It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the end of 2019, yet here we are! This year, we’ve had several big launches — from Inconel 625 to Onyx FR — opened up new offices both overseas and in the US, secured new partnerships, and celebrated many achievements by our incredibly inspiring customers!
Earlier this year, we launched Inconel 625, a nickel-based superalloy that is highly resistant to corrosion and high temperatures. With the ability to withstand temperatures up to 1000C, Inconel is perfect for applications that are exposed to high temperatures, corrosive environments, and rapid temperature changes. It’s used in industries such as aerospace, chemical, and seawater/offshore.
Markforged customer Nieka Systems in Canada utilized Inconel on its Metal X printer to create 3D printed crucible clips. Previously, these clips had been outsourced to a third party, but the wait times were too long for Nieka. The production parts needed to be ready to send out to customers in as short a time as possible. These clips hold cement samples and rapidly increase in temperature to 1000C and then rapidly cool down, making Inconel the ideal material. Louis Croisetiere Ph.D, Founder at Nieka Systems, says that “by adding the Markforged Metal X in-house, there’s virtually no lead time on these parts anymore.”
This year there was an expansion of available tool steels, starting with the shipment of H13 Tool Steel — a tool steel perfect for high temperature tooling. We added A2 and D2 Tool Steels to our lineup, which are typically used for cold-working applications such as punch and die sets.
On the composite materials side, we launched Onyx FR — a blue card certified, flame-retardant material for the aerospace, automotive and defense industries. Onyx FR is used in applications where high strength, low weight, and flame retardance is needed.
In addition to new materials, our printers continue to improve. Gen2 X7 printers now have access to the Turbo Print feature, which allows users to increase part print speed up to two times while maintaining a best-in-class surface finish that our customers love.
Michael Ott, Head of Production Innovation at Siemens Healthineers in Germany, says that this is an exciting opportunity to increase productivity. “Twice as fast means twice as productive,” he says. “With this new feature, we’ll be able to make parts in half the time.”
On occasion, Markforged customers want to leverage the benefits of 3D printing for parts and need CNC machining tolerances. Earlier this year, we released a machinability alpha feature, where the metal shell thickness can be increased to 1.5mm, to address this customer need. By increasing the shell thickness there is plenty of room to precision machine a part’s critical features without cutting into its infill.
And finally, we launched and started shipping the Sinter-2 this year — a bigger and better version of our Sinter-1. The Sinter-2 increases throughput, reduces cost per part, and can produce larger parts. We shipped our first Sinter-2 to a large corporation, and all our employees signed the inside of it before it was packaged up and shipped off to the customer.
We’ve seen some amazing applications and achievements by Markforged customers this year — whether it’s replacement tooling by Dunlop Systems & Components in the UK, orthopedic extraction device prototypes in metal by Shukla Medical and a 6-month ROI on an X7 printer by Saint-Gobain in the US, or the first CE-Certified 3D printed lifting tool in the world by Wärtsilä in Finland — our customers are set on changing the way things are made. And we know that next year can only bring even more exciting parts for us to share.
This year has also seen a lot of growth, with the addition of Shai Terem as President and COO. Shai brings with him operational and leadership experience both at 2D digital printing company Kornit, as well as several roles at 3D printing company Stratasys.
We also raised another round of funding, with $82M in a Series D round. Investors included Summit Partners, Matrix Partners, Microsoft, Next47, and Porsche SE. The money raised has allowed Markforged to open Massachusetts offices in both Cambridge and Billerica to increase production. It also resulted in the opening of our first European office in Dublin.
This was also a huge year for partnerships, with Markforged integrating Siemens’ NX™ software with our powerful 3D printing slicing software, Eiger. “Siemens’ partnership with Markforged can provide our mutual customers with an optimally integrated design to manufacturing environment to realize the full potential of the digital factory,” said Zvi Feuer, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Engineering Software for Siemens PLM Software.
We also announced a technology partnership with MSC Software Corporation — a global leader in computer-aided engineering (CAE) simulation software and services. “Together, Markforged and MSC enable customers to guarantee the performance of a part from its material properties through to final part strength and weight,” said Olivier Lietaer, Business Development Engineer for Additive Manufacturing at e-Xstream Engineering, part of MSC.
On the awards side, we were pleased to be on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 list for the second year in a row, and to be the fastest growing 3D printing company on the list. The same night, we were also recognized as the MassTLC Massachusetts Emerging Company of the Year, and the Metal X was named the Innovative Tech of the Year in the Robotics category. Finally, Markforged was announced as the Inno Blazer of the 2019 BostInno 50 on Fire Hardware category.
Leading the way
It's one of our missions to continue to educate the world about the capabilities of industrial 3D printers. We launched Markforged University earlier this year in a bid to further educate its customers and provide them with the tips they need to succeed. With the option to come to Markforged HQ for the course or have it held onsite at their facility, customers from around the world have found a lot of success in Markforged University.
“It opened my eyes massively,” says Lee Evans, Project Lead at Hockley Pattern in the UK.
“The Markforged University curriculum is very useful,” says Hyunjung Choi, Associate Manager on the R&D team at LSIS in Korea. “I had thought that there were very few applications in our field, but now when I go back to Korea, if I see similar situations I can change the design or part easier than before with this new knowledge.”
Markforged also announced the work we are doing on Blacksmith this year — an AI solution that closes the gap between machines that make parts and inspection equipment. The result? Machines become aware of the parts they produce and can continuously adapt to produce the perfect part every time. This will in turn make factories more efficient than ever before.
While we can’t say we have 20/20 vision, we can say that 2020 will be a huge year for the company — a year of growth, more launches, and more mind-blowing applications from our customers. We’re so grateful to all of our customers for being on this journey with us, and can’t wait for this next year!