AdvancedTek AE Pro Tips: GrabCAD Print Reports
If you are familiar with Stratasys’ free print software GrabCAD Print, you likely know about its awesome features on the printing side, but did you know there are also useful tracking tools and reports to give you a big picture of how your printer is operating? Not only can you view the printer’s job history, but it can also show you the overall material consumption and printer utilization statistics. I will show you how to access these reports and how they can help justify your current and future 3D printing investments.
There are two ways to access GrabCAD Print Reports:
- Log into your GrabCAD account online and select the reports tab, or
- On the GrabCAD Print Desktop App, click the “History” tab on the left side of your toolbar and click “More Reports Online” on the upper right of your screen.
Once you have navigated to GrabCAD Reports you can view the Printer History, Material Utilization, and Printer Utilization for any of your connected printers (FDM or PolyJet). This essentially shows how much material your printer consumed over a given timeframe and its percent uptime.
Printer Utilization tracks when your printer was printing over the course of your selected time frame (year, month, week, day, etc.). For example, a utilization of 50% means your printer was printing over 50% of the hours in that given time frame. Nights, weekends, and holidays all included. Typically 50-60% utilization year-over-year indicates your printer is running pretty steadily, especially if there are no night/weekend shifts. If you are the printer operator you may feel this percentage should be higher; however, any down time for material changes or builds that finish on nights and weekends can drop this percentage significantly.
If you’re running your printer on weekends or during evening shifts, 80% utilization or greater is possible. If your lead times start exceeding more than 1-2 weeks, it’s usually a good indication it’s time to consider expanding your 3D printing capacity to better meet your demand. GrabCAD Print’s reports can be a great resource to help justify an expansion.
Be aware that Printer Utilization accounts for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, not just typical business hours. Some managers see 50-60% utilization and assume it’s only up for 4-5 hours/day, so be sure to explain the printer can run 24/7 lights out. If your printer is only running during an 8-hour work day 5 days a week, you would only see ~ 24% utilization on GrabCAD.
Material Utilization simply shows how much material your printers are using. This can be helpful for planning budgets and calculating how much material to keep on hand.
GrabCAD Print Reports are valuable management tools used for tracking your Stratasys 3D Printer investments. Obviously, your printer’s value is more than simply its percentage of uptime, but these reports can be helpful to see the bigger picture if there’s an opportunity to expand your printer’s use or justify additional resources.
The team at AdvancedTek is committed to helping you get the most out of your Stratasys 3D Printer investment. If you’d like additional assistance please reach out to your sales representative.
Written by David Kadlec, AdvancedTek Application Engineer