Beginners Guide in Choosing the Right Chinese Manufacturers for your Prototypes

Running a successful business is a tough job. If you have just started a business and are looking for prototypes for your products, then you might need to thoroughly investigate your options. China is one of the leading product manufacturers in the world due to its low labour costs and advanced equipment. You can look at prototype companies in China for your products. 

How Prototyping Companies Function

Now before you jump the gun and hire the first China prototype manufacturer that you come across, you first need to understand whether you need prototypes for your products. It is natural to get confused when you are a beginner, but having your facts correct can help you make the right decision when it comes to suppliers. 

Prototypes are one of the crucial elements in your product design process. It can be a simple design or model that is built by prototyping companies to test concepts or give demos for presentations. A lot of brainstorming goes into producing prototypes. 

Basic steps include:

  • Idea generation
  • Material research
  • Identify the methodologies
  • Prepare the wireframe
  • Conduct tests with the prototypes
  • Share the test results and get the sign off from the companies

When you give your prototype order to your Chinese company, ensure that you share your thoughts and ideas about the product with them. If you have any specific requirements that they need to keep in mind, any additional features to be included, all these need to be made clear with your company. 

Based on the inputs that you have shared, the search for the right material or component is made. Then a careful analysis is done to identify which method best would get the desired outcome for the product. 

The next step involves preparing the skeletal or the wireframe with the materials and components. Multiple tests are conducted to see if the product is functioning properly. If yes, then the test results are shared with you for the final sign-off on the design sheet.

In case you are not satisfied with the results or require certain modifications to your product, the above steps will be replicated till the final product is tested and approved. 

Now that you know the entire process that goes into prototyping, you next need to access what type of China prototype manufacturer would best suit your requirements. There are three types of prototyping needs that most of the manufacturers provide:

  • Prototyping is done through CAD drawings – This is a simple process wherein you provide the specifications and the manufacturer produces the same. Applicable if you are producing specific product parts
  • Review, suggest and manufacture – Here you will review the designs from the manufacturer, offer your suggestions and then go in for the outcome. This is applicable if you need to prototype a complete product
  • Review, suggest, manufacture, evaluate and test – This is applicable when you need your product to be thoroughly tested before it is launched in the market. 

Prototypes are best used when you need to pitch in your products with the investors, new product development wherein you need to do market research, patenting or product demonstrations in front of clients. 

There are many companies in China, especially in Shenzhen, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Guangzhou, and Zhejiang that offer prototyping services. You can classify these companies into 3 categories:

Companies that support design services and offer end-to-end support on product development. Their key services include:

  • Rapid Precision Machining
  • High-volume Machining
  • Plastic Injection Molding
  • Silicone Vacuum Moulding
  • Instant Pressure Die Casting
  • Die Casting/Stamping
  • Fast Sheet Metal Fabrication
  • CNC Machining
  • Sheet Metal Production
  • Rapid Injection Molding
  • Surface Finishing
  • Aluminum Extrusion
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • 3D Printing
  • CNC Prototyping (Turning &Milling)
  • Vacuum Casting
  • Injection Molding
  • Metal Stamping
  • Finishing
  • PU Casting
  • Reaction Injection Molding
  • Sheet Metal Prototyping
  • Rapid/Production Tooling
  • Small Batch Production

If you are looking for a credible China prototype manufacturer for electronics, then some companies offer services such as:

  • PCB Design & Prototyping
  • PCBA Development and Assembly
  • Firmware Development
  • CNC Milling/Turning
  • 3D Printing
  • 3D Scanning (0.005mm precision)
  • Plastic Injection Molding
  • Thermoforming
  • Laser Engraving & Cutting
  • Silicon Compression
  • Plastic & Aluminum Extrusion
  • Zinc & Aluminum Die Casting
  • Design support
  • Precision CNC Machining
  • Vacuum Casting
  • Rapid Tooling
  • Injection Molding
  • Rapid Metal Casting
  • Sheet Metal Prototyping
  • Aluminum & Plastic Extrusion
  • Surface Finishing
  • Design support services
  • CNC Machining
  • Plastic Injection
  • Metal Forming
  • PCB & SMT
  • PCB Printing
  • PCBA Manufacturing
  • Urethane Casting
  • Tooling & Injection Molding
  • Milling & Turning
  • Sheet metal Forming & Stamping
  • Die Casting

If you are looking for traditional companies that only work on designs shared by you with any support services then below are the services that you might be offered:

  • Rapid Prototyping
  • Precision CNC Machining
  • Rapid Tooling
  • Injection Mold Tooling
  • Pressure Die Casting
  • Sheet Metal Fabrication
  • Design support services
  • Vacuum Casting
  • Injection Molding
  • 3D Printing
  • Rapid Metal Casting
  • Sheet Metal Prototyping
  • Aluminum & Plastic Extrusion
  • Surface Finishing
  • Rapid Precision Machining
  • High-volume Machining
  • Plastic Injection Molding
  • Silicone Vacuum Moulding
  • Instant Pressure Die Casting
  • Die Casting/Stamping
  • Fast Sheet Metal Fabrication

Asking the Right Questions to your Manufacturer

Searching for the right China prototype manufacturer requires a bit of effort from your side. You need to ask the right questions and ensure that these manufacturers meet your requirements. Your prototype manufacturer must have a good command of the English language. There must be a proper contract and an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) in place for Intellectual Property. If your manufacturer is not able to speak in English, then you can hire sourcing agents who can help translate your requirements to the manufacturer. 

Ensure that they understand all the terms and conditions mentioned in your contract and have them duly signed. See if the company is certified and have they worked on similar projects before. Ensure that you visit the company at least once to get an idea of how they function. 

After you have finalized your China prototype manufacturer, you need to request for quotation. Known as an RFQ (Request for Quote) wherein you specify your requirements. Your prototyping company will assess your quote and depending on the cost of materials, labour cost and other factors will offer their quote.

Ensure that you send your design file along with the RFQ, so the company can correctly assess the components required to build your product. 

Conclusion

The right prototype can make or break your project. Experienced companies know your product requirements and can help in building the right prototypes that can take your business to new heights. 

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