APICS is the leading professional association for supply chain and operations management.

APICS Operations Management Body of Knowledge Framework, Third Edition

9.4 Rapid prototyping

Rapid prototyping is the transformation of product designs into physical prototypes. Rapid prototyping relies on techniques such as cross-functional teams, data sharing, and advanced computer and communication technology—for example, computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing, stereolithography, and data links.

Rapid prototyping involves producing prototypes on production equipment as often as possible. It improves product development times and allows for cheaper and faster product testing, assessment of the ease and cost of assembly, and validation before actual production tooling. Rapid prototyping also includes the transformation of system designs into computer system prototypes, in which a user can experiment to determine the capability of a design to address his or her needs.