In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of several online prototyping and part production services. While some offer in-house manufacturing services, others leverage digital capabilities to provide excellent services to customers. RapidDirect is among the latter companies, combining artificial intelligence with Big Data to provide instant quotations to potential customers.
One of the best-known companies with the widest capabilities is Proto Labs. Then, there’s 3D Hubs/Hubs also providing quality additive manufacturing and 3D printing services. However, most of these companies offer access to their services only through a single interface. Many new and existing companies will require clients to wait a few days to get quotes for their manufacturing services.
Then there is RapidDirect, which has made the headlines in recent weeks. All thanks to its recently launched instant quoting platform. This system uses cutting-edge technology to analyse design data upon uploading. With this technology, clients can now receive instant quotes at any time of the day.
Receiving quotes is the starting point of every manufacturing process. Thus, exploring RapidDirect’s quoting platform will help us understand the range of services offered. Let’s get right to it! (Use coupon code RDENGUK for 15% off your first order through 05/10/2021)
Getting a Quote on RapidDirect’s Instant Quote Platform
As you may already know, RapidDirect focuses on internet-based quotation services. The first step is to register for the service, then upload design (CAD) files to begin building up quotes. This platform supports an extensive range of file formats. These formats include STEP, STL, STP, and more.
The first step before uploading is to select the desired service, which in this case is the CNC machining service. Once on the quotation page with parts uploaded to the quote, every client has the freedom to fine-tune the process and parts they wish to build.
RapidDirect offers a “best-guess.” This focuses on your part’s geometry and manufacturability to offer you detailed pricing. You proceed to specify the requirements for your component. Whether you start by selecting a process or a material choice depends on your preferences.
Most clients and designers already know what they want. Therefore, choosing the process first, then the material, is often the best decision. However, the ball remains in your court. As you filter the process and materials to be used, the price continues to update accordingly.
Once you choose the process and the materials, you can then go ahead and define your preferred post-processing options. The options vary from material to material and from process to process. You have all manner of standard finishes available, ranging from powder coating to bead blasting, anodizing, and many more.
Once you get to this point, you begin to notice that your quote is building up. Specifying the number of parts to be products is perhaps the final selection you will make.
An interesting offering here is that the RapidDirect quoting platform enables you to have a quick look at your uploaded specifications. There is also an online Design For Manufacturability (DfM) analysis that checks for issues in your parts. These include narrow areas, internal corners, thin walls, deep holes or radius, etc.
The system flags any issues detected on your part, and you have the opportunity to edit configuration. After you have confirmed all the requirements, the system will automatically show the price and you can click on the “Start Production” button to submit the quotation.
The Instant Quoting Platform and its Algorithms
Quotes come with numerous data, and there is the need for algorithms to improve constantly to meet the growing demands of the platform. The inability of the system to recognise the design will lead to mistakes appearing on the part.
RapidDirect built its quoting platform to meet all of these demands and more. The algorithms on this platform are constantly learning about the accurate quoting of every project. Therefore, it has the ability to adjust downwards or upwards, with the ultimate aim being to offer the most competitive pricing for your job.
Once you upload your design file, the algorithms examine the part and work out the pricing. They work based on the factors affecting the cost of the CNC machining process. These factors include the materials, quantity, surface finish, machining time, material waste, accepted tolerance, the difficulty of the design, wear and tear of tools, etc.
The algorithms may make mistakes by not recognising the complexity of the design, giving out below-cost prices in the process. However, that does not affect the client because the company takes responsibility for the mistakes and bears the losses. However, for subsequent quotes, the system must have learned from the wrongs. Therefore, it adjusts the quotation process to ensure more accuracy.
With this interactive design, there is no more back-and-forth file exchanging process. Users can easily configure components on their own without waiting for a response. The automated quoting platform will realise your CNC machining quotes in seconds, and you get parts in days. Such a digital environment allows designers to configure components on their own.
The Support Team and Instant Quotations
A possible drawback of this platform? RapidDirect’s instant quote only works for CNC machining at the moment. However, this does not mean that you won’t get rapid quotations for other services. Your injection molding, sheet metal fabrication, and 3D printing services will require artificial quotations from the experts at RapidDirect.
RapidDirect has no less than ten technical engineers and 15 sales engineers. These personnel are experts in their fields, and they are very responsive and flexible. They could submit quotes in a short time, and you don’t have to wait too long to get production started.
What’s more, they could also offer you a quotation list with different quantities depending on your requirements and specifications. Differing from the automatic response system, the support team could make suggestions to both new and old customers with the aim of bringing every design to reality.
RapidDirect has evolved over the years to do some great business when it comes to prototyping and custom part manufacturing. This company presents you with several options spanning a wide range of processes and capabilities. The processes are straightforward and well understood by clients, and they come at competitive prices.
Transparent all-in-one order management is the order of the day. You can easily manage all of your orders through a user-friendly platform. Every manufacturer aims to get products to market quickly, which is what RapidDirect brings to the table. All thanks to the availability of a well-equipped facility and expert technicians. To keep many manufacturers in the business, RapidDirect continues to push the boundaries to stay on top of prototyping and low-volume production.