In today's world of Internet of Things devices and new technologies like wearables and 3D printers, consumers and businesses alike often find themselves split between choosing products with open-source interfaces or proprietary solutions. In order to provide a cost-effective solution for manufacturing, we've chosen to develop an integrated platform with our software, hardware, and materials functioning as part of an ecosystem. This enables our products to produce high-quality parts suited for professional use with minimal calibration necessary. For those interested in professional results from their devices, whether they are Apple computers, video cameras, or high strength 3D printers like ours, an integrated solution is critical. Below are a few key benefits to an integrated system.
System Optimization for Better Reliability
With materials, software, and hardware all designed together, each piece of a product is part of an ecosystem. This way, the system can work fluidly with the inputs and outputs that it is given. In stark contrast, open source devices often allow for third party adaptions - in 3D printing this usually means nozzles, software, and materials. While this enables consumers to explore and adapt machines freely, it does not guarantee system reliability. This is one of the reasons why many 3D printing systems designed for production and business develop integrated solutions for their printers. Especially when products involve unique processes like our continuous fiber fabrication 3D printing method, open-source solutions may not be capable of controlling these systems in the first place. No time is wasted calibrating settings or adapting mechanical components: these machines are already optimized to deliver production quality parts.
Instead of being generalized to work with multiple platforms, an integrated system further ensures streamlined communication and an efficient interface when expediency is needed. User interfaces can be designed to work specifically for these integrated solutions, so you can spend less time calibrating and more time printing. The interface thus provides control over only the things you need to care about and adjusts for all the rest behind the scenes. For example, our software handles all of the temperature, speed, and control settings - we've done all the work to optimize printer performance, meaning that you don't have to. Clean, intuitive interfaces are most common with integrated solutions because they only share the necessary inputs. This aspect makes these types of products well suited for businesses in rapid product development cycles.
Scalable Feedback and Implementation
We are non-stop communicating with our community of users and innovators to keep improving our platform: new features and hardware are all driven by customer requests. User-requested changes combine the best of managed customer support with crowd-sourced idea generation. In order to provide powerful tools that benefit both the smallest machine shop to the largest Fortune 500 enterprise, we aim to add features that are both supportable and scalable. In just the past few weeks, we've pushed out two major software updates that came in as customer suggestions. By aggregating trends in the user community, product teams understand where valuable changes should be made to improve experiences for everyone.
An integrated solution, especially on a machine like a 3D printer, enables a robust and easily supported platform and delivers professional parts. Open-source 3D printers open up a world of hacking, allowing anyone to come up with their own combinations of settings, materials, and add-ons. However, for businesses and printing services, modularity is not top priority. Businesses value tools that get their products out the door quickly, and any technology that saves time and money by increasing expediency will give them a higher return on investment. As part of the Markforged goal to deliver production quality parts to every engineer, our system integrates our complex fiber routing procedure with an optimized software layout to deliver parts primed for production.