Physical Prototyping Vs. Virtual Prototyping: Which Should You Choose?

Virtual prototyping enables faster time to market, quicker software development and increase in functionality throughout the supply chain. Read this blog post to compare physical prototyping with virtual prototyping.

Today engineering simulation has been quickly replacing traditional testing techniques. This shift is a welcoming one as virtual prototyping offers a lot of advantages over physical prototyping. Should your engineering enterprise choose virtual prototyping over physical prototyping? Let us find out by evaluating the pros and cons of physical prototyping and virtual prototyping.

Physical prototyping

One of the oldest product development practices is to produce multiple physical prototypes and then test them. Although there are benefits, rapid prototyping can be impossible, inefficient or even impractical. This is especially true for early concept models where quick and frequent changes are required. Virtual prototyping would be far more useful and cost-efficient in such cases. Even during later product development stages, where there would be a lot of reviewing and refining, physical prototypes will prove to be expensive and time-consuming.

Physical prototypes can also be restrictive during the evaluation of complex physical phenomena like fluid flow. There are several designers who use Excel Spreadsheets for engineering calculations. Even though this might work, it could result in expensive errors during product development. In large spreadsheets, with thousands of formulas, there can be plenty of undetected errors. To sum up, physical prototyping can be unreviewable and filled with errors. Calculation errors and design flaws with this type of prototyping are making more engineers look towards virtual prototyping.

Virtual prototyping

A virtual prototype is a fully functional software model of a complete engineering design. Virtual prototyping enables faster time to market, quicker software development and increase in functionality throughout the supply chain. Engineers can commence the development months before the hardware design is complete. With virtual prototyping, you can also experience benefits like:

  1. Quicker time to market
    Physical product development involves building a physical prototype and then taking it to the lab for testing. Once tested, several design flaws will be revealed that would require a re-design or even a re-configuration. This process of building, testing, re-designing and then re-testing could stretch out your development schedule. With virtual prototyping, such unnecessary loops in the design process are successfully eliminated with the aid of virtual testing and design. Opting for virtual prototyping can effectively reduce the time and cost of your development process.
  2. Better design quality
    Using a spreadsheet to perform calculations and then build and then build and test a prototype can result in errors, which could lead to design flaws. This in turn could add up to recalls or warranty costs. On the other hand, using a virtual prototype enables engineers to test their products under a large variety of conditions and increase the product’s durability and reliability.
  3. Create competitive products
    Physical prototyping can limit the creative ideas of a designer. Virtual prototyping is less expensive and time consuming, thereby giving engineers the freedom to create better designs and scenarios. Through virtual prototyping, engineers can create designs with better performance and functionality.

However, physical and virtual prototyping are not competing, they are complementary. Although, you may not be able to completely eliminate physical prototyping from your design process, you could still integrate virtual prototyping and simulation during the development stages of your product to counter the limitations of physical prototyping.

Would your enterprise like to try out virtual prototyping and reap its benefits? If yes, we at Outsource2india can assist you. Our virtual prototyping services are high on quality, scalable, reliable, quick and error-free. Our team of skilled engineers can create the perfect virtual prototype model for you. Find out more about outsourcing virtual prototyping services.

Did you like reading this post? What would your enterprise choose? Virtual prototyping or physical prototyping? Let us know your views by leaving a comment in the box below. We, at Outsource2india love to hear from you!

Interested to know more?

  1. Solve Engineering Tight Spots with Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  2. 9 Big Reasons to Outsource Engineering Services
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