Before entering into an agreement with a client, if a patent or provisional patent has not been applied for, the client and RC Product Development & Engineering should sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This protects the client’s intellectual property while the product is in its developmental phases. Only after an NDA has been signed will RC enter into discussion with the client (at no charge) on the new product concept. Upon disclosure of the concept to RC Product Development & Engineering, RC will evaluate the project and submit the cost for Phase I to the customer for acceptance approval. Only after acceptance approval and receipt of initial down payment from the client will the project proceed.
There are five phases in the development of a product from sketches or drawings to being a manufactured entity. RC Product Development & Engineering has extensive experience in each of these phases of development and upon request will assist as consultants on each phase of the development.
PHASE I - Conceptual Design
The conceptual Design is the first phase of the product development process and provides the RC Product Development & Engineering team the opportunity to meet and discuss with the inventor all of the details relating to the project. The conceptual design entails the actual engineering, design and development of the product. It encompasses the appearance, size, functuality and workmanship of each part in detail. Additional details that must be considered are the various materials to be used and how each part is to be manufactured. The finished product developed must meet Form, Fit and Function. Once the client has approved the conceptual design the project will move forward to the next phase of the developmental process.
PHASE II - Models
To assist in the client’s perception of the product a Stereolithography (SLA) model may be produced. (SLA) models are made from the 3 Dimensional Computer Aided Design concept (Phase I) information. The SLA samples are close to an exact replica of the CAD product developed. It provides the customer with a full size replica of the product developed for touch and feel. (These models are not robust and should be handled carefully.) The SLA model can be used to determine if the product is ready for immediate production and/or - should a working prototype be fabricated for further product evaluation.
PHASE III - Prototypes
Should the decision be made to create prototypes - Urethane prototypes can be made from silicone molds and are more robust than a Stereolithography (SLA) model. In most cases these prototypes may actually be used for product demonstration purposes with out any actual damage to the prototype. These prototypes may be used by the client to show to potential customers or for marketing evaluations.
PHASE IV - Costing
RC Product Development & Engineering offers its services in developing the product cost, as well as the cost for the design of tooling and fixtures necessary to manufacture the new product. Tooling requirements may be in plastic molds to stamping dies or castings etc. We also participate in writing the specifications for the manufacture and testing of the product to meet Form, Fit and Function.
PHASE V - Preproduction
Before a product is ready for high volume production it should be tested in small preproduction runs to evaluate customer satisfaction and process capabilities. In most cases some small process or product changes will be necessary to satisfy either the manufacturing process or the market requirements.