Summary of prototype tooling question

From: Terry T. Wohlers (
Date: Fri Jul 02 1999 - 01:37:38 EEST

Hello everyone,

As promised, I am posting a summary to my question: What percentage of all
tooling does prototype tooling represent? Responses ranged from a low of
7% to a high of 50%. The average of all responses was about 21%.
Individuals at several large companies shared their views. Three of them
are below. I hope this information is useful.


Terry Wohlers
Wohlers Associates, Inc.
OakRidge Business Park
1511 River Oak Drive
Fort Collins, Colorado 80525 USA
Fax 970-225-2027



In my business it is very high. As I do not have an accurate figure at
hand, I guess 20% to 25% from my experience.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen With kind regards

Juergen Bauer

Siemens Electromechanical Components
EC CS A PD, Siemensstr. 13, 67346 Speyer, Germany
phone: +49 6232 30 2501, fax: +49 6232 30 2110, email:


Hi Terry,

I would estimate that it is over 50%. Maybe, this sounds very high, but let
us look to the several type of parts of a car. Typically there are 3-4
development cycles with frozen design before pilot lot begins. Let us take
one a minimum of one concept car (physical mockup with glass fiber body),
one metal prototype with development condition and one metal prototype with
series condition. Let us be optimistic, there are no changes of design
during one development cycle (what with my experience never happened)

What tools do we need?

1) Sheet panels
One milled wooden tool for every fiber body part (cost: about 5-10% of
series tool)
One prototype tool (milled or casted tool) for the development stage.
One prototype tool of 20% (changes to development stage) of the parts for
prototype with series condition (cost 8% (20% of 40%))

==> Total 53%

2) Injection moulding parts

Protoypes for the PMU are made by RP (costs 0%)
Prototype tool for development stage (40%)
Changes for series stage 8%

==> Total 48

3) Die casting

Okay, this is a very rough estimation with a simple view on product
development, but in total I believe that costs for prototype tooling in
general are higher than the cost for serial tooling, because of higher
number of tools per part.

Best Regards


Several answers here.

Dollar-wise, about 15%. Volume-wise about 20% (total number of cavities
purchased). Product-wise about 85% (a few customers have requested skipping
the prototype stage in some instances).

We make switches, resistors and HVAC controls for the automotive industry.

John Clauson, CAD Manager
Indak Mfg. Corp., Northbrook, IL
Voice: 847-272-0343, x209
Fax: 847-272-0697

P.S. Please understand that these numbers are very rough guesstimates.

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