3D printing company Markforged has announced the availability of Blacksmith, an AI-powered software that makes additive manufacturing systems “aware” so they can adjust programming and parameters to ensure optimal print results. The software, which Markforged says is the first of its kind, is built to enable smart factory environments and “Adaptive Manufacturing” with the aim of lowering production costs and boosting efficiency.
“For the last hundred years, machines have been unaware of what they’re creating and would happily waste millions of dollars producing out-of-spec parts. We’re going to fix that by connecting the machines that make parts, and the ones that inspect them, with a powerful AI,” said Greg Mark, CEO of Markforged. “Much like the way Tesla is building autopilot for cars, we are building an autopilot for manufacturing.”
Initially, Blacksmith will be compatible with Markforged’s Metal X and X7 3D printers, creating a continuous feedback loop to improve the accuracy of 3D printed parts. The smart, AI-powered software can apparently help to reduce waste and speed up time-to-market. In short, the software analyzes a 3D design, compares it to the scanned parts and automatically adapts the end-to-end process to produce in-spec parts.
“3D printing is just the start—we plan to extend the Blacksmith AI to connect all machines in your factory,” added Mark. “We will enable the first generation of machines that know what they’re supposed to make, and can adjust themselves to produce the right part, every time.”
Blacksmith will be particularly useful for the new generation of metal 3D printing which require sintering post-processes. The software can reduce and even eliminate the risk of distortion that typically accompanies the sintering process, making metal AM more industrially viable.