Nov 7, 2020

The Digital Forge: The Future in Three Dimensions

3D Printing
Additive Manufacturing
Sam Scane
3 min
3D printing and additive manufacturing.
Markforged, an industry-leading company that specialises in the design and manufacture of smart industrial 3D printers, is preparing us for the future...

The Digital Forge is a new industrial 3D printing software launched by Markforged, a privately-held additive manufacturing company that specialises in developing and manufacturing smart industrial 3D printers, software and materials, designed to empower manufacturers to print strong parts at the point-of-need.

Their new cloud-based platform is designed around machine learning (ML), computer systems that are able to learn and adapt without following explicit instructions via algorithms and analysing patterns in data, and thus interconnect with other Markforged systems across the globe, reportedly around 12,000. 

Claiming to be the first user of ML in the sphere of 3D printing, Markforged can use their Eiger print preparation software, designed to allow users to 3D print anything at any time, to constantly learn from the 12,000 systems in their 73 strong country-wide fleet. This huge jump in data collection between all systems would lead to not only a more efficient system but a smarter one overall. 

This new software is inherently designed to use what the company calls “fleet federated learning” ─ a form of ML that uses data collected from a multitude of systems to build a database of printer data that allows the platform itself to become “smarter” over time. This will reduce the risk of mid-print errors and, overall, will minimise global print failures on Markforged systems. 

“We started Markforged with a cloud-first, software-first approach that was designed for the modern world, and now we are applying that approach to accomplish things people thought were still decades away from coming to market. Through the Digital Forge, manufacturers can use our powerful software to easily fabricate strong, accurate, and durable metal and composite parts for orders of magnitude cheaper than they’ve traditionally been made — on-demand and directly at the point of need.” Said Greg Mark, chairman of Markforged. 

Companies such as Porsche and Microsoft are amongst the thousands of customers that use Markforged systems, as well as the ten largest aerospace companies 5 of 6 branches in the U.S Armed Forces, and more who all contribute to the Digital Forge platform. With the new system being entirely cloud resource-based, it means that these customers can now access their printing abilities at the touch of a single browser tab. 

Mark goes on to say “Electricity was invented in 1880, but it took 40 years and the pandemic of 1918 to spark the Industrial Revolution that built our modern world. 3D printing has reached a similar tipping point. We are nearing the 40th anniversary of the 3D printer (2026), and I believe the pandemic of 2020 and the supply chain disruption it has caused will usher in the next great Industrial Revolution — the era of Digital Manufacturing — and we are on a mission to put The Digital Forge in every factory on Earth as part of that revolution.”

While Markforged is not the first company in the world to have this kind of technology, its firm place in the pocket of a number of leading corporations will give it the best chance it can have at developing evolving systems in what may soon to be a 3D printed world. With this kind of technology on the rise, and now more than ever the most convenient means of manufacturing parts and more, is there anything stopping the world from being a button push away from creation? 

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May 10, 2021

Lion Electric to Construct US EV Manufacturing Facility

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Lion Electric |Smart Manufacturing | Sustainable Manufacturing | Electric Vehicles | Electric School Buses | Electric Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles | Sustainability | Technology | Freight | Transportation
Lion Electric announces its selection of Illinois to construct its all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicle manufacturing facility...

Who is Lion Electric?

Founded in 2008, Lion Electric is an innovative manufacturer of all-electric, zero-emissions, medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles. Lion Electric designs, manufactures, and assembles all components for its vehicles that have unique features specifically adapted to the users and their needs. “We believe that transitioning to all-electric vehicles will lead to major improvements in our society, environment and overall quality of life,” believes Lion Electric. 

Lion Electric’s new Illinois Manufacturing Facility

Just two months after announcing plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation centre in Quebec, Lion Electric is expanding its locations further, selecting Joliet, Illinois for its new manufacturing facility in the US.

The new facility is said to “represent the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the US,” as well as being the company’s biggest footprint in the market. The new facility will give Lion Electric the capacity to meet increasing demand for ‘Made in America’ zero-emission vehicles and bring production closer to customers. 

It is expected that the first vehicles off the production line will be in the second half of 2022.

“Lion’s historic investment to bring its largest production facility to Illinois represents not only a win for our communities, but a strong step forward in our work to expand clean energy alternatives and the jobs they bring to our communities,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker. 

“The new Joliet facility will put Illinois at the forefront of a national movement to transition to zero-emission vehicle use, advancing our own goals of putting one million of these cars on the road by 2030. In Illinois, we know that a clean energy economy is about more than just vehicles – it’s about healthier communities and jobs for those who live there. We are excited to welcome Lion to the Land of Lincoln and look forward to their future success here.”

Lion Electric’s Agreement with the Government of Illinois

Over the next three years, Lion Electric will invest a minimum of US$70mn into Illinois. The new facility - totalling 900,000 square feet - is expected to create a minimum of 745 clean energy direct jobs in the next three years, and have an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all electric buses and trucks.

Scaling electric bus production and decarbonising freight and transportation

As the US moves to electrifying its school buses, the additional production capacity at the facility will help Lion Electric to scale its electric bus production, as well as produce an increased volume of heavy-duty zero-emission trucks to help governments and operators in the US further the decarbonisation of freight and transportation fleets.

“Lion is the leader in electric school buses and has always been dedicated to the U.S. market, and our commitment to be close to our customers is one of the core values we have as a company. This significant expansion into the U.S. market will not only allow us to drastically increase our overall manufacturing capacity of electric trucks and buses but to also better serve our customers, while adding critical clean manufacturing jobs that will form the backbone of the green economy,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and Founder of Lion.

“I also want to acknowledge the crucial role that P33 and Intersect Illinois, civic groups committed to developing developing a long-term roadmap for the local tech industry, played in connecting Lion with the Chicago area’s business and civic community to help further commercial traction, as well as engagement with key workforce and supplier partners.” 

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