Markforged has been at the forefront of additive manufacturing for the past 10 years, helping manufacturers revolutionise the industrial production landscape by bringing 3D printing right to the factory floor.
Markforged’s journey has been marked by groundbreaking innovations that have strengthened manufacturing resiliency, enabled industrial production at the point of need, and empowered manufacturers worldwide to create strong, accurate parts in both metal and advanced composites.
The Markforged story began in 2013 with years of research and development, culminating in a milestone achievement in 2014 when the company unveiled the world’s first 3D printer capable of printing in continuous carbon fibre.
This advancement opened new possibilities for manufacturing stronger and more resilient parts. A year later, the company launched Eiger, its cloud- based 3D printing software. With Eiger, Markforged offered a user-friendly platform that merged the advancements of its printers, materials, and software into one cohesive ecosystem – the Digital Forge.
Empowering modern manufacturers
The Digital Forge is Markforged’s intuitive additive manufacturing platform and has become the go-to solution for modern manufacturers seeking to optimise their production processes. With over 10,000 customers in over 70 countries, the company has brought on-demand industrial production to the point of need.
By utilising both metal and advanced composites, manufacturers can create strong, accurate parts with exceptional durability. This capability has become increasingly important, especially in times of supply chain disruptions, as it reduces lead times and ensures uninterrupted production.
Headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Markforged continues to design reliable and user-friendly hardware, software, and advanced materials to empower Digital Forge. Today, Markforged generates yearly revenues of around US $100 million, which is no small feat in the additive manufacturing industry.
Shai Terem, the President and CEO of Markforged, left a successful career in the finance industry to pursue disruptive technologies that could make a positive impact on the world.
“I believe Digital Forge is one of the most reliable platforms out there because it is very intelligent, gets better over time and is very easy to use,” Terem said. “When adoption of a platform like this for mission-critical parts happens, you will see more and more parts go from physical inventory to digital inventory, which means more cost savings and efficiency in the entire ecosystem.”
Speaking about Markforged’s vision, Terem emphasised the importance of creating high-value, end-use manufacturing applications that solve supply chain challenges. He highlighted the growing adoption of additive manufacturing, driven by the need for local production and reduced dependency on external suppliers.
Making strides in Australia
Numerous Australian companies in industries including manufacturing, food and beverage, mining, automotive, defence, aerospace, machine shops, construction, and medical, have embraced Markforged’s additive manufacturing technology, paving the way for innovative solutions and cost savings without compromising on quality.
“I think there’s an internal driver in Australia which combines innovation culture with real manufacturing capabilities,” Terem said. “For Markforged, we are manufacturing-focused and in Australia, there is a real need and real adoption.”
Richard Elving, Senior Director for Australia at Markforged, said the company’s strategic partnerships, along with the prioritisation of same-day service and support, have played a crucial role in the company’s success in the region.
Over the past five years, Markforged has rapidly expanded its presence in the country, establishing demonstration centres in major cities such as Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane.
By partnering with local businesses, the company has enabled Australian manufacturers to enhance in-house manufacturing efficiency and reduce reliance on external suppliers.
WA-based medical device equipment manufacturer Avicena was quick to recognise the contribution 3D printing could make to the manufacture and ongoing operation of its ground-breaking Sentinel Biosecurity Platform, an accurate, rapid and scalable molecular diagnostic instrument capable of detecting diverse pathogens, including COVID-19.
According to Avicena’s CEO, Tony Fitzgerald, the two industrial Markforged 3D printers in the company’s Perth office play a “small but significant” role in the company’s operations. Components of the Sentinel system are designed – and are now produced – in-house on the two printers.
“In the early iterations of Sentinel, most small components were made of aluminium, and many were sourced as ready made items. As we progressed, we redesigned many of the parts to improve functionality, and in many cases upgraded the materials we used to increase component strength,” said Fitzgerald.
“This is just one of the reasons we regard our 3D printers as an important part of our supply chain.”
Elving added, “Avicena has leveraged 3D printers to customise and produce complex end-use components, enabling faster time-to-market and improved customer outcomes. Over 100 components are now produced in-house, by 3D printing carbon fibre composites, rather than casting overseas.”
SQP Engineering, a family- owned business providing industrial manufacturing solutions, represents another successful adoption story. The implementation of Markforged’s FX20 and Metal X systems has enabled SQP to deliver better solutions to its customers and explore new markets, including medical, aviation, and agriculture.
SQP Engineering needed to produce a wireline counter cover for mining equipment systems, but their existing equipment and 3D printer couldn’t meet the requirements. Markforged’s FX20 3D printer proved to be the perfect fit.
It reduced the printing time for the wireline counter cover from nine hours to two and a half hours and improved the surface finish of the printed parts, impressing customers.
In addition to the FX20, SQP Engineering acquired the Markforged Metal X system to enhance its additive manufacturing capabilities. With these technologies, they can now manufacture a wide range of production-grade parts that are difficult to machine, offering better pricing and faster turnaround times.
Moving forward, SQP Engineering plans to leverage the FX20 and Metal X system to expand into industries like medical, aviation, and agriculture.
Markforged’s impact goes beyond commercial applications, extending into the defence industry as well. Secure Bits, a completely veteran-owned Australian business, has been working with Markforged to provide critical solutions to the defence sector.
By providing 3D printers and collaborating on special projects, Markforged has enabled Secure Bits to enhance its manufacturing capabilities and generate new leads. Moreover, Markforged’s comprehensive data security measures align with Secure Bits’ focus on security and confidential operations.
Markforged’s Digital Forge platform ensures that data remains secure, enabling Secure Bits to use the printers on-premise without compromising sensitive information.
Additionally, Markforged’s printers produce high-quality parts, making them suitable for various defence applications.
For instance, Secure Bits utilises Markforged printers to demonstrate an Air Force simulation system that requires rapid production of lifelike components. Additive manufacturing is gaining prominence in defence, both strategically and in deployable environments, due to its ability to quickly solve problems and fabricate replacement parts.
Looking ahead, Markforged remains committed to pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing, both globally and locally in Australia.
“I really hope to collaborate with Australian innovation and to have millions of parts printed here for the products that are being innovated and produced in Australia,” Terem said.
As Markforged celebrates its ten- year anniversary, Elving encourages businesses to consider bringing additive manufacturing into their supply chains.
“As Australian manufacturers navigate the challenges of the evolving global economy, the adoption of 3D printing technology emerges as a compelling solution. By embracing automation, digital transformation, and additive manufacturing, businesses can reshape their operations, overcome traditional constraints, and unlock new opportunities for growth,” he said.
“With successful case studies of local manufacturers leveraging 3D Printing technology, the path to a thriving and resilient manufacturing sector in Australia becomes clearer than ever before.”