Onyx FR & Carbon FR
Markforged, an American public additive manufacturing company that designs, develops, and manufactures The Digital Forge — an industrial platform of 3D printers, software and materials that enable manufacturers to print parts at the point-of-need — has announced the launch of aerospace-ready versions of its Onyx FR and Carbon FR 3D printing materials.
Based in Watertown, Massachusetts, Markforged was founded by chairman Gregory Mark and CTO David Benhaim in 2013. The company is famous for producing the first 3D printers capable of printing continuous carbon fibre reinforcement and pure copper and utilizes a cloud architecture.
Onyx FR-A and Carbon Fibre FR-A materials are undergoing qualification on Markforged’s X7 additive manufacturing platform at the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance (NCAMP), which is one of two bodies authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to qualify materials for flight. Upon completion, Markforged will be the first to have a continuous fibre-reinforced additive manufacturing process qualified by NCAMP.
Onyx FR-A and Carbon Fibre FR-A have been designed specifically for end-use applications in the aerospace and defence industries, meeting the flame, smoke and toxicity requirements for a range of parts in aircraft interiors.
Both materials are available immediately, with the Onyx FR-A suitable for use on the X7, X5 and X3 platforms, and the Carbon Fibre FR-A able to be paired with the X7 system. Once they complete the NCAMP qualification process, manufacturers will be able to access the material information from the NCAMP database, making it easier for them to gain FAA certification.
Cooperating closely with NCAMP since the early part of last year, Markforged passed the tough factory audit phase of the qualification programme approved by the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) and a steering committee consisting of several industry experts with flying colours. The qualification programme is currently in the printing and testing phase. This will be followed by an in-depth analysis and reporting cycle. Full qualification is expected to be completed by early 2023.
“More Than Metal”
“Markforged believes in a future that is more than metal. We have long supported the aerospace industry and have parts in-flight today,” said Markforged president and CEO Shai Terem. “There is a multi-decade trend underway to transition parts from metals to advanced composites, which are lighter and offer greater efficiencies. Our deliberate move to support innovation in aerospace mitigates risk for these manufacturers and helps get additive parts in the air faster by simplifying the part certification process.”
While Jeff Pike, VP of Engineering at Cabin Management Solutions, added:
“In aerospace, it’s important to have quality parts we can adapt on the fly to make any changes the customer requests. Using Markforged printers and materials offers us ways to create low-volume, high-value luxury cabin parts faster and at the point of need. This results in lower costs and accelerated lead times, and with material traceability in place, it will enable us to move even faster in our development process and free up resources to focus elsewhere.”
It’s a testament to Shai Terem and his team that the company has developed itself a fine reputation within the aerospace industry. Even before the launch and gaining the NCAMP qualification of these materials, Markforged had gained one happy customer after another. One of those, Cabin Management Solutions, has used Markforged technology to develop more than 100 end-use parts for use in aircraft and believes material traceability will only help to expand their application and accelerate the path to FAA approval.
Judging by customers’ reactions and industry governing bodies’ opinions, Markforged’s Onyx FR-A and Carbon Fibre FR-A materials are products that will greatly improve the aerospace and defence industries, now and in the years to come.