Markforged took Formnext 2023 as an opportunity to introduce its latest industrial 3D printer, the FX10. The new machine, designed for the manufacturing sector, is based on a modular system that can easily be expanded or upgraded. In parallel with the hardware launch, Markforged has unveiled a new material compatible with its large-format FX20 system. The filament called Vega is a PEKK filled with carbon fibers, which is suitable, among other things, as an aluminum replacement for aerospace applications.
Designed for the shop floor, the new FX10 system is capable of printing robust replacement parts and tooling on demand. To facilitate integration of the system into industrial manufacturing environments, the machine is intuitive to use, with a simple touchscreen interface and new automation and quality assurance features. According to Markforged, the FX10 requires less operator intervention than its predecessor platforms.
“The FX10 enables manufacturers to reduce the cost of replacing original parts compared to traditional methods and keep production lines running without worrying about supply chain issues or spare parts inventory,” said Shai Terem, CEO of Markforged. “The FX10 can accelerate the digitalization of manufacturing by increasing digital inventory adoption to strengthen supply chain resiliency. Our customers now have the potential to save even more capital by reducing physical inventory, increasing production yield while reducing operating costs.”
As mentioned, the FX10 is based on a modular architecture and users can benefit from the option to add upgrades such as: B. a print head with an integrated vision module for improved process monitoring and data capture. The device also features a heated print chamber that enables significantly higher print speeds than previous industrial Markforged systems.
“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,” adds Terem. Other hardware features on the FX10 include automatic calibration (using a laser micrometer), printhead-mounted optical sensors that monitor the dimensional accuracy of prints, and a Material drawer with integrated, individually sealed storage compartments for up to four 800cc filament spools. This material storage system is capable of automatically switching between spools during printing (users can also refill empty storage slots while the printer is in use).
Vega is the latest addition to Markforged’s materials portfolio. The material is a carbon fiber-filled PEKK that offers users a combination of strength, rigidity and surface quality. The industrial filament is aimed at the aerospace industry, which requires materials with high temperature resistance and could be used as an aluminum replacement for production parts, including aesthetic components and non-critical structural parts.
“Vega is designed to expand aerospace applications for our customers,” said Terem. “Vega uses PEKK, a proven aerospace material that has excellent 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.”
Compatible with the large-format FX20 3D printer, which is based on Markforged’s Continuous Fiber Reinforcement technology, Vega features a smooth, black matte surface. In terms of printability, the material should be resistant to warping and flame, smoke and toxicity (FST).