oa Interim : Interdisciplinary Journal - Gynaecological product development facilitated through RP and Rapid Tooling
Atkinson distinguishes between four types of prototypes, categorised through its end-use: <ul><li>Design or aesthetic prototypes </li><li>Geometrical prototypes </li><li>Functional prototypes </li><li>Technological prototypes</li></ul>Shigley and Mitchell define the design process according to the following six phases: <p>Recognition of need <br>Definition of problem <br>Synthesis <br>Analysis and optimization <br>Evaluation <br>Presentation <p>The Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacture (CRPM) of the Central University of Technology, Free State was asked to assist in the development of a newly developed gynaecological cream applicator. Apart from needing a freeform fabrication system to give form fit and function to the very complex design, the product needed Rapid Tooling / Rapid Manufacturing support to enable a first batch production for medical trials and evaluation. The paper will descriptionbe the total product development process alongside prototype categories descriptionbed by Atkinson and design phases defined by Shigley and Mitchell (including some iterations enabled through timeous prototyping, including various Rapid Prototyping (RP) Technologies, soft tooling and vacuum casting). More importantly, results from Rapid Tooling for limited run production (due to the complexity of the product the cycle time of the Prototype Tool is fairly long), as well as the economical impact made possible through the support of CAD / CAM and RP Technologies, will be discussed.
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