As PrinterPrezz looked to scale production with its recent acquisition of Vertex Manufacturing, they had to start thinking about moving away from a manual paper-based system to a more automated and digital approach. With an increased workload over the past year, it was getting cumbersome for PrinterPrezz to navigate different spreadsheets for sales, scheduling, statistical process controls, material inventory, equipment maintenance. Google Drive was being overloaded with information, and not everyone could keep up with where everything was stored. Folders of physical traveler paperwork were traveling with parts through the manufacturing process, an unnecessary risk of misplacing important documents. They were making it work but needed a better solution.
Enter Oqton; After the right configuration and working together with Oqton’s software development team, PrinterPrezz created an environment close to reproducing its current workflows. During the process, they realized the goal wasn’t to exactly replicate each and every process and form within the Oqton Manufacturing OS, but rather to trust in Oqton’s inherent features to automate metadata and data creation. According to Johnathan Mai, Systems Engineer at PrinterPrezz, “the Oqton product design and software development teams are top notch; they know their product well and tended to all of our needs through the multi-month process of adopting the MES. At the same time, Oqton was very receptive to our input, even implementing some of our suggestions within a month. The amount of growth done by just transitioning into Oqton’s digital MES has been unanticipated.“
A huge area of improvement in PrinterPrezz’s daily work was in scheduling with Oqton’s Manufacturing OS. The PrinterPrezz manufacturing team believed in common, face-to-face communication to foster growth and familiarity across the team, which they continue to pride themselves in having today. However, when it comes to scheduling, details would fall through the cracks by not having a master communication method. Physical traveler folders were traveling with parts in progress, and sometimes fifteen minutes here and there would be needed to track it down. Since PrinterPrezz’s recent Fremont expansion and constant machine additions, traffic through its four production and post-processing facilities was ramping up. Oqton’s base scheduling module helped relieve some of this unnecessary confusion straight out of the box. Neel Kumar, Design Engineering Manager at PrinterPrezz commented that “with the flexibility of designating locations, available and trained operators, and working hours, combined with a visually aesthetic schedule, most of our team have found it easier to navigate ongoing projects around the company without having to check multiple resources or other employees.”
Oqton’s cost-effective hardware agnostic Manufacturing OS has quickly enabled us to fully integrate our breadth of printers and post processing systems. With Oqton’s agile development and continuous deployment of enhancements to their Manufacturing OS, PrinterPrezz looks forward to our continued partnership towards achieving our goals.
Design Engineering Manager at PrinterPrezz
Embedded behind Oqton’s scheduling lies a detailed and secure architecture. The method of designing building blocks to digitally construct part models allows PrinterPrezz to easily pull up any part serial number with a QR code and see where it’s at in production, pull up a particular step and grab the paperwork from there, post special notes/details for the next operator, or flag down quality for a deviation. PrinterPrezz continues to explore new tactics from which to utilize Oqton’s endless customization. Oqton's focus on security was also a critical deciding factor for PrinterPrezz, with mandatory requirements for SOC2 Type II compliance and 21 CFR Part 11 compliance with digital signatures. Vertex operates in an even more stringent security environment requiring ITAR compliance, and Oqton's existing relationships with ITAR compliant cloud services providers guarantees its continued deployment across PrinterPrezz.
PrinterPrezz has also found the deployment of the Oqton IIoT module to be convenient for connecting almost any machine having an API. So far, PrinterPrezz has established an IOT connection to four metal additive printers, enabling real-time monitoring of sensors translating to over 100 data fields and parameters. This allows for predictive measures for preventative action, automated log data collection during prints, status alerts to users for incidents that require immediate attention, and long-term trends, all items that would otherwise have to be manually allotted time for prior to implementing Oqton. Kumar stated that “Oqton was able to stream our build plates real time, and we have plans for connecting our Wire EDM, CNC, and other additive metal printers in the making. The idea of having all of our services on a central platform is extremely enticing, and Oqton is willing to make that work no matter the vendor, tool, or service.“