3T began business in 1999 and has been at the forefront of Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, for nearly 20 years. It is market leader in AM production and Rapid Prototyping products in a range of metal alloys and plastics. Its customers span the aerospace, Formula 1, defence and engineering industries worldwide.
The company now employs around 80 people and has 20 additive manufacturing machines at its Newbury facility, making the company one of the largest AM companies in the UK.
3T approached Create IT to replace their ageing quote and job database systems. Their legacy systems were strained and had become a bottle-neck as the company grew and working practices evolved.
A few of the challenges:
- Legacy systems were a growing concern as they were increasingly frequent points of failure
- Replace separate plastics and metals systems with one centralised system
- Providing transparency to the sales people on how quote pricing had been arrived at
- Implement a system that was going to be future proof, easily extendable and maintainable.
- We worked closely with 3T to fully understand their company, processes and direction, before designing a bespoke system unique to their business needs.
- We carried out a staged delivery of system modules, allowing the core system and subsequent modules to go live as they were finalised.
- We analysed the legacy systems and company operations to understand the differences and similarities between the metals and plastics divisions. The core system was designed around the common ground with extensibility as required by the needs of each division.
- The new quote module design provides multiple views of the pricing breakdown, and allows users to drill down into the detail of its composition.
This new Job Management System is now in operation 24 hours a day; facilitating, providing control over, and gathering live data on the production operations.
Numerous advantages extend from bringing the system software up to date technologically: not least is that it’s accessible from any networked device with a web browser, meaning that the company can make the most of advancing tablet and mobile device technologies.
Create IT Director Ben Cope said: “This is one of the largest and most exciting projects we’ve consulted on and project managed. 3T RPD can now run their business the way they want to. The software was entirely custom built: nothing was off the shelf.
“The system is run centrally on high-spec virtualised and highly resilient hardware, within a comprehensive disaster recovery backup solution. Performance issues are now a thing of the past and the system can be easily updated and maintained. In fact we continue to work on it to this day, further extending and broadening its functionality, as 3T RPD’s operational needs evolve and the company continues to grow.”