Markforged, Watertown, Massachusetts, USA, has added pure copper to the range of materials processable by its Metal X rapid Additive Manufacturing system. The company stated that the inclusion of copper will drive new manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies for customers, leading to reduced lead times and part costs, as well as eliminating the need for costly inventory.
Copper is the latest metal to join the company’s lineup of materials, which also includes aerospace superalloys like Inconel 625, 17-4 PH Stainless Steel, H13 Tool Steel, D2 Tool Steel, and A2 Tool Steel.
“Copper powers our world,” stated Greg Mark, Markforged CEO and Founder. “It’s everywhere. It builds our cars, enables phones, and keeps electrical equipment running. Copper has traditionally been an expensive and challenging material to machine and incompatible for 3D printing in a pure form with other techniques. Now, we’ve made it easier and cheaper to produce. Markforged 3D printed Copper will be a game-changer for the automotive and electronics industries, and it will open the door to innovation across many more.”
Mark added, “Every automotive factory in the world uses copper for welding. Complex production parts are required to weld tight spots of the car body. They cost thousands of dollars to make and can have months-long lead times. But Markforged is changing all of that by enabling manufacturers to produce parts in-house so they get them faster and for significantly lower costs. With our 3D printed parts, automotive manufacturers can print the parts they need on-demand instead of holding significant inventory and will be able to design new kinds of welding shanks that were never before possible.”
Markforged states that its Additive Manufacturing systems are deployed at nine out of the ten highest-valued auto manufacturers globally, and the company has partnered with one of these customersto conduct in-depth weld testing using copper. The results reportedly showed the same resistance as traditionally manufactured spot welding shanks, and the automotive manufacturer now plans to extend the use of the Additive Manufacturing parts to the production line and has reported reduced part lead times by twelve times and part costs by six times.
“I’ve always been impressed with the technology behind the Markforged Metal X system, and our experience with 3D printed copper has been incredible – especially when looking at its conductivity and structural stability,” commented the Maintenance Manager of the unnamed automotive manufacturer. “And now that we’ve successfully evaluated weld testing, we plan on expanding our metal 3D printing capacity for this and other metal components. 3D printing copper with Markforged is faster and more cost-effective than purchasing complex machined components, and we expect it to help us mitigate downtime exposure and reduce inventory costs by $200,000 a year using only one Metal X system.”