Paperless Parts Introduces Ability to Extract and Annotate PDF Data for Improved Quoting

January 12, 2021

Feature helps manufacturers better understand part intricacies, improve estimation accuracy and reliably open the quoting process beyond estimators

BOSTON — Paperless Parts, the leading secure, cloud-based sales and estimating platform for job shop manufacturers, today announced the latest enhancement to its quoting platform with a new feature that unlocks the PDF files commonly shared with RFQs and makes the technical data within them more accessible and actionable. As a result, job shop manufacturers and fabricators can not only turn around quotes faster, but the estimates are more accurate and consistent.

The industry standard for RFQs today involves sharing multiple PDF files with a job shop. While buyers do their best to provide complete information or make 3D models available, the reality is that most of these files are made up of multiple 2D CAD drawings, many of which have incomplete data labels, handwritten annotations or outdated details. Providing a quote or estimate based on these static and incomplete files is both time-consuming and often impossible to do accurately—especially since it often means relying heavily on the prior knowledge of experienced estimators.

Paperless Parts’ new feature lets customers use those same PDF files and the data within them in new, more valuable ways. First, Dynamic Measurements allow quick interaction with a print to understand dimensions when users do not have a 3D model. Users can click on the print to take dimensions that are not clearly labeled but may impact fixturing or spacing, they can toggle between unit measurements, and they can annotate in comments for future reference. In addition, Vectorization and Analysis capabilities turn a PDF into a Drawing Interexchange Format (DXF) to extract complete data, improving estimating accuracy and preventing return materials authorizations.

“Paperless Parts PDF feature is much smoother than our current method of using AutoCAD to pull the information off of the PDF, then transferring that file to the programming software and having to scale it appropriately. Now, these multiple steps can all be done with Paperless Parts,” said Rob Faraci, Value Add Process Manager at thyssenkrupp Materials NA. “Even when customers send us .DXF files that aren’t clean, the tool can solve for that right away. What’s more, this feature will allow less-experienced sales reps and estimators to participate in the quoting process and ensure that we maintain accuracy.”

Zackery Fennell, manufacturing engineer and COO at Ameritex and another user of the feature, said, “This is one of the coolest features I have seen from Paperless Parts so far. This will be very helpful in allowing less-experienced estimators and engineers to quickly and accurately build quotes when the customer doesn’t send a model.”

Additional benefits include the abilities to:

  • Annotate and Assign Tasks – Users can quickly annotate PDFs to better communicate with other team members around specific content. This includes making time stamped notes that may be easily referenced in the future, marking specific areas of prints and assigning tasks in the context of a drawing.
  • Secure External Sharing – Now users are able to quickly and securely share drawings with external vendors for review and quotation. This combined with PDF annotations speeds up the quoting process for outside vendors and reduces risk that something called out on a drawing will be missed.

“We strive to be one step ahead of our customers’ needs to be successful and competitive as Industry 4.0 becomes reality,” said Jason Ray, co-founder and CEO at Paperless Parts. “This new feature not only makes PDFs more usable, but it also opens up the estimating process to more people in a job shop so they can respond faster to demand. Ultimately, we believe this will help our customers win more jobs at more accurate prices and support their customers with greater efficiency.”

About Paperless Parts

Paperless Parts is the secure, ITAR registered and compliant cloud-based platform that is revolutionizing manufacturing. The powerful geometric analysis engine unlocks hidden insights and enables job shop manufacturers to modernize and grow their business by rapidly pinpointing manufacturability issues, creating quotes, and processing orders for additive manufacturing, sheet-metal fabrication, and milling/machining production processes.