Over two thousand hours. That’s what it takes to make the Keurig that sits on your kitchen counter.
With that much riding on a single design, it’s no surprise companies like Keurig or medical device manufacturers want to be 100% sure that the product they release is everything their customers could possibly want. Since they can’t get just one coffee system or perfect injection-molded model before they invest millions of dollars in full production; they do the next best thing. They go to Jay of Protofinish for fast-turnaround models that are as close to the real thing as you can get...without dropping a couple hundred thousand dollars on tooling.
“There are models you generally can’t make without going into production tooling” Jay explains “Textures, colors, various coatings...We do that all in-house.”
A veritable wizard when it comes to delivering a production-quality prototype or specialty finishes, Jay and his team create products nearly indistinguishable from the real thing; down to the precise pantone shade, chrome brush or button reactions you’d expect from the finished product. (They won’t actually make coffee though, sorry). They’re also well respected for their R&D with coatings; waterproof, high temperature, high-abrasion for medical and military applications.
Jay pulls off what his customers call “near miracles”; consistently delivering his client’s request under what some would consider impossible deadlines. “ My clients always need projects done yesterday”, Jay laughs. “Time is money in product development; there’s a huge advantage to whomever is first to market.”
Accelerating that process can be difficult however, with the chain of approval that has to take place to get a product to market. But quicker iterations of prototypes help get everyone on board faster. “ Our customers use these models to get feedback, do user testing and get approval from their stakeholders. We enable our clients to push their product development faster and faster. 3D printing has revolutionized the possibility of doing that.”
Why 3D printing? “3D printing is the only way I can turn around full models within a week, and my client’s budget. If I machined all the pieces of the models, I’d wind up paying 10x more than 3D printing and have a 4 month lead time.”
The work Protofinish does with medical device companies, military and consumer product companies is more than your average prototype. They’ll precisely match any color, add advanced finishes (like brushed stainless steel) and integrate electronics so customers have a highly accurate model that can simulate a real product. These models are used for trade shows, internal reviews & testing, and when Jay’s clients are working with marketing for a company like Target or Khols.
Protofinish loves providing a customer experience that exceeds expectations. “In the end, we love ensuring our clients will be successful.” And their customers notice; they’re celebrated for their artistry and ability to consistently pull off the impossible. “That’s our job,” Jay smiles. “We excel at it.”