• December 14, 2023

From Prototype to Production: We Match Your Need for Speed

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Fans of the original Top Gun movie will likely recall one its memorable lines when Maverick tells Goose, “I feel the need, the need for speed!” While our customers in the aerospace, defense, and space exploration markets are engineers, not pilots, the intense pressure to meet their project deadlines can feel like some serious G forces weighing on them. When time is of the essence, one of the biggest challenges is getting protype parts in their hands quickly, and it’s where we shine.

We’ve become experts at prototyping parts because we know what our customers are up against. It’s truly a space race, and we’re in it together. Whether it’s to the moon, or Mars, or wherever their imaginations can take them, whoever can get all their parts in and assembled first will be the winner.

With launch dates and millions of dollars on the line, speed is often the top priority for prototype parts, often even more important than cost. Through our work with some of the world’s most innovative manufacturers, we’ve developed processes that allow us to turn prototype parts—from initial PO to delivery—in 3-5 days. For example, if a purchase order arrives on Monday, we can order materials, machine the parts, and have it delivered by Thursday or Friday. And because of process and experience in this environment, we’re able to scale up to full production as soon as necessary.

Shifting from Prototype to Production

Every job that runs on our machines, whether it’s one or two pieces to hundreds, gets set up and run in a production setting like every part we make. As the first prototype parts are machined, we save all the data in the system with upfront costs, upfront engineering and programming so that everything is ready to go if we get the go ahead to shift to full production on the part.

The cellular arrangement and uniformity of our equipment means we don't need a “hot rush parts” area of our shop. All our machines can handle rush parts while also being ready for production.

Design for Manufacturing Review Supports Engineering and Budgeting

When we do run prototype parts, our design for manufacturing review helps eliminate issues upfront—such as tolerances that are too tight or a feature that can't be produced. We then work with the engineering team to offer alternatives and create a revised drawing.

Like the engineer team learns more about a prototype part once it’s actually in-hand, we learn more about the part when machining it. We will present the pricing with the current design, but also look for areas where possible design changes can reduce cost or time requirements. In some cases, changes can be made and in others, it cannot. By already being in a production setting we're able to be open and transparent with the customer about future production costs as soon as we get the samples done. This helps tremendously with a customer’s r budgeting process.

With so much on the line in the pursuit of space, everything we do here behind the scenes is to be as lean as possible and eliminate any wasted effort. If you need a partner in your battle against the clock, please let us know.