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Pilot Production is essentially a short production run designed to demonstrate the product can be produced repeatedly and consistently as specified.
At this stage in pre-manufacturing, the design has been finalized, and the pilot units are used to show that the production processes are adequate and in control.
Pilot Production will produce finished products, but the more important outcome is to verify the process in building the product – or to detect problems with that process.
Pilot Production is closely aligned with Design for Manufacturing (DFM).
What is Pilot Production?
Pilot Production is a very specific step in the pre-manufacturing process and closely aligned with Design for Manufacturing, or DFM.
With the product design already finalized, the next step is to find the most efficient way to manufacture the product.
Pilot Production is used to verify the manufacturing process – and to identify potential flaws or inefficiencies.
In many cases, Pilot Production will show that the process for building the product is adequate and ready for full-scale manufacturing.
But occasionally, it will reveal problems with the process that when corrected, could save time/money or ensure a higher degree of repeatability in the actual manufacturing run.
For example, it might show that the assembly steps need be re-ordered, or that another step (such as a calibration) might need to be inserted into the process, or it might suggest some sub-assembly work be completed before final assembly.
Pilot Production is an actual manufacturing run that will produce a specific number of finished products. How large of a run will vary with the complexity of the product.
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Product Resources CEO John Erickson and Mechanical Engineer Michael Dragonas share their insights on topics related to Pilot Production.
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