Paperless Parts is set to kick the 3D printing revolution into high gear with its new smart marketplace for sourcing custom parts. Working with a number of partners, they use proprietary technology tools to provide to their users the ability to submit requests for custom prints and receive instant quotes that are immediately actionable. Their four part process takes product developers all the way from initial request to order fulfillment and promises to not only save time but to make the entire process both more transparent and more secure.
The process begins when the product developer uploads a 3D CAD model to Paperless’ secure server. Immediately thereafter, within a matter of seconds, hundreds of supplier-customized quotes are generated across a range of materials, processes, lead times, and finishes. The developer then, at their leisure, reviews these quotes and determines which manufacturer’s quote best meets their needs. The final phase is ordering the part and the platform ensures that the customer is able to track their part during all phases of the process, removing the blind spots of production that previously kept developers in the dark as they waited.
It is exactly this transparency that Paperless hopes to make a hallmark of its service. However, more transparency does not mean less security for developers, who often feel nervous about releasing the files on their hard won creations. As such, Paperless has created a system in which the manufacturers never see the full CAD file until an order is placed. This means that the developer can get a larger number of quotes without risking their work, ultimately allowing them to find the very best offer. As explained by the CEO of Paperless Parts, Jason Ray:
“We are very excited to share the platform with product developers and engineers around the country. Over the course of our beta launch the past few months, we evolved the platform to better integrate with our manufacturing partners, as well as customizing the buyer interface to offer a frictionless experience. We see the platform as an investment in American manufacturing and product development. Supporting the ability for our partners to provide instant quotes to their customers is a paradigm shift in how manufacturers quote today, taking days and even weeks out of the product development cycle.”
The quotes provided are immediately actionable, meaning that there is no need for the kinds of additional conversations or adjustments that slow the process. This is possible because when a supplier joins the platform, they enter their pricing structure based and a platform algorithm is able to calculate a quote based on that data and the geometry of the part requested.
In addition to the services that are provided through Paperless, they offer a number of resources for those looking to either advance their knowledge in additive manufacturing or to make the leap into the arena. Currently, they offer free access to 3 eBooks: SLS Design for Manufacturing, Calculating the Cost of Additive Manufacturing, and Laser Cutting Design for Manufacturing.
Currently, the platform has 13 additive manufacturing partners which offer services including SLA, SLS, Multi Jet Fusion, and FDM. Services will be spread across manufacturers such as CAD BLU, a 3D factory that provides complete part building services for jewelry, dental, and a number of other parts; ems-usa, known for their work in aerospace, automotive, military, and consumer products; and interpro, with a history of producing for companies such as Tesla, Honda, and Boeing, among others.
Of interest to note also is that the location of these manufacturers is the United States: CAD BLU has offices in five cities across the country, EMS is in Tampa, Detroit, and Atlanta, while interpro operates out of Connecticut, and the other suppliers and Paperless Parts itself are also US-based. Not only does this reduce shipping costs and time, this is particularly interesting given the conversation in the United States about American made goods and the future of American manufacturing. While many have focused on manufacturing in terms of bringing back or shoring up jobs in coal or in steel, Paperless Parts is working to advance the paradigm for 21st century manufacturing through the development of this platform.
The idea being that offering a variety of carefully vetted manufacturers will help create a robust platform to quickly meet the needs of those looking to prototype or do low volume production runs such that efficiencies introduced do not lead to a restriction on possibilities. In fact, while the company is targeting the elimination of $5 billion worth of inefficiency in the US manufacturing market alone, the real news will come in the form of the new growth that this type of effective matching system provides.
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