The three-day RAPID + TCT 2021 event delivered a massive influx of products from 3D printing companies, including Markforged’s new cloud-based software solution for its printers called Eiger Fleet. In 2021, the metal and carbon fiber 3D printer maker has gone through several production and pipeline milestones, including a new printer, new software and team expansion, as well as the new status of the company. company after its IPO on July 15, 2021, as part of a SPAC merger agreement with blank check company a.
During the three-day event, Markforged showcased the capabilities of its new Eiger fleet. The product was created to enable manufacturers to adopt a software-centric mindset by implementing disruptive additive manufacturing technologies into their more traditional workflows, automating business processes, and enabling greater control and efficiency. to print parts on demand at the point of need. It’s one of many products recently revealed by the Massachusetts-based company aimed at revolutionizing the production of industry-specific components, making manufacturing faster, simpler and more efficient.
We recently caught up with Markforged Senior Product Manager Ted Plummer, who introduced us to the company’s new products, AM software integration demand, and how the industry is transforming to create critical parts. .
For Plummer, the new software solution was launched to accelerate adoption of AM systems, turning the add-on from a small-scale operation into a distributed global manufacturing platform.
“Basically, Eiger Fleet will offer a connected fleet so that organizations can be nimble and agile in response to supply chain disruptions or different market conditions, and then share these learnings through the various connected platforms, helping companies solve problems much faster.
Coming out of the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for this type of software that fits into the supply chain is huge, and Eiger Fleet offers features that Markforged customers demanded. It gives users the ability to press a button, no matter where they are in the world, and have immediate access to the AM technology they need to run their business, helping them to scale. safely their 3D printing operations and enabling a large manufacturing fleet.
During the development phase, Plummer and his team worked closely with customer Vestas Wind Systems A / S. This Danish sustainable energy company 3D prints parts and tools for wind turbines on Markforged machines. Using the new software, the company can order a part from the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which generates a digitized Kanban inventory system. The component is then produced by the Markforged printer closest to the network.
Vestas has tested the Eiger fleet in beta and has been successful in reducing costs and time, such as producing a marking tool needed to assemble the blades. Assembling giant windmills forces the company to manufacture things in the field when they need them. Using Markforged’s software and making it work is a great example of how to take manufacturing technology out of the factory and put it into the world, Plummer pointed out.
At RAPID + TCT 2021 in Chicago, Plummer demonstrated the capabilities of the software to many customers, mainly how to use the Application Programming Interface (API) to integrate with their system or enable customers to innovate and solve specific problems for their use case. For example, just like Vestas, any company can now use the software to connect the PLC to its ERP control system, scan a barcode in the factory for a part it needs to replace, and a flat -AM shape can start printing it without human intervention. Plummer said his team is working a lot on this type of solution to automate business processes. Additionally, partnering product development with customers is ideal for Markforged to determine what they need from the FA ecosystem.
Plummer said, “Identifying the traditional blockers of AM adoption is essential for our customers to scale up production and grow. In the manufacturing industry, there are still many large companies that have only scratched the surface of what is possible with additives. To counter this, we are offering a set of tools that will allow them to have a solution that they can understand, that they can connect to their existing business systems and deploy.
The Eiger fleet isn’t just meant to solve prototype problems, Plummer continued. Instead, Markforged predicts that companies will use it to solve a one-time problem in extremis by creating fully digital manufacturing processes around data connected to the cloud.
“We are creating the tools to enable the transformation of manufacturing industry AM, which will provide greater flexibility in the supply chain. “