Markforged, the Massachusetts-based 3D printing original equipment manufacturer (OEM), announced two new product launches at Formnext 2023 (November 7-10 in Frankfurt, Germany). In addition to a new printer, the FX10, Markforged also introduced Vega, a carbon fiber-filled PEKK material designed for the production of aerospace parts on the company’s FX20 platform.
At just over half the height and width and less than a quarter the weight of the FX20, the FX10 is designed for versatility and automation. The FX10 features two printhead-mounted optical sensors, including a new vision module for quality control. And although it was made for the FX20, the Vega material fits the same theme of versatility, giving aerospace customers the ability to replace aluminum parts with composite parts.
In a press release announcing the launch of the FX10, Shai Terem, CEO of Markforged, said: “The FX10 is another important milestone in our mission to bring industrial production to the point of need.” It enables our customers to realize even more industrial applications with clearer to cover return on investment. Combined with our Digital Source platform, we are truly starting to turn the vision of distributed manufacturing into reality. The FX10 features a comprehensive automation package that simplifies printer use and increases adoption to increase resiliency in our customers’ production. If a line fails or a tool is needed, FX10 users can simply click print.”
In a press release announcing the launch of the Vega filament, Terem said: “Vega is designed to expand the applications for our aerospace customers.” Vega contains PEKK, a proven aerospace material that has excellent performance strength and rigidity. We believe this material will set the standard in print quality for high-temperature thermoplastics and increase adoption of our FX20 printer.”
It seems notable that these are the first two product launches after Markforged unveiled on-demand manufacturing portal Digital Source (which Terem described as “iTunes for manufacturing”). As the digital source aims to enable versatility in manufacturing, FX10 and Vega are ideal products to strengthen the key selling point of a platform that facilitates on-demand production of OEM licensed parts.
In addition, both products offer another major advantage of Markforged, namely internal synergies across the entire Markforged product portfolio. Because the Markforged platform features such a unique variety of printers and materials that span the full spectrum of production-level additive manufacturing (AM) techniques, customers can expand their AM capabilities from prototyping to end-use parts with the ease they ever needed turn to another brand.
Markforged’s Business Development Manager, Ross Adams, explained this benefit to me at RAPID + TCT 2023:
“[It’s] an evolution,” Adams said. “Usually it starts with prototyping: ‘Okay, these parts are actually pretty good, let’s make some tools because this fits the sweet spot.’ And usually next comes a replacement part, [for a specific] Circumstance: “We need a part and we have the tools to make it.” And then when you print a part, you are there with the customer, right? You put it in an environment and it’s like, wait a minute! We can do this! It worked and it’s actually not a big deal. And that’s what usually triggers the conversation internally: Okay, where else could this fit?”
Although Markforged has an established history with an extensive portfolio, it’s not hard to imagine the brand’s business model moving forward to consolidate around its three most recent product launches: Digital Source, FX10 and Vega-Filament. These are products that have the highest potential to get Markforged into the hands of as many high-value users as possible, which in turn opens up the possibilities for the company’s variety of other offerings.
Images courtesy of Markforged