suggestions to help you get prototypes made in China if you are seeking manufacturers there.
1. Create your concept sketch
It is important that you put your ideas on paper. In order to present your ideas to others, the first step will involve creating sketches of your product concept. These sketches can be handwritten or can be made using digital tools. This is the very important step for any new product manufacturing. It is also crucial for fund raising.
2. Make a virtual prototype
The computer record of the prototype is also included in your technical planning. Before a prototype can be made and tested, you need to make sure it is effective in accordance with rules, and a technical design for the product is required.
For the production stage, you will need to create a digital drawing of your idea in 2D or 3D. If you are unfamiliar with this, a skilled graphic designer or prototype designer might be able to help you.
3. Build a physical prototype
The manufacturer will require this for marketing as well as the fabrication of your items. Your first prototype could either be a hand-made or perhaps 3D-printed miniature version of your product.
Many manufacturers make the mistake of not developing prototypes before going ahead with mass production. It can be a very costly error, and could lead to manufacturing of defective products. Also, prototyping can end up in cost savings as it will often generate a new idea for more efficient methods for production.
Before applying for a patent or moving on to the manufacturing stage, make sure your prototype is error-free and functional. You must locate a business in China that excels at engineering and prototyping produces high-quality work and is within your price range.
You might have to update several times. The pattern must be updated whenever the product is modified. Before you launch your new version in the market, one, two, or more final prototypes needs to be ready.
4. Create your patent
Be sure to safeguard your design. Make sure your prototype is accurate to your design and at the quality you desire. It is very important to do a certain patent or trademark search or getting in touch with a certain patent attorney in case there is a concern about violation of patent rights or your trademark.
To avoid patent customs officials seizing your shipment, make sure that you do not violate a patent while importing goods.
5. Do market research
Once the prototype is ready, the next task it to conduct market research for testing the functional sample. Understanding the customers’ desires is the goal of market research.
Show as many potential buyers your prototype as you can, and ask them to give their honest feedback on the product's quality, functionality, potential selling price, design, and packaging.
Your market study must help you appreciate potential manufacturing, packaging, and also pricing options for your product. Proper understanding of the customers that you want to target is very important.
6. Package design
You must include a study of your packaging design of the product in your market research as it is very important. In China, it is not a hard job to do package sourcing for your custom product.
However, instead of having the design produced in China, we will suggest that you use a certain local graphic designer. There are numerous reputable businesses that produce top-notch packaging designs.
7. Business plan
It is very important that you must develop your business plan before you open your doors for business. You can understand the entire cost of the new firm with the help of a good business plan.
There are 2 major factors that can contribute to any start-up failure and that are poor planning and also lack of funding. Think beforehand, seek advice from experts and prepare in advance to avoid any glitch.
8. Production after prototype
You are now prepared to order the production of your goods. Look for a reliable manufacturer in China and request a free price quote for the finished, packaged item that includes shipping to your nation.
A business may require the following in order to create a cost estimate for the production process:
An engineer's final technical drawing or a prototype for the finished version of your product
The most frequent mistake that companies make while prototypes made in China has nothing to do with the Chinese manufacturer they selected. Instead, it is a failure to have a complete set of engineer's drawings for every component of their product that has been prototype tested and are ready for manufacture.
Going to a factory in China to have your product made without clear drawings is like playing Russian roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber. There is a good risk it will go off in your face.
You must have collaborated with an engineer to generate the necessary drawings, tested those drawings by building a working prototype of your invention, and then made the necessary revisions to the drawings to make them final.
Importance of specifications and product drawings
It is in your best interest to ensure that every detail, including all measurements, tolerances, finish specifications, materials, and packaging, is shown in the engineer's drawings when having products manufactured in China.
A Chinese manufacturer will utilise whatever is most readily accessible to them (and likely the cheapest) if you don't specify the materials you want in advance, which increases the likelihood that you will obtain low-quality components and be unhappy with the outcome.
You will need a comprehensive, documented set of impartial requirements for your product that you can use to hold the factory responsible. The Chinese factory must repair the parts or pay you if they manufacture the product using materials other than those specified in your drawings or if the specifications are off.
Of course, if the item you wish to make in China is something straightforward, a sample will do and no designs are required.
Don’t forget about packaging
Don't forget to specify the packaging you need. The factory would require graphic files, ideally in pdf and ai (Adobe Illustrator) files, if you wanted custom packaging manufactured. To produce the artwork and package design, you should collaborate with a skilled graphic artist.
How to locate the right Chinese manufacturer?
Finding the right factory in China for your project is the responsibility of your sourcing company once they have your drawings and/or prototype.
Forming and sustaining partnerships in China can be challenging due to the country's different business culture from the US. Consequently, you must locate a certain sourcing firm in China that can assist you.
Next steps to manufacturing in China
Never pay a 100% deposit upfront for any orders coming from China if demanded, once you have found a Chinese supplier, especially if new moulds are required. That is typically a terrible sign that there might be an issue at the other end, such as a cash flow issue at the factory or an intention to steal your money and flee.
Make sure to properly test the production samples for fit, function, and finish after you have received them. It is crucial that you properly inspect the sample for any defects because what you see is what you will receive in production.
Following your approval of the sample, the remaining 50% of the moulds or tooling and a 30% deposit for the production run of parts would be transmitted to China.
In addition to the factory's internal quality inspection procedures, you must do a general check of your order once the manufacturing run is prepared.
For an additional cost, you can also use the services of an unbiased, 3rd party inspection company to check the shipment. You would receive a comprehensive written report from the inspection company that would include images.
We do hope that by reading the above you have got a flavour of making prototypes made in China to a certain extent. You can find several companies in China that will be ready to make a prototype for you.
However, you will need a support of a certain sourcing company in China that is familiar with the language and culture of China. You may get lost or it may take a lot of time if you prefer to go on your own.