California-based digital manufacturing service provider 3Diligent has expanded two applications within its Vulcury digital manufacturing platform. Updates to the firm’s algorithm-based manufacturing-as-a-service application, ProdEX, and Shopsight, its scalable shop management system, will gift customers higher return on investment (ROI) from advertising, and aid them in developing new products.
“Service bureaus are now empowered to use the 3Diligent platform to drive their business forward more than ever before,” said Cullen Hilkene, 3Diligent founder and CEO. “With Connect advertising, they have another tool at their disposal to identify qualified new business. And with Connect’s new DFM tools, bureaus can identify client design issues faster, or those designers can simply bring better designs to them for production.”
3Diligent’s ProdEX and Shopsight applications
ProdEX connects engineers and buyers seeking custom parts on-demand with manufacturers from around the world. The software assesses requests for quotes (RFQs) submitted by users through proprietary algorithms, then issues quotes and matches up customers with producers. Search tools also allow customers to search for and identify solutions from the ProdEX database.
3Diligent’s subscription-based Shopsight application supplies users with remote assessment, quoting, and project management tools, after providing access to project opportunities arising from ProdEX. The software aids manufacturing shop operators in streamlining and enhancing their pre-production and production operations.
Both systems have integrated 3Diligent’s Connect interface, which utilizes Zoom video conferencing tools and secure online portals to facilitate direct communication between customers and manufacturers.
Integrating Connect advertising
As part of the latest update, manufacturers can now advertise within the Connect interface through an RFQ-driven ad service. Manufacturers will be able to create tailored text adverts that will display based on a customer’s requirements and RFQ inputs, as opposed to keywords that form the basis of traditional search engines.
According to 3Diligent, Connect Advertising will deliver a higher ROI for manufacturers, as well as enable customers to better seek qualified manufacturers relevant to their product demands.
Implementing the Design Studio portal
ProdEX and Shopsight will now incorporate a Design Studio portal as part of the update, which aims to assist users in developing new products.
After uploading their design files to the Design Studio portal, users can request Design For Manufacturing (DFM) studies to be run on their design. Through the studies, users can recognize where the design can be improved to speed up the manufacturing process and reduce costs. For now, the manufacturing processes covered by the Design Studio portal include milling, turning, sheet metal bending and forming, and injection molding, with more due to be added in the future.
“3Diligent has introduced two major features to enhance the experience of those looking to get something manufactured through ProdEX or those doing the manufacturing in Shopsight,” Hilkene continued. “These enhancements will facilitate faster product development and more fruitful manufacturing connections.”
Digitizing additive manufacturing
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) and McKinsey & Company, digitization of the manufacturing process is expected to create up to $3.7 trillion in value to global manufacturing. Automating the 3D printing process has long been seen as vital by many, and with the Covid-19 pandemic exposing supply chain weaknesses and inefficiencies, 3D printing firms are now more than ever looking to jump onboard with digitization and integrating Industry 4.0 into their processes.
At the tail end of last year, 3D printing software developer 3YOURMIND expanded its existing end-to-end workflow management platforms, while in February on-demand manufacturing marketplace Xometry launched its European instant quoting on 3D printing services.
Elsewhere, metal additive manufacturer Sintavia announced a collaboration with Siemens Digital Industries Software for the development of an end-to-end additive manufacturing software solution as part of Siemen’s Xcelerator portfolio. Meanwhile, German 3D printer OEM EOS adopted UK software company AMFG’s MES program to improve streaming and connectivity between its machines, and workflow software developer Authentise partnered with in-situ process monitoring systems developer Addiguru to advance its proprietary AMES program.
Most recently, Dutch 3D printing post-processing and automation company AM-Flow raised $4 million in Series A funding to build on its suite of AI-based robotics solutions, in order to create a “step-change” in 3D printing automation.
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Featured image shows ProdEX is 3Diligent’s algorithm-based manufacturing-as-a-service application. Image via 3Diligent.