Markforged has announced the availability of its Blacksmith machine learning software for its X7 3D printing systems.
The platform, which was first announced nearly two years ago, is available as a subscription on all cloud-connected X7 machines and works to connect part design, production and inspection to learn through artificial intelligence. These learnings help the 3D printing system to adapt and account for variables so it produces parts that are ‘accurate and precise first time.’
Blacksmith has been designed to not only harness learnings from each individual printer set-up, but across fleets of X7 printers in use by Markforged customers. With the support of Blacksmith, the use of the X7’s integrated laser micrometre and a patented smart scanning process, parts can be printed and scanned simultaneously to monitor the printing process against the design file loaded into the machine, with the inner part structure and critical features being inspected.
Thanks to closed loop processing, the system continuously learns with every print. Markforged believes this represents ‘the first time’ that a printer is fully aware of what parts it is outputting and also expects Blacksmith to enable an increased confidence in every printed part, more resilient and agile supply chains, and the ability to accelerate time to market with reduced costs of production.
Read more: Markforged on its AI-powered Blacksmith software
“We knew it would only be possible to reinvent manufacturing with a software-first approach to building hardware,” commented David Benhaim, CTO and co-founder of Markforged. “Blacksmith fundamentally changes the way engineers think about additive manufacturing. For the first time, they will have confidence that their parts will perform as expected without a time-consuming process. Blacksmith makes our platform smarter and is the next step on our roadmap to bring the agility of software to the world of manufacturing.”
The release of Blacksmith will mean many of Markforged’s industrial customers will be able to enhance their implementation of its 3D printing technology. Aerospace company Leonardo uses Markforged 3D printing technology at its facility in Yeovil to produce tooling components and has said Blacksmith’s in-process inspection features will allow it to ‘confirm the accuracy of the printed part straight from the printer, without the need to inspect it manually afterwards,’ which will help to speed up delivery times. Another company set to get its hands on Blacksmith is Dana Incorporated, a supplier of drive-shifts, transmissions and digital equipment for hybrid and electric vehicles.
“Markforged’s Blacksmith enables dimensional confirmation of additive parts straight off the print bed, giving engineers confidence that the parts are within spec prior to use,” added Kelly Puckett, Senior Engineering Manager for Additive Manufacturing at Dana Incorporated. “There is no need for secondary systems, additional equipment or separate databases for results – all of which help streamline workflows and get us to market faster. Blacksmith also allows for comparative data when printing the same part in multiple locations around the world, critical for multinational organisations like Dana.”
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