What Is A Virtual Prototype?

Ever ask yourself what is a Virtual Prototype? Simply stated, it is a computer generated digital 3D model that can be manipulated to exact specifications.

FYI: digital and virtual prototypes are used in the same context of product design.

Sophisticated parametric modeling software is used to develop a digital prototype of your new product design.

It is used in the development of new items such as consumer electronics, machinery, cars and boats or an entire industrial processing plant.

The virtual model can be as simple as a single part (Example: A butter knife) or it can be a highly detailed and complex model with thousands of assemblies such as an entire aircraft.

The software used to develop the 3D model is a hybrid computer automated design (CAD) and computer automated engineering (CAE) platform.

The software is used to develop detailed 3D imagery in order to validate and explore multiple iterations of a concept prior to the creation of a physical or working prototype.

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Best-In-Class manufacturing organizations use digital prototyping to reduce the cost of product development and shorten the time necessary to get the new product to market.

Are you still wondering...what is a virtual prototype?

In the early stages of product development a basic 3D model is used to conduct feasibility studies and to determine marketability.

Once the product has passed preliminary screening and has been approved for further development, the same model takes on greater detail to include all the necessary requirements to meet manufacturing and consumer needs.

The digital prototype is used to test materials, mechanical motion, conduct finite element analysis (FEA) and motion simulation as well as test for human factors.

  • Virtual prototypes are used by industrial designers to apply and test various materials and finishes for aesthetic appeal and simulate the product in real world applications.

  • Engineering and manufacturing teams apply Design for Manufacture (DFM) techniques to test the digital prototype and assure it can be manufactured.

  • Designers will break down the individual sub assemblies of the 3D model and apply geometric dimensioning and tolerance (GD&T) to assure proper fit to other existing components or products.

From here, the assemblies are broken out into individual parts and used to create detail drawings to support the manufacturing efforts such as CNC programming for machining or the creation of molds for casting parts.

The same 3D model is used to create a photorealistic rendering of the digital model. The renderings are used in marketing efforts to begin pre-selling the new product before it even goes into production.

It is often used to generate video simulations in realistic settings. This is an ideal option for inventors and marketers who want to make a powerful presentation. Today, it is common to develop very complex and sophisticated products without the need for enormously expensive physical prototypes.

Digital prototyping enables individual inventors and product design firms to deliver superior products at lower cost to the consumer.

It reduces the time to market and development expenses while increasing your return on investment (ROI).

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 Why People Use ICT

When it comes to complex mechanical systems, custom machinery, hardware or tooling, ICT delivers high-quality, high-value solutions. My first collaborative effort with Will Zeober was completed in 2008. I look forward to an ongoing professional relationship for years to come. If you're seeking a design and engineering expert who is committed to the objective - Will Zeober and ICT will deliver on-time, on-budget and on task.

Mike Page
Manufacturing Engineer
Goodrich Aerospace

When a project solution cannot be purchased off-the-shelf it becomes necessary to work with a creative expert who can quickly make the connection between an existing challenge and an executable solution. If a project carries a high risk for failure I can count on Will Zeober and ICT to develop a complete product design solution from inception through delivery. ICT has the expertise to successfully mitigate problems then execute and manage the project as a seamless extension of my organization that allows me to remain focused on my own clients needs. For customized integrated solutions, ICT delivers results.

Brian Cromer
Project Management Specialist

I am the Chairman and founder of GDK Technologies, Inc., a product design company. For the past three years I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Will Zeober on very complex analysis and design projects. Mr. Zeober is an industry expert who strives toward the final deliverable that is always accurate, complete, and right on target. He is an innovative visionary with in-depth knowledge of industrial/product design. His insightful expertise in manufacturing makes Mr. Zeober an exceptional high value asset to our design team. In short, Mr. Zeober is a creative problem solver who has made significant contributions toward the success of our company.

Gordon van Ekstrom
GDK Technologies, Inc.

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