If you are a budding innovator or inventor and have a fantastic product idea but unsure how to get it produced in the real world, the 3M BIC’s design team can support your product development needs and help turn your ideas into a product.
We can discuss various product development avenues, whether it’s creating a prototype or having the product turned into a 2D visualisation that promotes key aspects of your design.
Learn how product development can help you turn your ideas into a product.
Visualisation and product development
We can use computer aided design (CAD) to generate a model based on your specifications, drawings or ideas and then illustrate the unique selling point (USP) through 2D visualisation. This would come in the form of a walk-through, or a 360 degree turn table animation, where the product or specific parts could be disassembled, and key elements highlighted.
You may require this form of product visualisation if your idea is in its infancy and you require financial backing, to illustrate to potential investors what exactly your idea is before you go to production. Or it might be a way for you to gain access to grants and funding for a much larger project.
Product development and prototypes
If your idea is more established and you have 3D files already available, we can take these files and convert them into the necessary format in order to print a prototype in a material of your choice, such as metal or polymers, both of which are available at the 3M BIC.
It is often more beneficial to have a physical model to illustrate a particular function or have a scaled down model of a much bigger operation. Having a prototype will help investors get the idea and feel for the final product long before it has been considered for final manufacture.
An alternative route is to have a part made specifically for direct application. You may have already done product testing and researched all the stresses and strains that would be expected to impact your part and the part is ready for implementation, but you need a final model to be made in a rigid material for testing before you have your tooling made.
This is particularly beneficial for manufacturers looking to replace a worn part on a machine to exact specifications, to minimise disruption to production, or more costly, avoid having to invest in new machinery.
For example, using 3D scanning and additive manufacturing technology, the product design team was able to repair parts of a 70-year-old machine to secure its longevity and the future of century-old military uniform manufacturer, Wyedean, based in Yorkshire. Wyedean approached the 3M BIC when a Leesona winder part broke. Made out of cast iron spares were impossible to come by and it needed to be identical to fit the seventy-year-old machinery. Although a small part, without it the machine wouldn’t work and production would come to a halt.
The part lacked three of its ‘fingers’ intended to hold the cardboard inner roll of a thread spool securely in place on the Leesona winder. The team scanned the broken winder part using a combination of optical, photogrammetry and x-ray computerised tomography (XCT) for greatest precision.
Scans were corrected by digitally ‘removing’ the broken parts and recreating the whole by mirroring the unbroken side before converting the repaired file into a printable CAD file format. This was used to manufacture a replacement part in a nylon polymer using selective laser sintering (SLS), a form of additive manufacturing, that was lightweight yet potentially strong enough to undertake the same function and fit.
You can find out more about this project here. [link to Wyedean Case study?]
How the 3M BIC can help with product development
At the 3M BIC, we can support the following using our product development capabilities to turn your ideas into a product:
- Product design using computer aided design
- Create 2D product realisation
- Create 3D prototypes in metals or polymers
- Use generative design techniques for light weighting products
To arrange a free consultation, contact the team on 01484 505601 or email@example.com.