What is Release to Manufacturing, or RTM?

Release to Manufacturing is a key point in the product development process where the finished and approved product design is documented and ready to be sent to manufacturing.

Which leads to the obvious question, “when is your design complete?” When is everything nailed down so the product can move to manufacturing with minimal risk to the process.

There are many ways for a project to go wrong – and doing all the homework before you go to manufacturing – is the only way to reduce your risk and hopefully avoid loss of time and/or money.

Here’s what should be done BEFORE the product can be released to manufacturing.

  • Design of the Product complete and fully tested.
  • Approved Bill of Materials with complete component and assembly descriptions.
  • Complete Design Documentation including:
    • Detail Drawings
    • Assembly Drawings and Procedures
    • Test Procedures
    • Final Release Criteria
  • Regulatory Compliance pending only Production Samples for final approval.

As you can see, there is a lot more to it than simply having your design approved and prototype built.

Once the product is released to manufacturing, the risk and expense involved in correcting any design or regulatory compliance issues increases dramatically.

Is there any wiggle room?

With every project, there is a temptation to move forward as quickly as possible.

And so the question we often here is “can we get by with what we have in place?”

The answer of course is it depends. In many cases you might “get by” – at least for a while – but the less complete the documentation, the less control you have over the delivered product.

With less control, there is more risk that delivered products will not perform the way your customers expect.

This can get out of hand quickly.

Get your FREE copy of our Release to Manufacturing (RTM) Standards

When products are getting close to being turned over to manufacturing, we are often asked what type of information and documentation the manufacturing partner will be expecting.

We prepared this document to answer those questions in detail.


To get your copy, please complete the form below.

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