manufacturingtechnologyinsights

R&D/Leverage: Prototype for Success in Manufacturing

CIO VendorChris McCoy, VP
The long-established approach to product development accentuates the sharp line that exists between development and production, wherein development sails off with a ‘eureka moment,’ makes its way through napkin sketches and CAD models to finally reach prototypes. With markets changing faster than ever, shorter innovation cycles and increased speed to market have become critical factors for success in the manufacturing sector. Amidst this intense competition, there is an opportunity for innovation to take over. As such, a company like R&D/Leverage was born. R&D/ Leverage—a global manufacturer since 1976—having witnessed this evolution firsthand, understands the significance of quality, speed, and cost to lead as a manufacturer. Along with the global rise in innovations, R&D/ Leverage’s sister company—R&D Prototype—was founded in 1997, with a focus on building rapid and high-quality prototypes aiding to a faster time to market (TTM).

“R&D Prototype materializes great ideas into “production quality” physical models,” explains Chris McCoy, VP of R&D Prototype. The company provides a wide range of additive manufacturing processes including 3D printing (FDM), stereolithography (SLA), CNC machining of metals and plastics, and soft tooling silicone molds (RTV) for casting urethane parts. Enabling faster product development, R&D Prototype allows clients to experience their product in-hand and enables quick design changes within a few days— speeding up the product development process. R&D Prototype leads through its ability to produce high quality prototypes through their proprietary processes, including water clear and transparent tinted 1 piece small neck bottles that look just like blown PET bottles. This unique capability empowers clients to shorten “product launch times” by simultaneously using the prototypes for advertisement purposes in magazine articles and television ads while at the same time production tooling is being built.

R&D Prototype materializes great ideas into “product quality” physical models


Utilizing R&D/Leverage’s global reach, “R&D Prototype helps organizations in building everything from dog chew toys to missile warhead encapsulations,” adds McCoy. The company takes a one-on-one approach to understanding the client’s requirements concerning product, durability, and materials, and creates an STL file if not provided by the client. With a maximum turnaround time of two days, the client can inspect the prototype for design flaws and repeat the process until perfection. This way, “R&D Prototype not only saves its clients time and money in the product development stage but also allows a better product to be developed,” says McCoy.

Like no other vendor, R&D Prototype boasts of a one-stop-shop facility that enables clients to go from conceptual design to finished product all at one campus. The streamlined in-house product development, tooling, and molding eliminates various concerns related to confidentiality and unauthorized file transfers within different organizations. Staying ahead of the technological curve, R&D Prototype carries out extensive research and development based on their clients’ existing needs. The company recently developed a prototype squeeze bottle for a client that wanted to check rebound, and air inflow/outflow prior to production. In addition, the team possesses reverse engineering capabilities using laser scanning technology to provide digital data. The key to R&D Prototype’s faster time to market is their hybrid approach, abundance of latest materials, precision equipment, and proved business models.

Leaving no stones unturned, R&D Prototype is continuously investing and expanding their capabilities and materials. Recently purchasing a Fortus 900mc with a large 3’x2’x3’build envelope, the company will be able to build in14 different types of thermoplastic. Currently, R&D Prototype is gearing up to showcase its technological prowess, appearing in its second season of the reality TV series Make48.