Markforged is on a hot streak introducing new 3D printers.
Just a week ago, the Boston-based company launched two new 3D printers. Those systems, the Metal X Gen 2 and the X7 FE, are updates of products already in the Markforged portfolio. Today’s announcement is a new product.
While the announcement doesn’t include a lot of information, Markforged President and CEO Shai Terem explains of the latest 3D printer:
“The FX20 is a beast of a machine and represents our commitment to providing innovative solutions to our customers to empower them to build anything they can imagine. The addition of the FX20 to the Digital Forge strengthens our leading position in the additive manufacturing market by enabling the robust production of lightweight, advanced composite parts. With this combination of hardware and software, our customers will be able to count on Markforged for production of the end-use, mission critical parts that are required to overcome the limitations of traditional manufacturing. This builds resilient and sustainable supply chains that extend directly to the point-of-need.”
The company further describes the FX20 as the “biggest, fastest and most sophisticated 3D printer Markforged has ever produced.”
The FX20 is a new high-temperature system ready to 3D print thermoplastics reinforced with continuous fiber. This builds on the original foundations Markforged laid as a high-strength carbon fiber 3D printing company. It also goes beyond some of the initial capabilities of the company’s other carbon fiber 3D printing systems.
Production is the focus here. A large system ready to 3D print high-strength, highly accurate, high-performance parts, the FX20 is geared to serve “even the most demanding and regulated industries, such as aerospace, defense, automotive and oil & gas,” per the announcement.
We’ll catch our first glimpse of the FX20 at Formnext this November. Global shipping is slated for the first half of 2022.
That’s all we know so far; Markforged does not lay out further system specs or details. The above image is all that they are releasing publicly today, we’ve been told. A bit more can be seen in this video from the Markforged Twitter feed:
There’s certainly enough in here that we can extrapolate on strategy.
Markforged 3D Printing Strategy
From the first, Markforged has been focused on strength in 3D printing. This has never been a company known for 3D printed Yoda heads. It’s always been about real-world usage. When I visited the company in Watertown, MA, I saw plenty of mechanical parts, including for Founder Greg Mark’s own motorcycles. I saw lots of functional pieces. The entire engineering line was focused on what they could make that would meet or exceed existing standards and expectations.
So the FX20 we know is building on that structure — and going farther. Functional prototypes and spare parts are one thing, but production 3D printing is a different ball game.
The systems introduced last week build next-generation capabilities on existing machines. The X7 FE, as a Field Edition system, is ruggedized. The Metal X Gen 2, together with the new Next Day Metal software update, enhances metal 3D printing possibilities with an eye on throughput and user experience and safety. Each of these systems is an advance with a target in mind. The X7 FE is ready to be deployed in real-world field conditions such as those experienced in the military. The Metal X Gen 2 addresses the next level of needs for metals.
So what about the FX20?
It’s bigger. It’s faster. It builds on the Digital Forge for integrated capability with software for a full platform experience.
So far, size and speed are really all we know that sets the FX20 apart from the rest of the Markforged carbon fiber portfolio. That portfolio, mind, currently includes the industrial X3, X5, X7 (and X7 FE) systems as well as the desktop Mark Two, Onyx One, and Onyx Pro 3D printers.
Our only other clue about the FX20 comes from the subtitle of today’s press release:
“Markforged Expanding Into Robust Production with New Printer Series”
Robust production. New printer series.
Production focus is a big deal today in additive manufacturing. And a new series, not just a new 3D printer, is certainly of note.
It seems we’ll have to wait until Formnext for fuller answers and to see the system in person (fingers crossed, of course, for safe international travel by November).