Zortrax inCloud printing management system aims to optimize the operation of 3D printing manufacturing processes for both businesses and single device users by reducing the number of man-hours necessary to run the printing process.
Before becoming available to the public today, the system has previously been used by Zortrax staff to manage around 200 printers at its headquarters.
“Hundreds of different designs, prototypes, and test prints are created in our company every day. Our managers stood in need of the effective software to operate multiple devices simultaneously,” said Rafał Tomasiak, Zortrax CEO. “It was important not only to be able to initiate specific prints remotely but also to look into the history of the printouts and to check the current state of the given machine without having to approach it.”
Remote 3D printing
Embracing cloud productivity tools is something many companies have had to do more of during the Covid-19 pandemic, and cloud-based systems have already been operating for some time in a bid to aid 3D printing workflow processes.
One of these is MakerOS, a web-based collaboration platform designed for digital fabrication and 3D printing companies, and their clients, which was launched in 2015. Since then, the software has been used by the likes of solo entrepreneurs, SMEs and big innovation labs.
More recently, Russian manufacturing service provider, LOGEEKs DM, launched a new cloud platform dedicated to analyzing the manufacturability of a 3D model for 3D printing in September last year, and a few months prior to this, 3D printer OEM Ultimaker announced a cloud platform enhancement to its Cura 3D printing workflow.
Zortrax inCloud printing management system
The new inCloud system allows users to upload a model to their chosen 3D printer and start or pause the printing process remotely. Aimed predominantly at businesses running large-scale printing farms, the platform’s Multiprint function enables the selection of currently available devices and the order of mass printouts, meaning all models are manufactured and finished at the same time.
The system facilitates the building of teams of users with access to the inCloud service, who can then be assigned available 3D printers.
“The inCloud system allows you to assign individual devices to a selected group of employees – this is especially important in large companies where one printer is operated by several people,” continued Tomasiak. “The solution we have created improves the entire printing process. We use this system every day while planning work on our devices. Now, we are making it available to all users of Zortrax printers.”
Cameras are built into the M Series Plus machines to allow users to confirm if the previously printed models have been removed from the build platforms and if the machines are ready to be used. Live footage of the ongoing printing process can also be observed.
The need for employees to operate the machines on the spot is also removed as ready-to-print models can be uploaded directly to the selected printer.
According to Zortrax, its inCloud system has been designed to ensure the ‘highest possible level’ of privacy, to ease the minds of users whose projects may be confidential.
“We know that models and prototypes created on our printers are valuable intellectual property,” said Paweł Gulewicz, Head of I.T. at Zortrax. “Protecting our users’ privacy is one of our top priorities. We guarantee the highest level of security.”
Models are sent to the selected printer, or printers, through Zortrax’s servers, he explained, with all the transmissions encrypted to prevent interception by unwanted users or devices. Once the file is loaded onto the printer, it is automatically deleted from the company’s server. Zortrax only stores basic data, such as the material used during the process, which is necessary to provide users with the history of their prints.
The remote management system is available to users of Zortrax’s 3D printers from today, September 2, allowing the free transfer of models up to a total of 1 GB. The service can be upgraded to allow for 3 GB under the Standard Plan, 16 GB under the Professional Plan, and 50 GB under the Enterprise Plan, with the available transfer space renewed monthly.
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Featured image shows the Zortrax inCloud 3D printing management system. Photo via Zortrax.