Earlier this year, Stratasys announced the launch of a new software for streamlined print management called GrabCAD Print.
The software was released to beta customers who, over the course of the past five months, tested the program and gave Stratasys their feedback. Now, at the formnext trade show, the 3D printing company announced that GrabCAD Print was available to the public.
ENGINEERING.com followed up with Paul Giaconia, vice president of software products and strategy at Stratasys, to hear what the public release means for Stratasys and what GrabCAD Print means for users of Stratasys products.
The Start of Stratasys’ Strategy
GrabCAD Print was launched as a means of updating Stratasys’ 3D printing technology for the emerging Industry 4.0 era, in which factories and offices will be smart and connected. To do so, Giaconia explained, the 3D printing company had to make its printers smarter and more connected, as well as able to produce the types of components required by the manufacturing industry. Therefore, Stratasys developed GrabCAD print as a cloud-based software solution capable of integrating 3D printing technology into a modern factory or office.
To produce more realistic, accurate parts demanded by industry, Stratasys aimed to avoid the issues associated with the widely used, but highly inadequate, STL files. Rather than implement a whole new file protocol, such as 3MF, Stratasys designed GrabCAD Print to read native CAD files from Creo, SOLIDWORKS, NX, CATIA and Inventor. By allowing designers and engineers to upload existing CAD files, all of the data associated with those files can be read by the software and printed on Stratasys machines.
The cloud functionality of GrabCAD Print makes this possible from just about anywhere. Multiple users within an office can upload CAD files for 3D printing, whether they’re at their desks, on a lunch break or at home. With remote monitoring capabilities, these users can even check the status of their prints or the prints that may be ahead of them in the printing schedule from anywhere as well.
Finally, all of the data that goes through a network of printers can be collected and used as actionable business intelligence. GrabCAD Print is able to provide reports on such data as material usage, job history and utilization so that a business can better understand how to use its printers efficiently.
GrabCAD Out of Beta
Stratasys has run its beta program for five months, with over 3,000 people downloading the software in North America and over 300 users printing over 3,200 jobs through GrabCAD Print. Using these users’ feedback, Stratasys has continued to improve the software.
As Giaconia explained, “In the five months since we launched, we added more than 40 customer-driven enhancements on top the original plan. These are things like improving the overall capabilities around laying out the print tray, optimizing for a model shop scenario (where you really care about machine utilization) and providing easy-to-use tools for scaling and locating parts on a tray.”
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