Seattle-based on-demand manufacturer Quickparts.com Inc. adopted new manufacturing technologies to offer same-day shipping of 3D printed parts.
The company partnered with Ventura, Calif.-based Nexa3D, which makes 3D printers it says can deliver productivity gains of up to 20 times faster, to launch its new service called Quickparts Express. Cnc Metal Milling Machine
The service aims to set industry-leading turnaround times for 3D printed, computer numerically controlled (CNC) machined and injection molded custom parts.
Most 3D printing orders generally took five business days before parts shipped, according to Quickparts Chief Revenue Officer Sal Mikel.
"Right now with our express service we're offering same-day shipping. If ordered before our cut-off time, your parts ship that same day," Mikel said in a phone interview.
He added that he doesn't know of any other company offering same-day shipping.
"Some competitors are doing two day, or for certain parts they can do next day, but no one is doing same day. That's a significant improvement of our own standard and the rest of the market," Mikel said.
One of the new technologies, Nexa3D's lubricant sublayer photo-curing (LSPc) technology, makes quicker turnaround times possible, according to Nexa3D Chief Marketing Officer Nina Swienton.
"Nexa3D was founded on the premise of digitizing supply chains sustainably by making ultrafast polymer 3D printers accessible to professionals and businesses of all sizes," Swienton said in a news release. "We are thrilled to partner with Quickparts to further expand access to our industry-leading technology and at the same time deliver 3D printing services faster than ever before."
In addition to 3D printing, Quickparts Express uses conventional manufacturing processes to deliver custom parts and prototypes.
For CNC parts, which generally take 5-7 business days, Quickparts is offering two-day shipping.
"We believe we can keep improving that offering in the next few months," Mikel said.
For injection molded parts, most new tools take 4-6 weeks.
"You send them to China to get them set up and then you get the first parts six weeks later," Mikel said. "We brought that down to five days. This is a combination of speed and doing five-day tools domestically in the U.S. We're removing all the supply chain disruption that has been going on."
In September, Quickparts acquired Clinton, Mich.-based Xcentric Mold and Engineering Inc. to strengthen its capabilities for the express service.
"Xcentric's cornerstone was the 5-day shipping time for injection tooling," Mikel said. "Over the years, they developed interesting automation and technology internally that enable the fast lead time to deliver tools."
Founded in 1996, Xcentric offers rapid prototyping, injection molding, and CNC machining at two facilities covering 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
The acquisition let Quickparts "offer a complete life cycle solution that will be executed with even greater speed and certainty," Quickparts CEO Ziad Abou said at the time.
The deal also made sense because Xcentric overlapped with many markets of Quickparts, which serves the aerospace and defense, architecture, automotive, autonomous vehicles, consumer products, medical and other industries.
In addition to the acquisition, several partnerships and in-house development also put Quickparts in a position to be quicker, Mikel said while on a business trip to Texas.
"I'm here testing technology," he added. "We're constantly looking for what are the best options for the machine side and the software side of the business."
Quickparts has spent millions over the last few years across the vectors of software, machinery, work flows and automation, Mikel said.
"Quickparts Express covers 60 percent of the market for manufactured parts," Mikel said. "For the other 40 percent, we have our traditional portfolio. That means 100 percent of the market can be covered. Our customers have options for their parts production based on their timeline flexibility."
The express cost is marginally higher, but Mikel said it is offset by the value of getting parts faster than before.
"The discussion is rarely about pricing. It's about how fast they can they get the part," he added.
Quickparts Express was unveiled in November at Formnext in Frankfurt, Germany, ahead of its U.S. debut.
"The early metrics are very promising in terms of interest and ordering," Mikel said.
The Quickpart Express's staff, partners and customers are pushing the envelope in the plastics industry, he added.
"The way to accelerate innovation is by working together with other companies and making sure each is focused on its core," Mikel said. "It's exciting because we're helping move the industry forward."
The Quickparts Express service will roll out in Europe in 2023, also with local manufacturing for greater supply chain reliability.
"With COVID in China, the war in Europe and tension between China and Taiwan, it's a very complex environment and we're removing some of the complexity," Mikel said.
Quickparts is owned by Trilantic Capital Management LP.
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