Accelerating Automotive Product Development

CreateProto are focusing on automotive prototyping as a complete service which has allowed us to expand our knowledge and experience in this area. No matter from proof of concept design to mechanical component engineering test, or from exterior lighting prototypes to interior component prototypes, we are able to support at all levels.

Conquer ever-shortening product development cycles and create supply chain flexibility with rapid prototyping and low-volume production

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The automotive industry is evolving fast. As industry trends like autonomous driving, on-board connectivity, and hybrid/electric vehicles continue to drive innovation, agility-minded automotive companies are turning to CreateProto to accelerate new product development and get to market faster. With quick-turn digital manufacturing and automated manufacturability feedback, designers and engineers can mitigate design and cost risks while developing a more responsive supply chain to better react to driver and passenger demand for more customized vehicles.


Rapid Prototyping Driving Automotive Innovation

Prototyping Accelerates Automotive Development Steps

The automotive industry is a complex and huge industry, faced with market pressures it requires frequent design iterations and new design development. However, the automotive design and development cycle is a long process, so fast and efficient prototyping is a must-have bridge for it. Automotive prototype represents an important step in the validation process between the initial product design and final production run.

In fact, automotive prototyping not only plays a vital role during the design verification process, but also ensures that parts are manufactured with the best suitable material, and evaluates the manufacturing process.

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Automotive prototypes are integral parts of the entire automotive engineering process that allow engineers to figure out how to make new automotive products appeal to consumers, to communicate ideas to stakeholders and project teams more quickly and efficiently, and to prove the value of a design to potential investors and customers.

In actuality, automotive prototype manufacturing always runs through the entire stage of the automotive design and development cycle, including the proof of concept, the visualizations of CAD digital model, the structure and performance verification, function and engineering test, and even for manufacturing and production process validation.

Automotive Concept Prototype and CAD Digital Model

During the concept design and 3D CAD modeling phase, automotive designers realize ideas to real objects by creating scale prototypes in the form of clay modeling. It can provide them deliberated basis in the stage of concept design. Later reverse engineering techniques will be used for scanning the model to get the CAD models and to optimal the design.

This back and forth conversation between design and automotive prototype creates an iterative process where each tool reveals new opportunities and problems to explore and further refine, and helps designers to better understand user experience. This works both externally - presenting to clients and stakeholders - and internally - in collaborating more deeply with your team, or rallying them to support a new idea.

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The Structure and Function Verification for Automotive

Once a concept design has been validated, engineering design stage requires a more refined prototype to determine the usability of the product and to smooth any design challenges.

Automotive engineers sometimes refer to this as the “mule stage.” During this stage, engineers will create a series of automotive functional prototypes, and place the prototype products in the existing automobiles. According to the development of different models and the use of the mule, the prototype is usually used for form fit check of the component space and the initial performance data collection of the automobile.

This strategy allows them to see how the automotive prototype will fit in the vehicle and interact with the other parts, and help evaluate design, materials, strength, tolerances, assembly, working mechanisms, and manufacturability.

Engineering Testing and Pre-production Verification

Before an automotive part goes into production, engineers will create low-volume engineering test prototypes and pre-production components that simulate the final product, and quickly iterate their designs according to actual testing and feedback to meet the required performance, verification, testing, certification and quality requirements.

Automotive prototype is vital for safety testing. The prototype vehicles loaded with the test part are placed through different scenarios and subjected to extreme conditions to identify any problems that could hamper the use of the product or cause serious safety concerns to consumers.

Meanwhile, creating low-volume production components for new automotive product pilot runs allow engineers to spot possible production problems as well as determine the most cost-effective manufacturing processes.

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What Materials Work Best for Automotive Applications?

Thermoplastics. Choose from hundreds of thermoplastics including PEEK, acetal, or supply your own material. Maintain branding with custom colorant for qualified projects.

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Liquid Silicone Rubber. Silicone rubber materials such as fuel-resistant fluorosilicone can be used for gaskets, seals, and tubing. An optical clarity silicone rubber is also available for lens and lighting applications.

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Nylons. 3D print functional prototypes in several nylon materials available through selective laser sintering and Multi Jet Fusion. Mineral- and glass-filled nylons improve mechanical properties when needed.

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Aluminum. This all-purpose metal used for light-weighting provides excellent strength-to-weight ratio and can be machined or 3D printed.

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Why CreateProto for Automotive Development?

Rapid Prototyping

Mitigate design risk through rapid iteration and prototyping in production materials without sacrificing development speed.

Supply Chain Flexibility

Get on-demand support for line-down emergencies, part recalls, or other supply chain disturbances in your production plants by using automated quoting, rapid tooling, and low-volume production parts.

Quality Inspections

Validate part geometry with several quality documentation options. Digital inspection, PPAP, and FAI reporting are available.

 

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Mass Customization

Implement low-volume manufacturing to enable more diverse and customized automotive features that are tailored to modern drivers.

Tooling and Fixtures

Improve manufacturing processes to create greater automation and streamlined component assembly with custom fixturing.

CreateProto’s Automotive Prototyping Technology At Every Point In Your Process

With more than 10 years of engineering and prototyping expertise, CreateProto thrives in technically challenging projects for automotive prototype engineering. We do strive to be your best full service product development partner in the automotive industry. We specialize in a variety of automotive prototyping developments and rapid manufacturing technology, providing CNC machining, 3D printing, vacuum casting, rapid aluminum tooling, low volume injection molding, and sheet metal processing, which maintain a competitive edge with innovative service and highly skilled workforce. We’ll work together – and with you – throughout every step of the automotive design and development process.

From full interior mock-up which include dashboards, consoles, door panels and pillars to exterior components such as bumper, grilles, headlights and taillights lighting prototypes, our team relies on its advanced machining process portfolio, and blending these with surface finishing operations, traditional hand skills, and in-depth know-how to support at all levels for the auto industry.

Our biggest asset is our customer base which has grown rapidly through customer’s word-of-mouth around the world. We are proud and honored to provide comprehensive prototype manufacturing solutions for some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers and tier one suppliers, such as BMW, Bentley, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda. Our goal is to exceed customer expectations and help them succeed in the marketplace.

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COMMON AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS
Our digital manufacturing capabilities accelerate the development of a range of metal and plastic automotive components. A few of common automotive applications include:

  • Assembly line components
  • Fixtures
  • Enclosures and housings
  • Plastic dash components
  • Aftermarket parts
  • Armatures
  • Lenses and lighting features
  • Support for on-board consumer electronics
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-Automakers:  these days want more features packed into smaller packages. That's our challenge, stuffing all that functionality into that little package.

JASON SMITH, DESIGNER, BODY CONTROL SYSTEMS GROUP