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Quoting meets artificial intelligence | The Fabricator

The engine bases quotes on a singular CAD file, and instant quotes are available online or through plug-ins on common CAD progams. Many quotes are automated entirely, though a team of engineers performs manual quoting for very complex parts, and those that require certain levels of post-processing.

To submit a request for quote, customers either upload a CAD file to xometry.com or use a CAD program plug-in. If a part can be quoted automatically, the customer receives a quote immediately. If the customer accepts, the part goes to Xometry’s “job board,” at which point a participating fabricator can accept or pass on the work.

The fabricator makes the part; uploads inspection data to the Xometry portal as required, along with a photo of the finished part; packages the parts using labels provided by Xometry; and sends the job to the customer—updating the Xometry web portal all along the way. Some shops ship parts back to Xometry for final inspection before they go on to the customer.

It’s free for fabricators, stampers, machine shops, injection molders, 3D printing providers, and others to join the Partner Network, but shops don’t start receiving work as soon as they sign up. “Our partners go through a ramp-up process,” said Michael Dickson, vice president of the Xometry Partner Network. “As partners perform jobs in a timely, high-quality manner, [more] jobs become available to them, and the complexity of jobs increases.”

By connecting many buyers with many sellers, the platform acts as its own marketplace of sorts. “And our partners can interact with us as well,” said Aaron Lichtig, vice president of growth marketing. “If they accept the job, they’re telling us that the price is acceptable, but they also can give us pricing feedback. So we have this constantly learning algorithm based off of live market data.”

As sources explained, one of Xometry’s big selling points to its customers (which range from small buyers to BMW and NASA) is that it sells very flexible and adaptable capacity. If a snowstorm in the Midwest shuts down capacity, it can shift work to partner shops elsewhere to meet delivery.

Much of the Partner Network’s work tends to focus on low-volume, quick-turn jobs, but the network does include stampers and other suppliers that have the capability to scale up. Xometry makes money by taking a small cut of every job it quotes and wins. But as volumes rise, the margins can shrink, depending on the work. Considering there has to be room in the margin for Xometry’s cut, how can it quote high-volume jobs at the right price yet still remain competitive?

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Quoting meets artificial intelligence.

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