ABOUT RAPID MANUFACTURING
Rapid Manufacturing is a catch-all term that speaks to the use of computer aided design (CAD) files to rapidly and accurately manufacture parts that would otherwise take lots of time and cost to set up for manufacturing on a traditional production line. 3D Printing and CNC machining are both types of rapid manufacturing. The graph below illustrates economies of scale as it relates to traditional and rapid manufacturing:
There are a lot of opportunities to utilize 3D printing. Below are a few of the most common use cases, across the product lifecycle:
The central key element of rapid manufacturing is Computer Aided Design (CAD).
Through use of 3-Dimensional modeling software, CAD designs are created that can be read by advanced manufacturing tools to automate the creation of parts. This allows for extreme accuracy and repeatability when it comes to part production. It also allows for relatively fast and painless changes to part designs. Instead of having to spend weeks, months, or years in tooling time to refine part designs, it’s just a matter of a few clicks.
Read: Wikipedia on CAD
Have a look at Tesla/Spacex founder Elon Musk show some of the incredible applications of CAD design and 3D printing:
At 3Diligent, we're believers in a few things. The first is that additive manufacturing technology, especially, is going through a sea change the likes of which makes spending big money on in-house equipment fraught with obsolescence risk. The second is that this sea change is driving an explosion of technologies from many corners, and unless you focus full-time on the space, you aren't going to be able to keep tabs on it. The third is that the technology still isn't push-button, meaning that thorough vetting of suppliers and a track record of happy customers matters.
None of this is to say that no one can justify buying a printer or identifying a good brick and mortar provider...those companies are our partners and depending on your company or circumstances, the calculus can come out differently. But for many others, the combination of relationships and intelligent software we've developed allow us to provide you a superior user experience and value than you could create any other way.
Most companies can make a great case for owning at least one 3D Printer, so there’s a pretty high likelihood if you’re reading this that you already have some additive manufacturing equipment. With that said, virtually every company runs into limitations of their in-house machinery, regardless of their size. No printer can do it all when it comes to material options, build size, accuracy, and speed. Even if there is budget for multiple printers, the obsolescence risks and human resource needs tied to that investment deter many companies. As a result, businesses often find they want or need to use professional service providers.
There are two elements of confidentiality that protect every RFQ submitted on our platform. There are additional confidentiality protections available for 3Diligent Direct projects.
The first measure we've taken for confidentiality is a secure platform. 3Diligent utilizes the same secure socket layer protocols as Facebook and Amazon’s secure sites. Our lead technical advisor was the original architect of the Stamps.com platform, which has made a nice business printing American legal tender in the form of stamps. Suffice it to say, data security was at the top of our mind when we built our platform.
Second, the Vendor Agreement that every 3Diligent supplier signs before joining our platform establishes that they will exercise industry standard discretion with every piece of information they gather through our platform. Please note that this is not a formal Confidentiality Agreement, but rather a code of ethics.
For projects with competitively sensitive intellectual property, we encourage you to utilize our 3Diligent Direct service.
When submitting an RFQ to 3Diligent Direct, you are able to check a box triggering the strict confidentiality provisions of our customer and vendor agreements. These provisions are outlined in Section 2 of our Customer Agreement, which is posted within the Customer Knowledge Center and the screen before you submit an RFQ. In brief, we told our lawyer that we needed provisions strict enough that we would consistently be able to sign customer NDAs knowing that ours was more strict.
The second element of 3Diligent Direct is naturally the hands-on nature of the service. You may specify when you are submitting an RFQ the number and nature of supplier partners you'd like for us to work with on the project. We'll take your lead, working with as little as a single partner on your project.