Over the past six months, Manchester-based manufacturing startup Fractory has established itself as one of the leading cloud manufacturing platforms in the world.
Now, Fractory is responding to changes in global supply chain dynamics to offer a first-in-the-world solution, becoming the only platform currently able to instantly process 3D models for pricing tube cutting with no need for manufacturing drawings. This solution reduces the turnaround time on tube cutting from days down to seconds.
“There is only one competitor with similar capabilities. But they are still asking for accompanying manufacturing drawings. We are seeing how our customers are gradually letting go of making traditional drawings to fully capitalise on the time-saving possibilities,” says Martin Vares, CEO of Fractory.
Martin Vares, Fractory’s CEO
Cloud manufacturing has been touted as one of the major forces to look out for by many industry experts, including Forbes columnists and independent researchers. While many of these companies are offering limited functionality in the form of flat sheet metal laser cutting, creating waves in industrial circles needs more automation.
“Our focus is on alleviating the procurement burden of engineering companies. Over 20 local manufacturing partners from the UK have joined us to offer a wide range of capabilities. Pricing 3D models for both bent and cut sheet metal as well as cut tubes, we can cover for the needs of most engineering projects, significantly reducing the time spent on making the step from CAD files to ready-made parts,” says Vares, explaining the reasoning behind the innovation.
The leading cloud manufacturing platforms Xometry and 3DHubs are both based in the US but are largely focusing on 3D printing and CNC machining. One of the latest developments saw Xometry acquire Shift, an European platform focusing on sheet metal fabrication, to kickstart their campaign for European conquest.
“To be honest, we are not afraid of the US giant entering the European market. Scientific research about the future of the industry points in a single direction – cloud manufacturing. Today, we are all in the early stages, trying to prove our effectiveness to the traditional industry. So our first mission is educating the sector, rather than competing with each other,” comments Fractory’s CTO on the state of the market.
The next step in the journey towards full automation is tackling CNC machining services.