Metal and carbon fiber 3D printer manufacturer Markforged has announced the acquisition of engineering software developer Teton Simulation.
Teton Simulation is best known for developing SmartSlice, a program that allows users to automatically validate and optimize part performance based on the needs of specific use cases. Having now purchased the company, Markforged says it plans to integrate the software into its Eiger platform, to enable rapid fingerprint validation in “even the most demanding applications”.
“Teton’s integration and fit with Markforged’s technology stack provides the perfect place to develop the next level of additive manufacturing solutions,” said Brady Adams, CTO of Teton Simulation. “Many elements of digital forging, including Continuous Fiber Reinforcement (CFR), are game-changing, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to integrate our advanced simulation technology to help manufacturers around the world take additives [manufacturing] to the next level.
Markforged’s software offer
Markforged may have built a reputation on its ability to provide machines capable of printing sturdy metal parts, as well as those reinforced with materials like carbon fiber, fiberglass and kevlar, but in order to to really get the most out of these systems, it has also created its own line of proprietary software.
The first of the company’s current programs to launch was Eiger, which was released in 2014 along with its original Mark One 3D printer. Designed to allow users to go from CAD model to functional part as quickly as possible, the browser-based software includes all the functionality needed to build versions, print parts, and monitor their progress in a seamless workflow.
Over the past eight years, Markforged has also sought to leverage the industrial-scale production potential of its portfolio and launched the Digital Forge in late 2020 with this goal in mind. The platform encompasses the company’s hardware, system and software offering, but brings a particularly significant update to the latter, in that it leverages machine learning to make every impression better than the last.
Since then, Markforged has launched Blacksmith, an AI-powered platform that connects part design, production and inspection to help users reduce waste and get their products to market faster. In practice, when used with the company’s X7 3D printer, the program measures the accuracy of parts as they are printed, and it is said that this data can also be used to improve the print accuracy over time.
In addition to expanding its software portfolio, Markforged has also continued to upgrade Eiger’s capabilities, launching Eiger Fleet in September 2021. Designed from the ground up to help users scale existing workflows, the program essentially allows manufacturers to remotely monitor the efficiency of Markforged machines, and create a “distributed manufacturing fleet” while maintaining a high level of part quality.
Teton Simulation SmartSlice add-on
Teton Simulation’s flagship SmartSlice software, meanwhile, is designed to be integrated with other slicing programs, after which it helps users speed up the process of optimizing part parameters. By eliminating the lengthy simulations or build-break cycles often required to establish the ideal print setup, the program effectively enables users to significantly reduce their parts waste and lead times.
In the past, the technology has been added to Ultimaker’s Essentials platform and Stratasys’ GrabCAD software partnership program, to enable users of both companies’ machines to fully optimize their builds. SmartSlice has also been deployed in larger format applications as part of a Teton Simulation and BigRep partnership, which has seen it used to improve the efficiency of large-scale 3D printing.
Following its acquisition of Teton Simulation, Markforged itself now plans to offer the software as a subscription add-on to Eiger users, extending the platform to enable design, testing, optimization, validation and printing, all in one place. According to the company, this new offering will give users greater confidence that “printed parts will perform as intended” and potentially create new use cases for its technologies.
“The acquisition of Teton Simulation advances our industry leadership in using software to increase process automation and provides our customers with an easy way to validate their parts on the same platform they use. to print them,” explained Shai Terem, CEO of Markforged. “Adding this functionality allows our customers to use digital forging deeper in their manufacturing operations.”
Additionally, as part of the agreement, the Teton Simulation team will join Markforged’s software organization to help increase the number of industrial problems Digital Forge solves. For Teto Simulation, its CEO, Doug Kenik, said the deal could not only allow SmartSlice to reach a wider audience, but through its integration into Eiger, also help drive the adoption of 3D printing more. widely.
“Our team believes in the potential of additive technologies to truly change the way we make things, and have worked tenaciously to design a software offering that enables wider adoption of the additive,” Kenik added. “Joining Markforged integrates our technology into a cutting-edge solution that will reach a wider customer base and offer resources to scale it.”
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The image shown shows an engineer using Teton Simulation’s SmartSlice software. Image via Teton Simulation.