One of the very big costs any manufacturer has to face is that of product development. An idea has to move from a concept, to a drawing, to a series of detailed drawings to hand built model, to redesign and another model, to a prototype and then, having thoroughly tested the prototype and corrected / modified the faults the manufacturing process has to be set up with its incredible costs in die and tool making, jigs and machine set ups so that everything will flow along and the final assembly produces a desired and marketable product.
The product one used to develop and produce in this way literally used to take years from initial concept through to production. And then one finds to one's horror that virtually the same thing is being produced in the Far East at half the cost because they copied the idea. And of course many a product foundered along the way. Many brilliant concepts, that would have made a huge difference never made it beyond the drawing board.
If the above process was true of an item like a vacuum cleaner or a microwave oven one can imagine the enormous costs involved in the design development and testing from model, through prototype to production of an item like a car or a 747 airplane.
So what product designers and producers desire is a system that allows them to take a concept from an idea, rapidly through the design and testing stage into the design of the production and assembly lines so that the final product can emerge and be sold very rapidly.
And such a facility is available with a software package that does digital prototyping. Digital prototyping is a huge development beyond the current CAD engineering packages in that it enables the design team to move rapidly through the various stages of development in computer models. Thus physical model production can be reduced or cut out entirely and the system allows the design team to produce full 3D design prototypes which can be measured, stress tested and modified as necessary.
Simulations and Finite element analysis are all included within the software package and thus, as one goes through the various stages of the design process one gains confidence that the item being developed within the package will in fact be a viable item once it emerges from the production line.
A great innovation in the software suite is the digital visualization of the factory floor layout. The machine takes everything into account and can produce the product flows with a detail of what machines and what assembly personnel will be required at every step along the way so that the final product emerges complete and ready for the market.
Digital prototyping is a big development in the process of enhancing productivity and reducing expensive and unproductive development time while cutting down on the risk that your idea will be subjected to industrial espionage. It enables one to speedily move from a concept to a reality with many fewer steps along the way.