New printers and software updates to The Digital Forge allow manufacturers to overcome challenges more quickly and easily than before
Markforged, creator of the integrated metal and carbon fibre additive manufacturing platform, The Digital Forge, today announced three key additions to the platform: the Metal X Gen 2, Next Day Metal, and the X7 Field Edition. Together, these new hardware and software releases are built to help manufacturers reinvent the way they overcome global supply chain challenges by producingparts efficiently and safely at the point of need. Whether on a factory floor or deployed in the most remote areas of the world, these advances are designed to enable manufacturers to recover faster when parts break, operate with less on-hand inventory, and minimise equipment downtime.
The Metal X Gen 2 builds on the rich legacy of its predecessor, the original Metal X System released in 2017, by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in printing complex, industrial-grade metal parts with key hardware developments that improve user experience and increase operator safety to make metal printing even easier. New features – an external seven-inch touchscreen, door position sensors, and additional chamber insulation – make the Gen 2 even more energy- and time-efficient than before.
In tandem with the introduction of the Metal X Gen 2, Markforged will be releasing Next Day Metal across its entire global fleet of metal printers. This over-the-air software update unlocks print speeds up to twice as fast as before to produce high quality, strong metal parts. Wash and dry times — an essential step in the metal 3D printing process — are now more accurate for smaller parts, shortening the required de-bind cycle time. These factors, combined with an approximately 17-hour small parts express run on the Sinter-2 post-processing oven, can give manufacturers the parts they need more quickly and — thanks to increased capacity on each printer — allow them to scale their additive manufacturing operation.
Next Day Metal’s increased production speed will be key for manufacturers such as Markforged customer Angus 3D Solutions, a Scotland-based print services provider. The team at Angus 3D Solutions needed to produce some specialty tight-clearance wrenches for their client, and traditional processes would have taken too long and required that the part be air-freighted to its destination to meet the end customer’s deadline. By taking advantage of their Markforged Metal X system, Angus 3D Solutions turned around a prototype in three days instead of two-to-three weeks, and was able to fulfil the entire order on time, saving approximately $25,000 (approx. £18,000) in shipping costs and avoiding unplanned downtime for the end user’s operations. With Next Day Metal, this same part could be produced overnight.
“The Metal X has been an important part of our business since we first began using it,” said Andy Simpson, Managing Director of Angus 3D Solutions. The Scotland-based print services provider utilises The Digital Forge platform to produce key parts for its customers — including some of the biggest oil and gas companies in Scotland. “Our customers rely on us to produce specialty parts that can be time-consuming to make and expensive to ship quickly. Our Markforged Metal X printer enables us to fulfil orders in a fast and timely fashion. Next Day Metal unlocks a new level of potential for us to scale our metal printing business and satisfy customer needs on even quicker turnarounds.”
Supply chain and manufacturing challenges relying on The Digital Forge are not limited to the factory floor. The X7 Field Edition (X7 FE) allows Markforged technology to be deployed in the most demanding environments in every corner of the world, helping engineers, operators, and service members reinvent the way they tackle global supply chain challenges.
The X7 FE is a ruggedised, field-deployable industrial 3D printer for tactical response to inventory challenges in remote locations, as utilised by the U.S. Marine Corps XFAB program. The X7 FE is equipped with a rotomolded high-impact polyethylene Pelican case to protect it during transportation through harsh environments. The case contains all the tools, spare parts, and materials required for maintenance and repair operations in the field. Customers can drop the unit directly into harsh environments like combat sones and exploration sites and be printing in less than two minutes.
“Manufacturers are up against many challenges in today’s market — from supply chain challenges like rising supply costs and shipping delays to increased pressure from the market to innovate faster and stay ahead of the competition,” said Shai Terem, President and CEO of Markforged. “Since Markforged shipped our first printer, we’ve been committed to quality and continuous improvement, always looking for simpler, smarter, and more robust ways to empower our customers to build anything they can imagine. The addition of the Metal X (Gen 2), Next Day Metal, and the X7 FE to our Digital Forge are important steps towards reinventing manufacturing today so that we are all more resilient tomorrow anywhere in the world.”