Markforged has taken Formnext 2023 as an opportunity to announce its newest industrial 3D printer, the FX10. The new machine, built for the manufacturing floor, is based on a modular system that can easily be expanded or upgraded. Alongside the hardware launch, Markforged has introduced a new material that is compatible with its large-format FX20 system. The filament, called Vega, is a carbon fiber-filled PEKK that is suitable as an aluminum replacement for aerospace applications, among others.
The new FX10 system is engineered for the manufacturing floor, capable of printing robust replacement parts and tooling on demand. To facilitate the integration of the system in industrial manufacturing settings, the machine is intuitive to use, with a simple touchscreen interface as well as new automation and quality assurance features. According to Markforged, the FX10 requires less operator involvement than its previous platforms.
“The FX10 allows manufacturers to slash original part replacement costs when compared to traditional methods and keep production lines running without worrying about supply chain issues or spare parts inventory,” said Shai Terem, CEO of Markforged. “The FX10 can accelerate the digitization of the manufacturing floor by increasing the adoption of digital inventory to build supply chain resiliency. Our customers now have the potential to save even more capital by reducing physical inventory and boosting production yields while decreasing operating costs.”
As mentioned, the FX10 is based on a modular architecture, and users can benefit from the option of adding upgrades, like a printhead integrated with a vision module for enhanced process monitoring and data capture. The machine also features a heated print chamber, which unlocks significantly faster print speeds than previous industrial Markforged systems.
“The FX10 features a full suite of automation built to simplify the usage of the printer and increase adoption to build resiliency into our customers’ production. When a line is down, or a tool is needed, FX10 users can simply Press Print,” Terem adds. Other hardware features of the FX10 include automatic calibration (informed by a laser micrometer), printhead-mounted optical sensors that monitor the dimensional accuracy of prints, and a material drawer with built-in, individually sealed storage bays for up to four 800cc spools of filament. This material storage system is able to automatically change between spools during the printing process (users can also reload empty storage bays while the printer is in action).
Vega is the latest addition to Markforged’s material portfolio. The material is a carbon fiber-filled PEKK that offers users a combination of strength, stiffness and surface quality. The industrial filament is targeted at the aerospace industry, which requires materials with high temperature resistance and could be used as an aluminum replacement for production parts, including aesthetic components and non-critical structural parts.
“Vega is formulated to expand aerospace applications for our customers,” said Terem. “Vega incorporates PEKK, a proven material in aerospace that possesses excellent strength and stiffness. We believe this material will set the standard in print quality for high temperature thermoplastics and expand the adoption of our FX20 printer.”
Compatible with the large-format FX20 3D printer, which is based on Markforged’s Continuous Fiber Reinforcement technology, Vega is characterized by a smooth black matte surface finish. In terms of printability, the material is reportedly resistant to warping as well as resistant to Flame, Smoke and Toxicity (FST).