FRACTORY, a sheet metal fabricator, won the award for Best Use of Tech at the annual British Chamber of Commerce Awards ceremony.
In total, the Chamber of Commerce has 75,000 member companies. After the regional awards, there were 77 finalists left competing for 9 prizes.
Using Technology to Innovate
Although the company has its roots in Estonia, the value proposition made the British judges’ heads turn.
Fractory has digitised the manufacturing of sheet metal parts by offering the service online. People can upload their CAD files, including 3D models, straight to the platform for instant pricing.
“Everything you see on the platform has been developed in-house. We would have been happy to use pre-existing working models but there were none. The technology was developed as an answer to the market’s needs. The uniqueness and necessity of such a solution is probably what brought us the award,” explained Fractory’s CEO Martin Vares.
Benefits to Customers
The platform caters to the needs of 2 segments – customers and manufacturers.
Firstly, engineers can now compare different designs and their costs without purchasing extra software, as using the platform is free.
If the price is suitable, they can confirm it for production. Instead of using the digital quoting system as an add-on to their own services, Fractory delegates the fabrication to manufacturing partners, taking full responsibility for each step from quoting to delivery.
That opens the doors for capabilities necessary to execute all types of jobs without having to look for a supplier by emailing or calling.
The possibility to use 3D models for quotes adds an extra incentive, as making manufacturing drawings usually accounts for about 20% of an engineer’s time.
Partnering Manufacturers Can Keep Their Focus
On the other hand, Fractory’s partners can fill their machine’s capacity by plugging in work straight from the platform to fill the gaps.
While engineers do not always know where to turn to in order to get short lead times or the right capabilities, the platform does. Therefore, every job ends up with a fabricator who has the expertise and capacity to provide a great end result.
Manufacturing partners do not have to organise the transport and they receive files that are ready for production. That gives them the freedom to concentrate on the most important aspect of their job – quality manufacturing.
“The journey from a small Estonian market to a significant one like the UK has been full of challenges but very quick at the same time. Engineers have actually been waiting for this opportunity while everything around us has moved online. Winning this award is a testament to that,” said Vares about the importance of the award.
Although they only established their UK office about half a year ago, Fractory has set its sights on next targets.
“There is no reason to stop here. We started by offering laser cutting services only and have moved on towards more automation. We are gaining experience and developing a product that can be used everywhere around the world. Our journey here has also shown us that an existing industry-wide infrastructure can significantly lower the barrier of entry to a new market. So we’ll keep in mind to add a box to our market assessment matrix,” said Vares, praising the Chamber of Commerce.