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Prototyping Methods for a Small-to-Medium Manufacturing Enterprise in a Resource-Constrained Setting: A Case Study

[+] Author Affiliations
Suzanne Chou, Jesse Austin-Breneman

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Paper No. DETC2017-68281, pp. V007T06A036; 9 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 29th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5821-9
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Prototyping is an important part of the product development process, especially for the design of the manufacturing systems in small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Practitioners in resource-constrained settings face unique challenges when prototyping in these contexts. This work examines the methods, constraints, and impacts on design outcome of prototypes in manufacturing SMEs in resource-constrained settings through a case study. Observations and information were gathered through a site visit and interviews with the engineers at the partner organization. One of the important findings of this case study is that the main intent of prototyping is to develop high-fidelity, functional prototypes through simple prototyping, iteration, and the emphasis on physical prototypes. The overarching resource constraints on achieving this prototyping intent were found to be a variance in prototyping inputs, limited access to appropriate manufacturing capabilities, and limitations of modeling predictions.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Manufacturing



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