Product Prototyping
& Development Service

Where world-changing ideas start becoming

world-changing realities.

Want to Refine Your Product Design and Improve Functionality?
Our Prototyping Services Can Help

Product Prototyping
Overview

Product prototyping development helps identify issues, generate early feedback and get to production faster.

Whether it’s a detailed rendering or a fully functional product, a prototype helps hone your design and demonstrate its key features.

The prototype development stage is an essential step in product development and manufacturing. In the prototyping phase, you’ll be able to:

Validate Design Decisions

A design concept that works in theory does not guarantee that it will fulfil its function in real-life scenarios.
A prototype is a great way to evaluate the product’s functionality and performance under its intended working environment. It will highlight any issues in your design and help you determine whether parts of the product need to be modified.
Gathering valuable input from your target audience, as well as non-users to simulate amateur use, mis-use and potential blind spots will allow you to improve your design and create a better user experience.

Get Funded

A product prototype helps strengthen your pitch to clients, stakeholders and financial institutions. It shows potential investors that you have a workable concept and a solid product.
Instead of pitching an abstract idea, you’ll be able to present them with a tangible product that demonstrates its specific functions and capabilities.
Product prototyping

Design for Manufacturability (DFM)

While designing a product is a creative process, the greatness of your ideas will only be realized if a manufacturer can utilize the machines and materials needed to turn them into a reality. This is where design for manufacturability (DFM) becomes critical.

DFM can be considered a form of negotiation between product designers and manufacturers. It involves modifying and scaling a design concept so the product can be produced efficiently using the tools and resources available in a production facility.

This process examines several aspects of a design, including its shape, proposed material, and parts, to determine how they can be executed.

Any features that would be too difficult, expensive, or inefficient to make using the available manufacturing equipment and materials will likely need to be revised.

Our Prototyping Capabilities

3D Printing

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, offers a quick and low-cost way to create diverse prototypes. At Inertia, we offer three types of 3D printing technologies:
  • Fused deposition modelling (FDM) is best used for basic proof-of-concept models
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS) is best for functional prototyping
  • Stereolithography (SLA) is best for functional prototyping patterns, moulds, and tools

CNC Machining

CNC prototype machining is an excellent choice for making only a small number of prototypes in a relatively short time.

Our CNC machining service allows for the creation of parts with high accuracy, which is essential for testing and validating a design before mass production. This technology also enables designers and engineers to quickly iterate on a design, making changes as needed.

CNC technology allows for precise, efficient, and cost-effective fabrication of parts and components with a high degree of accuracy and design complexity.



Rapid Prototype
Tooling

Rapid tooling is an excellent way to develop small-batch prototypes for design and material evaluation.
It allows you to use the same materials for final production, including aluminum and steel, to create project parts quickly and cost-effectively.

Silicone moulding or urethane casting

Silicone and urethane casting are excellent ways to create high-quality plastic parts in small batches.
This type of casting has a shorter lead time and lower costs than injection moulding and can be considered a versatile middle ground between 3D printing and injection moulding.

Sheet metal
fabrication

Sheet metal is often used to create parts in functional prototypes. Examples include brackets, doors, enclosures, kitchen equipment, appliances, and more.

Welding

We can create a high-functioning assembly prototype with custom weldments of plastics and metals.

Laser Cutting

Similar to 3D printing and CNC machining, laser cutting also utilizes a computer-controlled machine to create prototype parts from a broad range of materials.
Laser cutters are often used for highly detailed designs or parts that do not require any assembly or post-processing.

Show-quality
Finish Painting

In order to achieve the perfect paint finish, the prototype painting process is carefully controlled to ensure that the colour and surface quality reflects your expectations.

Fibreglass or Composite
Material Prototyping

Fibreglass and composite materials can be used to produce a scaled or full-sized model.
Composite materials are extremely versatile, strong, and lightweight; hence they are ideal for application in aerospace, boating, and industrial settings.

Electronic Prototypes
(off-the-shelf and PCBs)

PCB or printed circuit board prototypes are simplified electronic boards used to test circuit designs before mass manufacturing.
Using a PCB prototype allows us to check the performance, functionality, and feasibility of your design and make changes if necessary.

Achieve Your Prototyping Goals

Many prototypes are created in the product development stage to test various design aspects.
From proof-of-concept models for initial testing to design validation, a broad range of prototypes will achieve various goals in this phase. Including:

Proof-of-Concept (POC)

POC Models are usually the first physical model created in the product roadmap. They determine product viability and often bear little to no resemblance to the final product.

Communicating Ideas

A major function of prototyping is communication. It is an excellent tool for presenting your idea to others in a quick and effective way.

Obtain Certification

The first product unit off the assembly line is considered the pilot prototype. This is traditionally used to obtain product certifications from independent testing labs.

Use in Customer Trials

Customer and field trials are key to validating the product design and its viability in an operational environment. An engineering prototype that roughly resembles the product’s final form is usually used for this step.

Sales and Marketing Support

Appearance and production prototypes model the final look and feel of the design. They are often used for sales and marketing purposes as they allow potential buyers to easily visualize the product.

Validate the Design and Functionality

The design and functionality of the product are tested using the engineering prototype before further investment into higher-grade materials.

Validate the Manufacturing Process

Production prototypes are used for final testing and validation. This includes the final assessment and fine-tuning of the manufacturing process.

Types of Prototyping Available

Short-run Manufacturing

Short-run prototyping involves creating a small number of products or parts in the same family as the initial design. This allows the creator to pivot according to market changes.

Low-volume Production/Assembly

Low-volume production helps mitigate the risk of launching a new product to market. Production runs of up to 100,000 units are considered low-volume.

Mock-up Prototypes

Mock-ups are high-fidelity renders of your product’s final design and showcase how it will look in the market. A mock-up can simply be an image, a drawing or a computer model.

Cosmetic Prototypes

Cosmetic prototypes are a visual representation of the product but lack any functionality. They are a static model without working features.

Feasibility Prototypes

Feasibility prototypes are often not representative of the final product. Instead, they focus on a key feature or function with an identified risk. The goal of feasibility prototypes is to test key technical unknowns and target specific elements of a product.

Rapid Prototypes

Rapid prototyping uses 3D computer-aided design to create a physical part or model quickly and cost-effectively.

Proof of Concept MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

This is usually the first physical model of the initial design and bears little resemblance to the final product. The goal of this prototype is to validate the product’s viability in controlled settings.

Bench Models

Bench model prototypes are created after a concept direction is selected.

This may take many forms, including virtual models, foam mock-ups and custom-built mechanisms, to test ergonomic form features and complex technologies and mechanisms.

High-fidelity production quality models

High-fidelity production quality models are one of the final prototypes. They are fully functional and virtually indistinguishable from the final product.

Which Prototype Do You Need?

Create The Right Prototype For Every Stage Of Your Product Development Journey

Every stage of the product development journey, from ideation to manufacturing, has different prototype requirements. Ideally, each prototype version should lead you to new findings that will allow you to improve your product and bring you closer to mass manufacturing. During the early stages, it is advised to separate your product into key features and create prototypes with unique goals. Then, using our three-step method—the Build, Measure, Learn cycle—you will be able to optimize your product efficiently and accelerate the process while avoiding the guesswork.

Our Approach to Product Prototyping

Our approach to product prototyping

Build

Take your hypothesis, and turn it into a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Measure

Design experiments and test your prototype to collect feedback and identify friction points.

Learn

Put your learnings into action and choose to pivot or proceed.

BUILD

Create an Early Version

The building stage starts with a hypothesis, an educated guess that requires validation through experimentation and data. Depending on the focus of your hypothesis, we will build a suitable Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Proof of Concept (POC), or a single product feature for testing certain quality or functionality characteristics.
For example, an MVP that is needed to test how users interact with your product would be different from one that is needed to validate a product’s value proposition.

MEASURE

Design Experiments and Test

After building your MVP, it’s time to measure its success via systematic experiments with the target audience of end users, or even non-users. This may include usability tests, real-time monitoring, marketing tests, user experience testing, and more.
Collected quantitative and qualitative data should be sorted, filtered, and analyzed so that you can identify valuable insights and trends.

LEARN

Gather Insights

The learning stage is the most critical part of the prototype development process. This is where you put your validated learnings into action and decide what’s next.
Based on the feedback and insights gathered in the measuring stage, there are two possible paths— Pivot or Proceed. To pivot would mean changing direction either partially or completely. To proceed would mean carrying on with the product and continuing to iterate.
From here, we cycle back through the three phases you have validated your requirements and the product is fully refined and ready for mass manufacturing.

Why Choose Us

Inertia specialists possess expertise across a wide range of disciplines and have access to state-of-the-art prototyping capabilities to help you realize your product from conception to manufacturing.
No matter which type of materials or prototype you require, our dedicated team has the capability and resources to execute your vision.
If your project requires access to resources we don’t have in-house, your Inertia team will source and audit providers to acquire whatever you need. This full-service capability allows us to support you at every stage of your product journey.
Our ability to collaborate, coordinate and deliver on all stages of prototype development allows our team to fully understand your vision and enjoy the advantage of extreme speed-to-market. With our team’s suggestions and critical analysis, you will be able to make the best choices for your product and move forward with the right design.
We’ll involve our manufacturing engineers early in the prototype design and development process. With this key advantage, you’ll have confidence your product can be manufactured at volume for a price that meets your business objectives.

Product Prototyping FAQ’s

Prototyping is integral to product design and development as it allows you to test and refine your idea and explore alternative solutions to create a viable product.

Prototypes can also be used to engage with end users or stakeholders to reveal further insight and inform decisions going forward.

We can provide prototypes to match any level of precision needed, including precision machining, coordinate measuring machines, full inspection reports, and more.

Inertia has numerous prototyping capabilities in-house, partnerships with domestic and overseas manufacturing vendors and supply chains.

Our team will help you select the best vendors suited to your product idea while keeping timeline, budget, and quality in mind.

Yes, we can manage every aspect of prototyping, from design to assembly. We will troubleshoot and help you redesign and rework your product concept if necessary.

Fine-tuning and resolving issues as they arise are processes integral to the product design process.

Our teams of designers and engineers are here to guide you through any design issues and help you find the best solution.

Product prototyping and development

Growing Your
Business Together

Disciplined communication and collaboration are key to making great things happen.
From industrial designer to mechatronic and mechanical engineering, we have deliberately developed methods to capture and share our thought process and knowledge through regular meetings with your assigned project lead.
We can support you through market & user insights, cost, aesthetics, safety, quality, reliability, serviceability, sustainability, manufacturing, and assembly.
Designing a product isn’t just about form and function; every decision made in the design process directly impacts your business. Collaborating with us means that you will stay fully informed and be involved in every critical decision each step of the way.
Working together, you’ll wind up with more than just a product—you’ll be equipped with the user, market and technical knowledge you need to succeed in the marketplace. We’re not just here to help you build products but to build your business.
Are you ready to create a wildly successful product? So are we.

Product Prototyping Industry Partners

Using Inertia's local microfactory enabled us to get our first batch of sensors out of the lab and onto the market at a fraction of the time it would have taken to set up a large volume run, shipped from elsewhere. Their engineering team also helped refine our process to improve manufacturability for future production

Norman Zhou

Co-Founder, AquaSensing

We needed a partner who could design, manufacture, and supply-manage our smart lock hardware product so that our team could focus on developing our core services and IP, which is access control and encryption software. The Inertia team certainly delivered on the hardware, which helped us focus on our core and scale our business. Inertia continues to be a key partner in our growth and success.

David Coode

CEO, Sera 4

Being a first-time entrepreneur, the Inertia team fully immersed me in their product development experience and made me feel in total control of my product's destiny – providing exceptional support required to get the work done right and on time. They shared with me all their knowledge and understanding of the technical, regulatory, and commercial landscape which empowered me to make the best decisions for my product and my customers. Their transparency, communication, and collaboration are head and shoulders above anything I've ever experienced.

Dayo Olakulehin MD

CEO, Ligand Innovation Global

The next growing season waits for no one. That's why we partnered with Inertia to be our turn-key hardware engineering and manufacturing team. In six short months they delivered a clean-sheet engineered design for our autonomous weed-picking vehicle – mechanicals, bodywork, electronic power & control systems. In just three more months, they delivered all the custom and off-the-shelf components required to build the first pilot fleet. We could not have innovated this fast without them.

Luc Labbé

CEO, Nexus Robotics

We needed a company to work with us on the development of a novel medical device in record time, while in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inertia was an excellent partner. They stepped up to meet this challenge and we were able to successfully complete the project. Together, we have directly improved the lives of patients around the world.

Neil Godara

Vice President & GM, Baylis Medical

Not only did they design a beautiful vertical grow garden that looks like it actually belongs in your home, they helped to increase our gross profit margins and rapidly scale our manufacturing capacity to meet our growing customer demand.

Conner Tidd

Founder & CEO, Just Vertical

From the early stages of the project, we were driven by ambitious timelines with a fail-fast mentality. Countless rapid iterations based on user feedback ultimately produced a persuasive prototype. From there, we needed a high-quality product and short time-to-market. We were demanding at every stage of the project. The Inertia team delivered in lockstep. They were smart, poised, and solution-oriented even when faced with seemingly impossible requirements. I really enjoyed working with them. It felt like we were one team. Our partnership with Inertia was critical to our success.

Garry Liu

Cofounder & CEO, Innovere Medical Inc.

Useful Article

The Three Phases Of Product
Prototyping

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