In the digital era, ‘Copy, Cut and Paste’ sounds simple, done at the click of a mouse. There was a time when products were designed manually on drawing boards with equipment like T-square, set square, pencils, erasers, cutters and much else, and glued together, literally. With the advent of desktop computers in the 1980s, everything changed – and the rest is history – with software replacing conventional tools. Goodbye drudgery, welcome to the virtual age!
Products are conceived in the mind, were traditionally shaped on the drawing board, and underwent several rounds of prototypes and refinement, before entering production. Virtual product modelling or VPM is the contemporary technology of shaping products directly in virtual space on the computer screen, through one of the many customised software programs, armed with an array of digital tools.
Virtual prototyping simplifies the entire process of product development by eliminating several stages from the traditional product design process that involved manual work from design to paper models and then prototypes. Traditionally, product concepts were first realized by manual drawing with all the measurement and calculations for dimensional accuracies and engineering strengths and then creating rapid prototypes at each stage of modification and refinement, making the process long drawn and expensive. With the use of virtual product modelling or VPM, advanced modelling and design tools are available for virtual product modeling, which means there is no need for making physical prototypes.
Virtual prototyping is the creation of a digital recreation of what the end product will look like. Virtual prototypes can be used to test out designs, show clients how their finished products will look, and for marketing purposes. The benefits of virtual prototyping are that it allows companies to check their product design before committing time and money into creating the physical prototype. The creation process requires less effort than physical prototyping, which can be helpful for companies who want an efficient way to market their products.
Virtual prototyping also has the ability to create a more realistic view of how an object would look like in real life than wireframes or drawings because real-life materials are used in models, such as metal finishes and textures. This means that potential customers will know exactly what they’re buying.
Virtual product modelling is a cutting-edge technology which can be used for a variety of purposes.
The most common ones are:
With all the advantages virtual product modelling or VPM brings to the table, it would be hard for any company engaged in design and manufacturing to ignore this digital technology. However, this needs careful planning and assessment as the company needs to invest in hardware, software and skillsets if it decides to have an in-house department for VPM. However, for some companies with limited needs, outsourcing of their requirements of virtual product modeling and virtual prototypes to professional service providers makes better sense. Outsourcing it to companies like EAXPRTS have the necessary expertise as well as experience in this domain.
The design process is changing, moving from the manual/physical mode to the digital/virtual world. The process of sketching and drawing by hand with the help of ruler and compass is replaced by stylus and mouse moving shapes on the screen. From 3D product modelling to virtual prototyping, it not only has various advantages over conventional methods, but also promotes design innovation and collaboration between different teams and locations. For companies that do not have the resources for in-house facilities, there are outsourcing companies that offer virtual product modelling services at competitive rates.
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