An Overview of Low-volume Production for Rapid Prototyping

As the need for customization and personalization grows, low-volume production is becoming an important manufacturing strategy for companies of all sizes. Low-volume production involves producing 50 to 100,000 parts, bridging  one-off prototyping and full-volume production. It offers flexibility to the design process, reduces risk, shortens time-to-market, and frequently creates possibilities to save money on manufacturing costs.

This article will discuss low-volume production, including its typical technologies, benefits, challenges, and strategies to help overcome these challenges. 

Low-volume production is a specialized manufacturing term that means making products or parts in small batches, often restricted to 100,000 parts or less – depending on the manufacturing technique employed. Low-volume production enables our customers to invest less time and money in tooling and materials while gaining faster market access. Additional benefits include faster reaction to shorter product life cycles, effectively functioning as the important step between prototyping and mass production.

Low-volume production using traditional manufacturing technology might be costly since the cost of manufacturing is shared between each part produced. Traditional manufacturing technology has overhead expenses, including tools, materials, and labor. However, low-volume production costs have lowered because of a hybrid strategy integrating traditional and additive manufacturing technology. With additive manufacturing,  the cost of entry is inexpensive since less material is wasted and less labor is required.

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