One of the critical aspects of the automotive industry is constant development. As we speak, cars are changing right in front of our eyes and evolving into the future of personal transportation. However, that rapid change wouldn’t be possible without the thriving fastener industry and innovative products designed and engineered according to advanced standards and requirements. That is why engineers from car companies and enthusiasts from aftermarket firms are on relentless quests for new designs and solutions. Introducing and eventually producing new fastener designs requires prototyping as a crucial part of the process. As a leading company in this field, Auto Fasteners has perfected this aspect and can help its clients with designing, producing, and testing new patents and shapes.
What Is Fastener Prototyping?
The prototype phase is a vital middle ground between idea and serial production. Even though most automotive fasteners are simple devices, they still need extensive testing, thorough evaluations, and checking to be introduced as regular production items and manufactured in large quantities. During this stage, initial designs show their weaknesses or prove their worth which help the engineers improve the original idea. In the prototype stage, engineers use different materials, production processes or approaches and thoroughly test the fastener before giving it the green light and shipping the large quantities to OEM manufacturers. That is why we’ve invested heavily into a state-of-the-art prototyping facility that makes testing more accurate and gathers a wealth of information about specific designs.
What Are The First Steps?
The first step is, of course, the idea which is then transferred to technical drawing. Using that drawing (in digital form), we construct the first prototypes quickly. Those fasteners are not yet ready for thorough testing. Still, they are useful for seeing the real-life dimensions of the product, potential design flaws and areas that could use engineering improvement.
Then we choose a proper material, regarding the use of the particular item, whether it is designed to withstand high or low temperatures, stress or if it needs to be replaced regularly or permanently fixed in the car. There is a wide arrange of special materials and automotive coatings which can be used for many applications. Although most fasteners might be simple contraptions, precision and accuracy are the keys to transforming the idea into a functional component.
Small Scale Prototype Production
It is crucial for our clients to have small scale prototype production, so we provide them with a MOQ (minimum order quantity) of just 25 pieces. Such an approach, along with high precision manufacturing, provides clients with the chance to try several designs or materials in a short time, gather more data in testing and make better decisions moving forward. We are proud to have short lead times, which is one of the features highly regarded amongst our clients.
Interestingly, we also offer cold forming of the prototypes (for 1,000 pieces and more). Cold forming is a unique way of shaping the metal at near-room temperatures. This process might be slower and more expensive but offers more advantages in terms of durability and strength of the final product. It is a crucial benefit for customers who develop fasteners made of steel or aluminium since they can have their prototypes fabricated by the highest standards, which will perform better.
The automotive fastener prototyping and preparing products for large scale production and worldwide delivery are not done once the engineers are satisfied with the component’s performance and quality. The second phase of fastener prototyping is less about technology and more about bureaucracy. In order to be able to sell the particular fastener and patent your design, there is extensive legal work that needs to be done. We offer PPAP Level 3 and IMDS (international material data system) if needed for easier patenting and classification of future products. It is helpful for smaller companies that don’t have legal departments and are unaware of the need for extensive documentation.