Markforged Addresses Common Hurdles in Additive Manufacturing with New Cloud-based Software
Learn about Markforged and their new Eiger Fleet additive manufacturing software designed for industrial automation.
One of the challenges in additive manufacturing is getting over the hurdle of scaling up. When 3D printing first hit the market, it was slow and a bit cumbersome.
It was great for making “rapid” prototypes and “one-of” parts but unsuitable for full-scale manufacturing operations. However, as the tools and techniques have improved with time, the feasibility of using additive manufacturing as a production tool increases.
MarkForged believes additive manufacturing is a viable production process. They have been developing tools to increase the usability, reliability, and repeatability of additive manufacturing processes. From machines to materials to software, MarkForged has been working to improve all aspects of the process to increase its scalability and adoption as an industrial tool.
Complex design made possible through additive manufacturing techniques. Image courtesy of MarkForged
What is Eiger Fleet?
MarkForged recently announced the release of Eiger Fleet software. Eiger Fleet is a cloud-based software system that provides a secure, centralized way to interface an entire fleet of MarkForged 3D printers.
Instead of downloading a design, sending it via email or SD card to a 3D printer, and then waiting for results, the Eiger Fleet securely connects the designer to the 3D printer. Once connected, the designs can become a physical prototype produced at any 3D printer in the network.
Jeremy Haight, the Principal Engineer for Industrial Automation and Additive Manufacturing at Vesta, stated, “We depend on the MarkForged platform with Eiger Fleet and Blacksmith to provide centralized control, enterprise resource planning, asset management, and other system integration and other print analysis for industrial grade manufacturing that our global business needs.”
The software package can manage users, ensure printing policies are applied uniformly across all assets in a company, identify and print parts to the nearest 3D printer, and comes equipped with many other such features.
Ultimately, this aims to simplify workflows, speed up turn-around times, and connect facilities with needed parts without manually managing a fleet of 3D printers.
Eiger Fleet can integrate printers, teams, products, and facilities. Image used courtesy of MarkForged
Eiger Fleet Options
The software comes in three varieties: Core, Fleet, and Offline. All three options feature data encryption, but each has additional features with specific purposes.
Core is a secure package featuring additional security, such as multi-factor authentication. Printing can be performed with a USB or over the internet, using encrypted data. Included in this package is unlimited data storage in a digital library for designs.
Fleet expands upon the Core option, designed for high-throughput manufacturing. The Fleet option includes APIs for business integration and finite element analysis (FEA) export. Included in the Fleet license are ten seats per year to learn through their training modules.
The Eiger Fleet management software. Image used courtesy of MarkForged
Because this type of environment requires multiple users in different roles to access printers on the network, there is an option for role-based access control. This means users with one role use certain printers, and other roles can use different printers.
Suppose a support team needs parts quickly to make warranty repairs, while a production team just needs throughput. Certain dedicated printers can be reserved for folks on the support team, locking out the production team from those printers.
Another option is for offline use. Offline means that cloud storage of CAD files is held on internal servers and not connected to the internet. This is especially useful in secure facilities, as found in defense contractors, that require computers to remain disconnected from the internet. The Offline option also allows for print locking.
By integrating multiple 3D printers, their users, and their access, MarkForge is changing how additive manufacturing can be used in industry. 3D printing is no longer just a toy for printing keychains, but a tool for producing repeatable, complex designs at facilities across a global network.