Posted January 21, 2021

What to Know About Instant Online Quotes for CNC Machining Jobs

A part going through the instant online quote for CNC machining.

The traditional method of requesting a component manufactured by a machine shop required multiple people to exchange data and information over an extended period. Customers transmitted requests through phone calls, e-mails, and paper copies of order forms. 

With today’s technology, inquiries for fabricated parts can dispatch instantly with an online quote tool for CNC machining services. Let’s look at how the instant online quote for CNC machining process works, optimizes the processing time of new orders, and reduces potential fabrication errors in the manufacturing of precision parts.

The Traditional Method of Requesting a Quote for Part Fabrication

CNC machining is the standard for producing precision quality parts, but it’s traditionally had an older and inefficient part request system to create quotes. The quoting process relied on sales staff to interact with customers and gather data for the new part request. 

Through conversations, e-mails, and order forms, and two dimensional prints of the part design, part specifications were processed in a sales department and then forwarded to engineering personnel for analysis and quotes. If there were any problems, the request was sent back to the customer through the sales channels for changes or enhancements.

This method resulted in two main frustrations for customers:

  • Time: Once the sales team received the order and passed it on to engineering, there was often a considerable time delay before analyzing the request. It was not unusual for a customer to send in their CAD data and wait for two or three weeks before getting a response. If the analysis revealed a problem with buildability, the customer lost those two or three weeks in their development schedule.

  • Communication: Often, the sales personnel working with the customer wouldn’t know the project’s engineering details. If the customer had any questions on the part’s manufacturability, those questions would redirect back to engineering. This confusion could be extremely frustrating for designers who needed specific answers to complete their work correctly and on schedule.

The traditional part request process, including analysis and quotations, was a flawed system. To provide the prompt service customers required, it needed to change. The instant online quoting system in use today at the top machine shops has made a big difference, and it’s something to consider when choosing a vendor for your next machined component.

The Benefits of Using an Instant Online Quote for CNC Machining

Requesting parts through an online automated ordering system reduces the time it takes to analyze and get a quote back into your hands. The online part request systems in place today are more than a point-and-click ordering process. They incorporate advanced engineering analysis tools. With a simple user interface in a web browser, designers can submit a new part request, which will go through the following steps:

  • Uploading data: A part request  begins by uploading your CAD files complete with the part’s dimensions and tolerances. Uploads can be as simple as dragging and dropping the file over to a web browser or installing a custom interface into your CAD system. Along with the CAD file, you input your contact information and part details, including materials and quantities, to complete the request.

  • Part analysis: Once a CAD model uploads, the analysis engine works to determine the part’s manufacturability. With the advanced artificial intelligence of this system, an analysis can take as little as five seconds.

  • Customer feedback: If there is a problem that will affect a part design’s manufacturability, the analysis system will automatically report these issues back to you. At this point, you can choose to alter the design or change the request’s parameters to make the part manufacturable. You can also alert the system to have a company representative contact you to explore other options. If the part passes the manufacturability analysis, you’re given a quote for the price and its delivery schedule based on the materials and part quantities.

  • Payment: Once you’ve completed payment, the request system forwards all of the part and analysis data to the machine shop for materials procurement, tool selection, and scheduling.

The entire part request and analysis process takes very little time and often completes in seconds. The online request system can handle all communication for an order between you and the machine shop, further streamlining the process. Additionally, there is always an option to speak directly to the machine shop’s technical representatives for further information. Not only does this request system make ordering a new part more efficient, but it helps to create a better part.

Leveraging Online Automation Helps Create a Better Part

In addition to reducing time and confusion, a machine shop’s use of an online part request system helps remove the potential for human error. Information and data can convolute the process of calling in orders or sending an e-mail. Meanwhile, an online part request system works directly with your CAD data and seamlessly transfers it from the request system to the CNC machining build order, usually without human intervention. 

The ordering system’s analysis engine is continually learning from each subsequent order on the most productive and precise method to manufacture each part. It will consider thousands of different manufacturing scenarios within seconds to determine the optimal tool selection, part position, machine orientations, and cutting paths.

Plethora’s Online Quote System

As one of the top CNC machine shops, Plethora leverages an advanced online part request application that offers all of the benefits discussed in this article and more because it’s custom-built for our manufacturing processes. Our Auto DFM system will analyze your part to determine its manufacturability and report the results back to you within seconds through our Auto Quote system. 

We also offer a proprietary add-in application that you can install directly into your CAD system for submitting your parts. In addition, our sales personnel are trained engineers to ensure that your technical questions and concerns are resolved quickly and to your complete satisfaction. 

At Plethora, our goal is to build a dependable partnership with all of our customers so you can trust us to help you through your next component project. Generate an instant online quote for our CNC machining services by uploading your design files to Quote My Part. Or give us a call at 415-726-2256 to learn more. 

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The Plethora Team

The Plethora team is your go-to CNC manufacturer for hardware done right the first time. We have the tools and experience needed to create high quality custom parts quickly and with precision, whether you need a prototype or production run.

Topics: Plethora, CNC machining