Digital Reality — the parent company of Kraftwurx — recently announced the release of Pro-Quote™.
Pro-Quote, as per the trademark symbol, is a proprietary real-time 3D print quoting engine in the cloud, and according to Digital Reality it is an easy to use solution designed as an unbranded order management solution that runs on your website. Pro-Quote takes 5 minutes to set up and includes automatic file validation and order management including automatic shipping label generation. Furthermore, the company claims that it’s the only system of its kind available. Pro-Quote is part of the same system used by Kraftwurx called Digital Factory™ — a suite of software solutions specifically designed for manufacturing with 3D printing.
A video explanation of Pro-Quote can be viewed below:
I will confess that I struggled to understand the positioning of this product from the press release, so I got in touch with Chris Norman, CEO of Kraftwurx and asked him to clarify a couple of points.
The Pro-Quote solution is for other bureaux and 3D printing service suppliers to install on their own websites — its purpose is to make access to 3D printing cheaper and easier.
Chris explained: “Very few bureaux have a real time quote tool on their site. Customers call and discuss the part, the data for the part has to be loaded to an ftp site and then they wait for someone to look at the part and get back to them with a quote. If the part is corrupt, the bureaux has to call the client, deal with file formats, re upload and re quote. It’s time consuming and for $20-$100 print jobs, completely uneconomical! Pro-Quote is an automated system that provides printable files, with address validated, prepayment and guaranteed to print. No hassle. When you are done printing, you click the ship button and it spits out a pre-printed ship label for UPS.
The second thing this does is use something called Smartgrid. Smartgrid is our network of printers worldwide. When connected to the grid, anyone deploying Pro- Quote can sell prints in every material available on Kraftwurx.
Those orders are passed through to any bureau worldwide in our system. We have installed it on 4 sites already and those customers gain the benefit of us working to continuously improve the product.
As a client I don’t want to have to deal with bureaux that make me call to get ftp access, upload a model and then email me a quote. I would rather just upload, pay, have my part printed and then arrive ready to use or show off. Similarly, as a bureaux, my time is valuable and much of it can be wasted on quoting procedures that are unnecessary.”
A couple of interesting asides also came with this press announcement.
First, the background information supplied about Digital Reality. The company was founded in 2006 on the premise of empowering consumers for mass-customization and empowering manufacturing to deliver it. Moreover, the company exists to make 3D printing and product development more accessible by focusing on digital design tools and technologies that make 3D printing easy to use and more accessible. Okay, that’s all a given and makes sense, but I don’t really know much about them and was wondering why! They told me — the company has been operating in stealth mode since 2006 and only recently announced its existence. Mysterious, but considering the release of Pro-Quote, with more to come, also exciting!
I did know about Kraftwurx, it’s one of a few companies that has really got hold of a successful consumer-facing 3D printing business model, IMHO. What I hadn’t realized was the scale of the operation. Kraftwurx claims to have “the world’s largest distributed manufacturing platform powered by 3D printing. With 70 materials and 110 production facilities worldwide, Kraftwurx has the largest array of materials including ceramics, metals, plastics and more.” And, “the company holds several patents and patents pending related to web-based consumer-driven design and manufacturing through 3D printing.”
Like I said – more to come on this.