One of the most difficult and expensive steps in developing new manufactured products is creating product models and functional prototypes. Here in the prototyping and micro-factory, startups will iterate on physical prototypes, improving in each round.

The process is easier when your product is software. With physical products, updates may impact design, materials and production processes which ultimately effects time and cost. Outsourcing prototyping to high quality product design firms is cost-prohibitive for lean startups. CoMADE’s prototyping facility allows resident firms (and others) to create initial prototypes and to cycle through rounds of revisions in the facility at affordable costs.

Whether or not a product will ultimately be manufactured at scale, making the first one– or even the first 100—can have a high per unit cost. Scalable products must first be made in small quantities for testing, research, and market validation purposes. High value artisanal products may never be produced in large numbers. We’ve seen that contract manufacturers struggle to produce small runs at a price newer and smaller firms can afford.

CoMADE’s micro-factory capability will enable many CoMADE resident companies and others to produce small product runs at relatively low costs using their own labor, supported by CoMADE’s expertise and machinery.