Pick the Best Prototype Process (Not the Cheapest One)

Designers always want to save time and money during prototyping, but “cheapest and fastest” is usually not the best option. The top prototyping methods—stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), urethane cast, soft tooling, and hard tooling—all have their advantages and disadvantages. What must be considered is how the prototype will be used and what the production goals are, especially if you are making a tight-tolerance part that’s critical to the function of a product or system or if it is something that requires a plastic overmolding.
These additive manufacturing technologies are ideal for rapid prototyping. Guided by a CAD pattern, SLA uses an ultraviolet laser to build a solid part by solidifying and accreting individual layers of photopolymer resin. Although SLA is relatively fast, there are size limitations and photo-curable resins can be expensive. SLS is similar to SLA except that a carbon-dioxide laser fuses together thin layers of powdered metal, plastic, glass, or ceramic to construct a solid product. Compared to SLA, SLS can make prototypes from more materials that may have properties closer to production-intent materials. Even though materials options have increased over the years, SLA and SLS are not yet production intent.
Urethane Cast/Mold
This low-volume production method utilizes polyurethane plastic materials to produce prototypes that can be finished to look like hard-tooled plastic parts. However, material choices are limited and may not deliver the same qualities that preferred production plastics can. Urethane cast/mold can be a cost-effective method of prototyping if there is a need for a higher quantity of parts at the fitment or proof-of-concept stage. Overall the process is fairly limited and becoming less common in the industry.
Soft Tooling
This process provides relatively cheap tooling, a high number of parts, and may also allow for use of the intended production material. Soft tooling is usually built with aluminum cores and cavities and samples can be turned around in a few weeks. This may be an option for early prototype builds if the parts are simple, tolerances are loose, and function and fitment are not critical requirements.
Hard Tooling
For engineered parts with tight tolerances, testing requirements, and an intention for functional use, hard tooling is usually the best option. The up-front cost is more expensive and the lead time is longer; however, hard tooling will likely save both time and money down the road. It will guarantee the ability to use production-intent resin and can accommodate design and dimensional changes after the parts have been sampled. Hard tooling also provides the opportunity for process development and verification early in the program timeline. It’s also a good choice for supplying several hundred thousand parts, bridging the gap from prototype to production.
Understanding what you need is important when considering which prototyping method to select. Cutting costs during the development stage by opting for the least expensive prototyping option generally doesn’t save the money over the long term—be sure to evaluate lifecycle costs as well. (Source: Medical Injection Molding by Kaysun)

What is Cloud Acceleration?

As businesses increasingly move to “the cloud,” unfamiliar terms appear. One of these terms is “cloud acceleration.” In order to better understand cloud and IP acceleration, let’s first look at a similar concept: content delivery networks (Source: IP Acceleration by Aryaka).
A content delivery network, or CDN, is a large network of servers located around the world designed to distribute content to users in a highly efficient, fast manner. For example, popular websites and blogs with users located around the globe need a fast and efficient way to deliver content – even if users are located tens of thousands of miles away. Since the time it takes to deliver data between a server and an end user is influenced by geographic differences, having servers located in data centers around the world can bridge those distances and improve performance and availability. Each server contains its own cached version of the content and can quickly deliver it to local users.
Cloud acceleration has a similar goal: to deliver content to end users as quickly as possible. While content delivery networks can do this, they are generally limited to delivering static content such as webpages, images, and videos. It is not practical for CDNs to deliver constantly changing content such software as a service (SAAS), cloud-based applications, and SharePoint data. With dynamic data, a content delivery network can’t keep up with the changes.
Instead of relying on a distributed system of servers, cloud acceleration improves dynamic content delivery by improving the efficiency of the delivery path upon which the data must travel between the IP source and the end-user. A form of IP acceleration is used to decrease duplicate data within the transmission. By optimizing the TCP protocol and eliminating duplication within the transmission, the dynamic content can move more quickly through the path to and from the end user.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...