Online Laser Cutting – Why we no longer provide an online quoting system.

The sales team at GF Laser have experimented with online laser cutting quotation software a number of times. It paused using a well-known system during Covid as the material volatility meant they were no longer able to rely on steel stockholder prices for more than a few hours. Although material prices are relatively stable now they were also very unpredictable during the start of the Ukraine war especially for galvanised mild steel.

Whilst getting an online laser cutting quote may be more convenient and can be carried out after standard hours GF Laser feels there are still several drawbacks:

  1. High volume work still needs to be manually checked as there is a risk that the software has either wildly over or under estimated the cutting time. This obviously then defeats the purposes of being able to get a quick online quotation.
  2. Whilst automated nesting algorithms have come a long way they are still nowhere near as accurate or as flexible as a human brain. For example the programming team at GF Laser use 10mm gaps between parts when cutting 10 mm thick material. However, this isn’t always the case and an experienced programmer will be able to spot where the gaps can be decreased. This leads to a more efficient use of material and that saving can then be passed onto customers.
  3. The online laser cutting systems tend to charge the user per quote, this can work out quite expensive when you consider how many jobs a laser subcontractor quotes each week. This increases the overhead which again will need to be passed onto customers in the form of increase pricing.
  4. There is an administrative burden in maintaining software that offer online quoting. Cutting costs per hour and material costs need to be updated regularly.

Going forward it may be that the accelerating use of Artificial Intelligence can alleviate some of the concerns outlined above and sophisticated machine learning will be able to rival the nuances previously only provided by a human estimator.

At GF Laser we combine a semi automated route using software that was developed in house in conjunction with experienced IT specialists MTP IT.  This involves using the actual software developed by Trumpf (Laser Cutting Machine Manufacturers) for final programming, the interface developed takes the necessary data and puts it into an excel format for quotation purposes.

This approach gives GF Laser the best of both worlds allowing quick turnaround quoting without sacrificing on accuracy.

GF Laser