If you are in the manufacturing business, achieving the goal of maximum efficiency must surely be an agenda for you. And why not, an efficient manufacturing process comes with a long list of benefits. It can not only help you save time and money, but it also helps in making the job simpler and hassle-free. The case is similar when it comes to manufacturing furniture and furniture prototyping is something we should take very seriously here. Working efficiently becomes all the more important as every piece that you build costs money.
Over the past few years, the furniture industry has evolved greatly. Specifically designed pieces are now high in demand. This kind of furniture requires in-depth concept styling, which makes it even more attractive. As these pieces can be customized according to the likes and needs of the customer it is imperative to keep innovating, that too in a productive manner. High costing products need an effective manufacturing process that can save time, money, and other resources involved in efficient working. So, having a pre-designed piece of a product like furniture will reduce the cases of manufacturing error.
This is where furniture prototyping comes into the picture. Furniture prototyping provides the manufacturers with the required precision as well as the speed which is needed to complete the process in the given time. So if you are in the furniture manufacturing industry or business, furniture prototyping is the way forward. If you haven’t explored the wonder that furniture prototyping is, read on.
What is furniture prototyping?
Prototyping comes from the word ‘prototype’ which is basically an original object which becomes the basis of other manufactured items and products. In simple words, it is a sample or a model that is built to test a product, a concept, or a process. Prototyping, therefore, is an integral part of the development of your furniture as it can be beneficial to thoroughly test a piece for reliability as well as functionality.
Furniture prototyping is a very calculated approach towards the development of the products. It plays a great role in the journey that starts from an idea and transforms itself into a functional product, which is further produced in large numbers. This process also helps the manufacturers to closely monitor the prototypes for their serviceability and strength. The prototype’s structural qualities are also verified and analyzed as per future needs.
Prototyping can be both virtual in the form of 3D designs or in the physical form. It can serve as the backbone of the structural aid for creating different furniture. They can also be used for marketing models or pre-production sales. The furniture prototype models are created with the help of a CAD drawing and 3D printing.
Virtual furniture prototyping is a much innovative idea where trained employees prepare the 3D design of different types of furniture. The clients can view this and place an order as per their requirements and preference.
On the other hand is the physical furniture prototyping, which is smaller in size compared to the final product or of almost equal size. This can be treated as a model or a sample. The basic motto of either of the versions is to let the clients realize the functionality and aesthetics of the furniture.
Virtual Furniture Prototype and Physical Furniture Prototype
Day by day furniture prototyping is gaining popular grounds, therefore, it is vital to know all about it before you decide to go for it. Your company’s outcome depends heavily on the type of prototyping used by your industry, i.e., physical or virtual. The following points will help you in making up your mind.
Virtual Furniture Prototype
Virtual furniture prototype, as the name suggests, allows you to view a virtual model of the final furniture product. These are the 3D designs that resemble exactly the final product. There are certain pros and cons of using this method of prototyping that you must consider before making up your mind.
Why opt for virtual furniture prototyping?
This innovative technology has a lot of strong points in its favor which is why the crowd is running towards it. It includes-
- No boundaries to build perfection
As there are no limitations to the number of corrections you put into 3D designs, you can prepare a perfect design even after a number of trials. Unlike a physical one, you don’t have to order a new one each time the prototype does not meet your or your client’s expectations.
- A smart choice
If something can be termed as reasonable yet smart, virtual furniture prototyping would be the one. Here, you pay less for a super glossy and perfectly finished 3D design which takes almost three times less time as compared to the physical design.
- Saves your ultimate profit
Every innovation is meant to cut the burden and cost of the user. To this, virtual furniture prototyping is no exception. Be it cutting the cost of wood, artisan, or maintenance cost, everything is saved using this easy method.
- Reach out to your customers with the correct presentation
Using virtual methods of furniture prototyping, you can mix and match different furniture in one frame and appeal to your customer. However, such processes can be a bit expensive, time-taking and hectic when working with physical prototyping of furniture.
- Win the race against your competitors
What are machines and technologies made for? To speed up your task, right? This is exactly what you can expect from a virtual furniture prototype as it presents the final image in very little time as compared to the physical wooden prototype.
Digital copies of the furniture are prepared in the very first approach. If it were not the case then the manufacturers have to wait for the physical model to arrive to continue the further process.
- Customization at your customer’s demand
You can easily prepare a few variations of every furniture prototype and present the one in front of your client as per her needs. This will have a better chance of your pitch being accepted and the client placing an order.
Cons of a virtual furniture prototyping
Despite the long list of pros, there are some possible backdrops of this process as well. Be mindful of them when making opting for virtual furniture prototyping-
- A client may prefer to touch than see only
With 3D designs, the customers cannot touch and feel the product which may force them to have a second thought.
- Reliability is a physical matter
A 3D prototype cannot let the customers know the exact functionality of the furniture. Hence, it can be a bit disappointing for some of them, especially the ones who are not adept at the virtual world.
Physical Furniture Prototyping
The physical prototype of furniture is a replica of the final furniture. It is always reliable and trustworthy for people to touch and acknowledge the functions of the furniture before buying. However, this method, too, has some pros and cons in its bucket.
Why go for physical furniture prototyping?
Let’s know what has kept artisans still so high in demand when it comes to furniture prototyping!
- Customers can touch and feel the furniture itself
Unlike the 3D design, with a physical prototype, the customers can touch check the functionality of the furniture on their own. With every angle, they can test and place a final satisfied order without worrying about how the final product will look!
- It shows the reality
With the physical design, the company won’t have to explain much to the artisans as they can clearly see the product. It makes it easier for them to build the exact copy of the prototype. However, 3D design may slightly differ from reality.
- Aesthetics hence proved
No matter how far innovations go, some cliché old fashion will always be in trend. Walking into a furniture studio to see the physical models of furniture, sitting on a sofa, opening a cabinet, feeling the texture, mentally placing it in your room, etc. are possible only when you see it right in front of you. It is a sign of aesthetics and luxury for the company.
What stops manufacturers to opt for physical prototypes?
- A costly affair
The wood used in any product proves to be costlier and the same goes for its prototype furniture. In some cases, the prototype costs more than the final model. Also, the charge of artisans is also not always easily affordable.
- A lengthy process
You cannot rely on this process if you want a quick design because it can take up to a month or more to prepare a prototype of some furniture.
- Maintenance cost
Unlike 3D designs of furniture, the physical designs need to be preserved and maintained properly as they are prone to wear and tear. You will have to get a whole new set produced if the current one is lost.
- You can lag in a variety of designs and colors
As physical models are costlier, it may limit your financial capabilities to produce more and more options. So, you might fall short in presenting the maximum possible choices in color and design to the customers.
Why do you need furniture prototyping?
If you are still wondering if furniture prototyping would be suitable for you and your business, read on to find what other benefits it would bring to you. To stay strong and be a competition for others in the market, you must welcome all the possible new innovative approaches. Even with the case of a furniture manufacturing unit, it is vital to stay up to date with new methods and technologies. Furniture prototyping is one of them. The points which might help you to consider furniture prototyping are-
First of all, furniture prototyping is not cost-prohibitive which makes it even more usable. It requires an initial investment to carry out the procedure of prototyping, but then the costs of the following steps gradually decrease. The cost reduction is quite evident as it cuts out the overall cost of the process. Be it physical or the virtual model, your customers can easily suggest the changes that they want in their final furniture item. Hence, you can easily prepare a good piece in one go rather than making changes in the final furniture. With 3D models, the process has become even easier as the cost required to change a 3D model is way too less and the changes are easy to perform on it. As soon as the changes are made and the model resembles the exact piece required, the customers can finalize the model.
- Fast production of goods
Using a fast prototyping solution for any new furniture unit will save a lot of your time throughout the process. This can be easily felt as a slight change in a physical unit takes a week time which increases the timeline of the whole product. This directly affects the manufacturers. You are just a click away from changing the design of the model which in turn saves a lot of time. The changes made are straightforward and help in finding the required design. Not only the structure can be changed, but also the fabric, colour, and even the materials can be changed with the help of a prototype. Physical models also work on the same phenomena this is why prototyping has become the requirement of the age.
- Innovations are always welcomed
This option allows a whole lot of creativity. If experiments were to be done on physical units, then it will mostly result out to be a costly affair for the company. This method is pocket-friendly as well as easy to use. You have a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to accessing materials, colours, and shapes. The requirement of new concepts is already favourable as furniture showrooms don’t have every similar piece in stock. There are times when the designing team has a great idea, but is unable to express it on paper, here the prototyping method will come in very handy as it can eliminate the communication barrier between the designing team and the manufacturing team.
- Avoiding expensive mistakes
Designing comes with an inevitable part known as mistakes. You cannot avoid mistakes when you are designing these kinds of stuff. For example, a table designed might be having dimension issues or colour issues when compared with the practical situation. A chair designed might be having flaws in the support. All these conditions directly affect the quality of the product and the reputation of the manufacturers. None of the manufacturers has in mind that they have to make dangerous furniture or stop their production work due to an error. With the help of furniture prototyping, all these errors and mistakes can be easily dodged. The designing team can analyse the model with the help of a software or a physical model. The manufacturing part is among the most expensive stages. It is far better to get the items rectified in their digital or physical model form. This will not only speed up the process, but will also keep the company ahead of its competition.Avoiding mistakes and increasing the production efficiency of your manufacturing plant will help you to get your products to the showroom before any other company. The pre-designed sets also limit the options of the client which is helpful in kicking out the mess in finalizing the designs.
- 3D printed prototypes- Another costly affair in this process is preparing a model to showcase to the customer. The 3D-designed prototypes as we know can be printed. They can be easily used to show the clients or can be used by test groups. It not only looks aesthetic and innovative but the customers can also easily have a look of all the sides of the furniture in one go. Also, you can make any design available to the client by printing such designs in a few clicks.
Furniture prototyping is one of the best things for any manufacturer to include in their daily business. Utilizing the obtained virtual or physical model of the furniture, the companies can check the products quickly and efficiently. The market is full of competition, therefore, companies should be avoiding mistakes and cost-cutting wherever and whenever it is possible. Furniture prototyping is the best way to cater to all such business requirements.
If you want to run your furniture business without any unwanted obstacles, then you must include 3D designs and physical models of furniture. This will be an excellent step towards your success. Not only in the furniture business but furniture models also help different industries to grow in the most efficient way possible.