RATHER than having staff make educated guesses, Australian company ipLaser has developed an automated laser cutting quotation system that addresses problems caused by ‘traditional’ quoting methods.
Unlike quoting tools, ipLaser uses a CAD drawing as the source of information for the quote, with users no longer needed to rely on estimates of a part shape or time.
According to Peter Olle, technical director with ipLaser, the quotes are based on a set of rules and parameters which ensures a consistent quote.
"The quoting process has been automated to the point where significant savings in the time to produce a quote can be made," he said.
"The user is simply required to provide a CAD drawing of the part, the minimum information to define a part, and the system takes care of the rest. The technology used by the ipLaser quoting engine not only ensures that the quotes are consistent, but they are also accurate.
"The algorithm that calculates the part processing time is modelled on a physical machine, rather than using linear distance. The system takes into account deceleration/acceleration required when cornering.
"This means that your quote for a complicated part (for example, a saw blade) is not the same as for a simple rectangle of the same distance. Material pricing is also accurate and competitive, with ipLaser calculating material prices based on an approximate true shape nest."
Glen Gangemi, manager of Townsville Laser Cutting, one of the first users of ipLaser, said the software has decreased the company’s quoting time.
"Plus there are now fewer errors from quoting to production because it is an integrated process. It has helped in minimising our error rates and works well on simple and complicated parts. In fact everything," Gangemi told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
"The software is the best improvement we have made in a long time. Customers love the new service; their quotes are exactly the same every time.
"Plus it is 100% accurate. We have never given out quotes that we can’t make money on. It gives us the right price every time."
As well, ipLaser comes equipped with the technology to provide users with a 24/7 store front where their customers may obtain quotes over the internet automatically, rather like booking an airplane ticket.
The system can also be used in-house by the supplier to generate a laser quote by utilising "drawings" as the source of the quote, rather than guess work.
"The service is delivered as a web site that we host on behalf of the laser cutting supplier rather than supplying the software outright," Olle said.
"We integrate our technologies with the user’s existing web site to offer the user’s customers prompt quotations for the supply of laser cut services including the material component if required. Each of the member laser cutting suppliers is assigned a unique sub domain ensuring that data is kept secure, and isolated.
"The supplier controls the quoting system. They set up their quotation parameters including their feed tables, hourly rates, material costs, customer discounts and any other parameters and our system will utilise these parameters to calculate the customer’s price."