As impressive developments continued to flow in via Formnext, held in Frankfurt from November 19-22, the momentum of Markforged did not slow. This time, in collaboration with smart manufacturer Wärtsilä, the Massachusetts-headquartered 3D printer manufacturer has announced the fabrication of the world’s first 3D printed, CE-certified lifting tool made by the X7 3D Printer, recently updated for better speed and performance.
Finland’s Wärtsilä, mainly serving clients within marine and energy, is discovering the benefits of 3D printing—especially on producing a functional item like the lifting tool so much faster and more affordably; in fact, they are now able to completely cut out shipment time and the need for space in a warehouse. The tool is lighter in weight, more compact, and easy to transport.
Previously made through conventional methods, requiring up to six weeks, the lifting tool has been redesigned along with being 3D printed, and now takes just a few days to manufacture. These are formidable tools used for moving heavy engine parts. Wärtsilä was looking for a better way to make the parts aside from tradtional methods, and perhaps even improve them. Combining the 3D design created by Wärtsilä and Markforged’s carbon fiber reinforced filament, the refined lifting tool now handles over five times its working load.
The team at Wärtsilä has been 3D printing the lifting tool for eight months now, and reports that they have saved a staggering €100,000 (a little over $110,000 USD). The teams tested the lifting tool at Markforged’s Additive Manufacturing Network, working with Bureau Veritas for international certification.
“Additive manufacturing opens up new possibilities for both our manufacturing and servicing operations with tool creation that is faster, less costly, and safe. It also reduces the need for stock and allows just-in-time production processes,” says Giuseppe Saragò, Director, Manufacturing Excellence at Wärtsilä. “This is an outstanding example of Wärtsilä’s smart approach to manufacturing technologies and shows the potential that new technology can have to optimize our operations. We are always evaluating other 3D printed applications and have already seen plenty of benefits across our production floor.”
The case study showed that AM processes pay off substantially. Both teams watched firsthand as the tool was used to lift a 240-kilogram engine piston right away.
“I think everybody was actually pretty shocked about the performance,” said Juho Raukola, Innovation Expert (Additive Manufacturing) at Wärtsilä.
Juho and the team at Wärtsilä are encouraged at the thought of saying goodbye to third-party manufacturers, as they can create tools on-site.
“We don’t have to work to someone else’s schedule,” said Juho. “And the beauty of 3D printing is that each design can then be printed anywhere at any time through distributed manufacturing, even on the ships Wärtsilä helps to maintain and service.”
“If we want another tool for production, with a specific customer design, it’s not four to six weeks like it was conventionally, but it’s now really a couple of days,” said Giuseppe. “We are able to answer the need and fulfill the need faster.”
Markforged has continued to make steady progress throughout the international 3D printing realm, from worldwide expansion to a sharpened focus on 3D printing applications. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.[Source / Images: Markforged press release; case study]
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