Key Considerations for Custom Prototype Manufacturing: Materials, Process, and Development > ENGINEERING.com

YPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd”> In today’s competitive markets, companies must respond to market demand instantly and find ways to speed time to market in order to survive. Across industries, design and manufacturing engineers need custom prototypes for fit check, testing and other technical and business purposes. Prototyping is an important part of the product lifecycle. But what’s the best way to make and source prototypes? While larger companies may have the resources to produce prototypes in-house, smaller companies and design firms may not have the equipment and expertise required to manufacture single prototypes or small runs of parts. Global manufacturing service bureaus such as Shenzhen-based Wayken Rapid Manufacturing, which specializes in prototyping services and short-run manufacturing, are one option for small and medium enterprises. When manufacturing prototypes, it’s important to consider the materials and process technology to use for each project. While some prototypes, such as functional or engineering prototypes, must be made of the same material as th...

Uniqua Sparks’ last name is fitting. While she’s welding heavy metal — mask on and fire

Uniqua Sparks’ last name is fitting. While she’s welding heavy metal — mask on and fire blazing — the sparks fly. During the process of learning to fabricate and fuse parts together, she’s developing confidence and a new passion. “It has made me feel powerful, very powerful in this class operating this machine that is basically on fire. I feel very strong and I love it,” said the mother of three. Sparks is a student in the first cohort of Metallica Scholars Introduction to Welding at Grand Rapids Community College. Fourteen students graduated Aug. 12 from the eight-week course held at the Tassell M-TEC, 622 Godfrey Ave. SW. “My goal is to get a job and support my family,” she said, adding that she wants to pursue further certification in the welding trade as well. GRCC was one of just 10 community colleges in the nation to earn the $100,000 grant from the heavy metal band. Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation teamed up with the American Association of Community Colleges on the project, aimed at providing workforce training for community college students and reinvesting in cities where the band has toured. The majority of scholars in the GRCC program are women and nontradi...