Markforged launches AI-powered industrial Additive Manufacturing platform

November 6, 2020

Markforged’s Digital Forge will connect industrial AM machines in a cloud-based platform offering artificial intelligence and machine learning to “smarten up manufacturing” (Courtesy Markforged)

Markforged, Watertown, Massachusetts, has launched Digital Forge, a cloud-based platform that the company states is the first industrial Additive Manufacturing platform leveraging AI.

Digital Forge is said to bring all of Markforged’s products together to enable the manufacture of production-grade parts on demand. By leveraging machine learning, it is said to create parts cheaper, faster, and often with better properties than possible by traditional manufacturing methods. The incorporation of machine learning technology means that the software becomes ‘smarter’ with each part it builds.

Markeforged explains that this enables companies to manufacture and deliver quality parts in a new way, and poses a solution to the supply chain issues made apparent throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Additionally, because the platform is cloud-based, it receives continuous updates to and improvements.

Markforged currently operates what it believes is the world’s largest connected fleet of industrial AM machines, serving more than 12,000 customers, including Siemens, Porsche, and Microsoft.

Greg Mark, chairman of Markforged, stated, “We started Markforged with a cloud-first, software-first approach that was designed for the modern world, and now we are applying that approach to accomplish things people thought were still decades away from coming to market.”

“Through the Digital Forge, manufacturers can use our powerful software to easily fabricate strong, accurate, and durable metal and composite parts for orders of magnitude cheaper than they’ve traditionally been made — on-demand and directly at the point of need,” he added.

The Digital Forge thought to be the first industrial AM platform that uses fleet-federated learning (AI/ML + data) to make the platform smarter and parts better with each build. This is significant because the platform is constantly learning from data being generated across its expansive, 12,000 + fleet of AM machines, which can then be used to instantly course-correct AM jobs. As a result, parts produced using Digital Forge are more accurate than those that can be achieved from mechanical hardware alone.

“Siemens Energy prides itself on delivering not only the world’s most advanced technology in the energy market but also utilising the best technologies to achieve that,” commented Pontus Johansson of Siemens Energy, a Markforged customer. “With the Markforged Digital Forge, the ability to create exceptional parts and put them to operational use is incredible. Our collaboration with Markforged enables us to continuously grow a better value chain capability.”

According to Markforged, the Digital Forge is being adopted by companies globally, with customers said to include the ten biggest aerospace companies, twelve of the fourteen largest automotive companies, and five out of six US Armed Forces branches.

“Electricity was invented in 1880, but it took forty years and the pandemic of 1918 to spark the Industrial Revolution that built our modern world,” noted Mark. “3D printing has reached a similar tipping point.”

“We are nearing the 40th anniversary of the 3D printer (2026),” he continued, “and I believe the pandemic of 2020 and the supply chain disruption it has caused will usher in the next great Industrial Revolution — the era of Digital Manufacturing — and we are on a mission to put the Digital Forge in every factory on Earth as part of that revolution.”

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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