RE: Online quoting - some statistics from Materialise

From: Brad Johnson (
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 00:22:30 EET


Interesting information provided so, I have a few
questions about this online quoting thing. I
appreciate any feedback to help me better understand.

- How does the software handle the unique costs
associated with various shops?

- Does the quoting handle all rapid prototyping and
rubber tooling/castings?

- Is it web-based or require special software to
download and run?

- Why would a service bureau sell software that
provides an advantage to their direct competitors?
This does not seem to make sense to my engineering

- Who, in the US, is using EPOS now and how is it
working for them? Same as for you?

AND to anyone else with an opinion

- This thread seemed to suggest only 3 or 4 companies
that provide online quoting....why is that? does it
not work, or has the industry been too slow to adapt
to change?

- If everyone has online quoting, what will happen to
the market? Will there be a price war? How will that
affect things?

- What is the future of e-commerce within prototyping?
Seems most of what I hear is that making models is a
very skilled art and it's impossible to determine how
much it will cost without first seeing the project
specs? Is this true?

Thank you to anyone who helps.

Brad Johnson
Design Engineer

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> Behalf Of Mark Bliek
> Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 2:14 PM
> To: ''
> Subject: Online quoting - some statistics from
> Since the beginning of 1998, Materialise has been
running an online Rapid
> Prototyping service through its EPOS system
(Electronic Parts Ordering
> System). It is and has been a significant
contributor to the growth of
> Materialise, which now is one of the biggest Rapid
> and Tooling
> service bureaus in Europe.
> Materialise is currently selling this on-line
quoting solution
> worldwide to
> other Rapid Prototyping service bureaus. As
different companies will have
> different needs to run an on-line quoting system, it
can be
> customized, for
> which a separate division within Materialise
Software has been
> established.
> Some numbers how online quoting effected the service
bureau side of
> Materialise from 1998 till the end of 2000:
> 830 registered companies
> 1.100 registered users
> 5.110 orders
> 8.738 parts
> In 2001, Materialise supplied more than 7600 parts
which were ordered
> on-line.
> The quotes were all issued through the EPOS system,
this in addition to
> quotes which could not be handled by the system
automatically because of
> specific project requirements. The latter were
handled off-line.
> The numbers speak for themselves. The biggest
benefit for Materialise was
> the opportunity to grow, while limiting sales cost.
Also, the quotes are
> based on the STL files, which means that relevant
parameters can
> be used to
> calculate the quote accurately, instead of working
on just the
> bounding box
> dimensions. Because of accurate build time
calculation, capacity planning
> could be automated.
> Benefits for the customer were an instantaneous,
binding quote
> without the
> need of being in contact with a person (the system
works 24-hours-7
> days/week). Also, as soon as a customer was online
with the EPOS
> server, he
> was notified about special offers, new materials,
new machines and other
> developments at Materialise. The client software is
a free STL viewer,
> through which he communicates with the EPOS server.
The viewer
> can also be
> used off-line.
> As said at the beginning of this email, we now sell
the solution and
> interested parties can learn more at
> Test driving a demo system can be done by
downloading the client software
> (7.25Mb) at
> If you want to be contacted about an EPOS
installation for your own
> company, please look at for
a Materialise office close to you.

Mark Bliek
(860) 646-3948

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