TYPES OF PROTOTYPE ENGINEERS
Engineers come in a wide variety of specialties. Some of the engineering disciplines which inventors are likely to work with and encounter are: industrial engineers, electrical engineers, computer and software engineers, and materials engineers. Which disciplines of engineers you work with depend on upon the specifics of your invention.
Industrial engineers oversee and plan the manufacturing process. If your invention is a physical product, in other words, it is not an app or software invention, you will almost certainly work with an industrial engineer. They often have enough experience working within their industry to offer invaluable advice about prototype and manufacturing processes to be able to advise you on appropriate materials and procedures to make your prototypes and eventually your final product.
Electrical engineers work with all different types of electronics; it is a broad field. Be sure to cooperate with an electrical engineer who has worked in your subfield. For example, some electrical engineers primarily work with large scale products and inventions, such as household appliances or even infrastructure technology; and there are also engineers who work with small devices like smartphones, tablets, and all sorts of gadgets. Finding an engineer with the right background will be important in moving your product forward.
Electronic devices and appliances often require the creation of a proof-of-concept prototype. As mentioned above, a proof-of-concept prototype does not necessarily look anything like the final invention; it is created to prove that the invention works as designated. Many inventors who create electronic devices have the ability to make their proof-of-concept prototypes, and they may believe that there is no reason to go through the expense of working with an electrical engineer. Depending on the inventor’s background, this may be true. But, it is worth considering that one aspect electronic engineers bring to the table is their experience in transitioning invention ideas from the early proof-of-concept stage through the entire development process and to a finished product. A good electronic engineer may be able to spot technical issues that will dictate the design and specifications of the final product. They may, in fact, save both time and money in the long-term development process.
These days, many invention ideas revolve around computers and software. The difference in the two categories is that computer designs tend to deal with hardware, the physical computer. Software invention covers all of those products like computer programs, internet innovations, and apps.
Hiring the right engineer to develop these products fully and make them scalable, as in being able to function on all kinds of devices and for thousands or even millions of users, is essential to finding success in these crowded fields. A great deal of what they contribute to the prototyping process for these type of products is the robust testing that they perform, to assure the invention will function as planned. They may not always refer to what they produce as a “prototype” often using terms like a beta version and wire-frame instead, but nonetheless, these steps of engineering and design are in fact the same our four categories of prototypes; presentation, proof-of-concept, functional, and production.
Materials engineers naturally help inventors to select the correct materials for their inventions. They understand the strength, weight, durability, ease of manufacture, and appearance of a wide variety of materials. They can advise on least cost materials for you to use in your prototype and final product. Because they know about many different types of materials, and their benefits and drawbacks, they may be able to make a significant and very helpful contribution to your invention plans.