The cloud-based suite, which can automatically process three-dimensional engineering and production graphics provided by customers, not only automates business processes and saves time, but it also transforms and expands business opportunities for the huge and rapidly growing number of laser service providers.
“It does this by enabling laser-cutting businesses to respond to customers’ needs more quickly and to reach many more prospective customers than previously in a given time,” says Ivan Cooper, the managing director of ipLaser (Blackburn, Victoria, Australia). “So the new process – which we believe is unique in the global market – goes far beyond saving time and costs, to fundamentally change and improve the way a business built around laser cutting can grow.”
“This technology is a game changer across multiple industries, because laser cutting is one of the world’s fastest growing industries, with the machine market alone expected to exceed $US7 billion (almost $9 billion AUD) by 2024, as major industries adopt this fast and accurate technology that flexibly responds to the digital revolution of Industry 4.0.”
ipLaser’s new technology differs from conventional 2D-based laser quotation technologies in that it can be fed full 3D schematics of a product and sift out precisely all the 2D sheet metal surfaces required to be cut by a laser workshop of any size and complexity.
The new, automated 3D process eliminates many previous obstacles to the use of 3D encountered by laser-cutting companies, whose services are delivered in a 2D sheet metal environment, using surfaces that must be extracted from 3D drawings. Cooper says previous challenges in the conversion included high cost and time demands: “3D packages are expensive, trained operators are expensive, and finding the time to train people – if they have no prior experience – is hard, too.”
Simplifying the process makes it more accessible for any operator without 3D experience, in both large and small laser shops. This means businesses can scale up to handling 3D models as a customer quoting source quickly, driving opportunity and growth ahead of their competitors, Cooper adds.
The new 3D software complements and extends the success of the ipLaser time saving and revenue growing software developed from practical laser shop production floor and quotation management experience over more than 30 years.
The new technology taps into the experience and needs of thousands of ipLaser software users globally, who have contributed their ideas, catering to the needs of laser cutters servicing the world’s major industries, including automotive, aviation, architectural and construction products, engineering electrical, manufacturing, metals, mining and energy, shipbuilding, and textiles.
ipLaser’s latest software ties in seamlessly with a job shop customer’s existing 3D drawings and automatically breaks down their complexity into the myriad of simple 2D shapes that require laser cutting.
“No job shop customer wants to be asked to provide differently formatted drawings. In most cases, they’ll just seek to work with someone who can more easily meet their needs. With the latest ipLaser software, job shops can automatically extract their customer’s parts from a 3D model, effectively breaking down roadblocks to getting the job done most efficiently,” Cooper says.
“With ipLaser’s product suite, any operator can produce quotes from a 3D drawing, with no 3D experience required, allowing them to meet customer requests efficiently without investing heavily in 3D technology,” he adds.
The new technology also enhances accuracy and customer service by automatically using rules involved in the job for consistency.
Cooper and business partner Peter Olle have been involved in profile cutting job shops for more than 30 years. They base their new suite of ipLaser technologies (different parts of which are suitable for different laser shop tasks) on research and practical experience in developing a business management solution to ensure effective control, efficiency and accuracy of the quoting, order processing and reporting aspects of their own laser-cutting business and those of their user base.
The result is the ipLaser cloud-based platform, which is designed to meet the requirements of busy, modern laser job shops, by enabling accurate, consistent, and timely quotations for complex parts requiring multiple processes.
ipLaser seeks to address the following opportunities:
- Quote turnaround times, enabling customers to receive instant quotes with the online quoting portal. It also enables staff to prepare quotations more efficiently for customers from simple to complex parts with quote turnaround times from minutes to hours – not a day or days.
- Pricing consistency. The administrator-controlled rules of ipLaser ensure consistent quantity-based pricing to the customer, regardless of which customer service staff member prepared the quote or the location in which the quote was prepared.
- Process improvement. ipLaser promotes business growth by timely delivery of quotes to customers, either via the online store or direct with service staff. The simplicity of the ipLaser system enables a broader selection of company staff to assist with quotes and therefore releases more multi-skilled staff to address wider business opportunities, Cooper says.
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