Markforged, creator of the integrated metal and carbon fiber additive manufacturing platform, The Digital Forge, announced three key additions to the platform: the Metal X Gen 2, Next Day Metal, and the X7 Field Edition. Together, these hardware and software releases will help manufacturers overcome global supply chain challenges by producing parts efficiently and safely at the point of need. These products enable manufacturers to recover faster when parts break, operate with less on-hand inventory, and minimize equipment downtime.
The Metal X Gen 2 builds on the legacy of the original Metal X System released in 2017. It pushes the boundaries for printing complex, industrial-grade metal parts with hardware developments that improve user experience and increase operator safety. New features include an external seven-inch touchscreen, door position sensors, and additional chamber insulation.
In tandem with the introduction of the Metal X Gen 2, Markforged will release Next Day Metal across its entire global fleet of metal printers. This over-the-air software update unlocks print speeds that are twice as fast as previous speeds. Wash and dry times — an essential step in the metal 3D printing process — are now more accurate for smaller parts, shortening the required debind 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. The increased capacity on each printer allows users 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 fulfill the entire order on time, saving approximately $25,000 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 utilizes 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 fulfill 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 rugged, field-deployable industrial 3D printer for tactical response to inventory challenges in remote locations, as used by the U.S. Marine Corps XFAB program. The X7 FE comes 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 zones and exploration sites and be printing in less than two minutes.
The Metal X Gen 2 and Next Day Metal for both the Metal X Gen 1 and Gen 2 are available today. The X7 FE is available for pre-order today, and will ship beginning fall of 2021.