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Prrashant Sinha
Prrashant Sinha
Country Head

Interview with Prrashant Sinha

Additive manufacturing holds significant promise for revolutionising industrial production

Markforged is revolutionising the manufacturing industry with its cutting-edge Digital Forge platform, the world’s most reliable and user-friendly additive manufacturing system. By integrating cloud-based, AI-powered technology, Markforged enables manufacturers to produce high-quality industrial parts on-demand, directly on the factory floor, enhancing flexibility and strengthening supply chains. Speaking to TechnicalTextile.Net, Country Manager (India) Prrashant Sinha discusses additive manufacturing at length.

TT: How do you see additive manufacturing technologies evolving in the next decade, and what impact do you anticipate these advancements will have on industries such as aerospace, automotive, and healthcare?

With additive manufacturing, companies can concisely produce batches of a product or part to only meet demand — reducing surplus, the need for storage and the amount of wasted items — while the amount of material wastage is significantly lower than in more traditional, subtractive manufacturing techniques.

TT: What are some of the main challenges facing the widespread adoption of additive manufacturing in industrial production?

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, holds significant promise for revolutionising industrial production. However, several challenges hinder its widespread adoption:
Material Limitations: Many additive manufacturing techniques are limited in the types of materials they can use compared to traditional manufacturing processes. Developing new materials suitable for additive manufacturing and optimising existing ones is crucial.
Quality Control and Certification: Ensuring consistent quality and reliability of parts produced through additive manufacturing is challenging. Standardisation and certification processes need to be established to guarantee the performance of 3D-printed components.
Production Speed: Additive manufacturing processes can be slower than traditional manufacturing methods, particularly for large-scale production. Improving printing speeds without compromising quality is essential for enhancing efficiency.
Cost-effectiveness: Initial setup costs for additive manufacturing systems can be high, and the cost per part may not always be competitive with traditional manufacturing methods. Finding ways to reduce costs, such as optimising designs for additive manufacturing and improving process efficiency, is vital.
Scalability: Scaling up additive manufacturing for mass production while maintaining quality and efficiency remains a challenge. Innovations in large-scale printing technologies and production workflows are necessary to address this issue.
Intellectual Property and Legal Issues: Additive manufacturing raises concerns about intellectual property protection, including unauthorised replication of patented designs. Developing robust legal frameworks and digital rights management systems is essential to protect intellectual property rights.
Post-processing and Finishing: Additive manufacturing often requires post-processing steps, such as surface finishing and heat treatment, to achieve desired properties and surface quality. Streamlining post-processing techniques can improve overall efficiency and reduce production time.

TT: What steps are being taken to address these challenges?

Steps being taken to address these challenges include:
Research and Development: Ongoing research efforts focus on developing new materials, optimising printing processes, and enhancing the capabilities of additive manufacturing technologies.
Standardisation and Certification: Organisations are working to establish industry standards and certification processes to ensure the quality, safety, and reliability of 3D-printed products.
Process Optimisation: Manufacturers are investing in process optimisation techniques to improve printing speed, reduce material waste, and enhance overall efficiency.
Cost Reduction Initiatives: Efforts are underway to reduce the cost of additive manufacturing equipment and materials through economies of scale, technological advancements, and supply chain optimisations.
Education and Training: Training programmes and educational initiatives aim to equip professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to leverage additive manufacturing technologies effectively.
Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: Industry collaborations and knowledge-sharing platforms facilitate the exchange of best practices, insights, and technological innovations to overcome common challenges in additive manufacturing.
Regulatory and Legal Frameworks: Governments and regulatory bodies are developing regulations and legal frameworks to address intellectual property concerns and ensure the ethical and responsible use of additive manufacturing technologies.

TT: How does AM address concerns related to sustainability and environmental impact in manufacturing processes?

One keyway manufacturers can have a less harmful impact on the environment is by additively manufacturing whatever components they can. Conventional supply chains incur huge carbon footprints through fossil-fuel-hungry logistics bridges. 3D printing reduces carbon footprints in a few different ways:
Less energy and material waste. The process of additive manufacturing itself has a far lower carbon footprint compared to subtractive processes. Additive manufacturing leads to far less waste — shapes of manufactured parts are not achieved through reduction of material, hollow infill structures cut down on even more material while preserving performance, and manufacturers can produce only what is needed.
No carbon-heavy supply chains. Considering fabrication alone, the carbon footprint of subtractive manufacturing is already significantly higher than that of additive manufacturing. However, the substantial negative carbon footprint of traditional manufacturing is compounded by the supply chain activities these processes require to deliver the product to the point of need. After the production of goods, the necessary transportation and logistics downstream produces a carbon footprint far higher than what fabrication itself produces. By providing versatile point-of-need fabrication, 3D printing cuts out the need for these multiple carbon-intensive steps — while also creating operational efficiency.

TT: In what ways do you believe additive manufacturing will continue to disrupt traditional supply chain models, particularly in terms of production flexibility, customisation, and on-demand manufacturing?

AM has the potential to disrupt traditional supply chain models in several ways, particularly in terms of production flexibility, customisation, and on-demand manufacturing:
Production Flexibility: AM enables decentralised manufacturing, allowing production to be located closer to the point of use. This reduces the need for centralised manufacturing facilities and extensive supply chains. Companies can produce parts or products on-demand and adapt quickly to changes in demand, market conditions, or product design requirements. This flexibility can lead to shorter lead times, reduced inventory costs, and increased responsiveness to customer needs.
Customisation and Personalisation: One of the most significant advantages of AM is its ability to produce highly customised and personalised products cost-effectively. Traditional manufacturing methods often involve high setup costs for customisation, making it impractical for small production runs. With AM, each item can be unique without significantly impacting production costs. This capability opens up new opportunities for mass customisation, where products can be tailored to individual customer preferences or specific market segments, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
On-Demand Manufacturing: AM facilitates on-demand manufacturing, where products are produced only when needed, eliminating the need for large inventories and reducing the risk of overproduction. This on-demand model reduces storage costs, minimises waste, and allows for more efficient use of resources. It also enables companies to offer just-in-time manufacturing services, where products can be produced and delivered rapidly in response to customer orders or market demand fluctuations.
Complex Geometries and Lightweight Structures: AM enables the fabrication of complex geometries and lightweight structures that are difficult or impossible to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods. This capability allows for the design and production of innovative products with optimised performance characteristics, such as increased strength-to-weight ratios, improved aerodynamics, or enhanced functionality. These advances can drive product innovation and differentiation in various industries, from aerospace and automotive to healthcare and consumer goods.
Supply Chain Resilience and Risk Mitigation: AM can enhance supply chain resilience by reducing reliance on vulnerable or geographically distant suppliers. Companies can produce critical components locally or on-site, reducing the impact of disruptions such as natural disasters, geopolitical instability, or transportation delays. By decentralising production and diversifying sourcing strategies, companies can mitigate supply chain risks and improve business continuity.
Overall, additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionise traditional supply chain models by offering unparalleled production flexibility, customisation capabilities, and on-demand manufacturing capabilities. As the technology continues to advance and become more accessible, its disruptive impact on supply chains across industries is likely to accelerate, driving innovation, efficiency, and competitive advantage for forward-thinking companies.

TT: How do you envision the role of regulatory bodies evolving to keep pace with the rapid development of additive manufacturing technologies, especially concerning issues like quality standards, intellectual property protection, and safety regulations?

As AM technologies continue to advance rapidly, regulatory bodies will need to evolve to address various challenges and ensure the responsible and safe adoption of these technologies. Here’s how I
envision the role of regulatory bodies evolving in key areas:
Quality Standards: Regulatory bodies will play a crucial role in establishing and enforcing quality standards for additive manufacturing processes and products. This includes developing guidelines for process validation, material certification, and part qualification to ensure consistent and reliable performance. As AM becomes more integrated into industrial production, regulatory standards will need to keep pace with technological advancements to maintain product quality and safety.
Intellectual Property Protection: Regulatory bodies will need to strengthen intellectual property (IP) protection frameworks to address the unique challenges posed by additive manufacturing, such as the ease of digital replication and unauthorised copying of designs. This may involve updating existing patent laws, establishing new regulations for digital rights management, and implementing mechanisms to prevent counterfeiting and IP infringement. Collaboration between regulatory agencies, industry stakeholders, and legal experts will be essential to develop robust IP protection strategies for AM technologies.
Safety Regulations: Ensuring the safety of additive manufacturing processes and products is paramount to protect workers, consumers, and the environment. Regulatory bodies will need to develop safety regulations and standards specific to AM equipment, materials, and operational practices. This may include guidelines for machine safety, ventilation systems, material handling procedures, and exposure limits for hazardous substances. Additionally, regulatory agencies may mandate certification requirements and compliance testing to verify the safety and reliability of AM systems and components.
Data Security and Privacy: With the increasing use of digital design files and interconnected AM systems, regulatory bodies will need to address data security and privacy concerns. This may involve establishing regulations for secure data transmission, storage, and access control to protect sensitive information from unauthorised access or cyber threats.
Compliance with data protection regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, will also be important to safeguard personal and proprietary data throughout the additive manufacturing lifecycle.
Environmental Sustainability: As additive manufacturing technologies gain prominence, regulatory bodies will need to address environmental sustainability concerns related to material usage, energy consumption, and waste management. This may involve implementing regulations for eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient processes, and recycling initiatives to minimise the environmental impact of AM production. Additionally, regulatory agencies may encourage industry-wide initiatives to promote sustainable practices and reduce carbon emissions associated with additive manufacturing operations.

TT: How does Markforged differentiate itself from other companies in the additive manufacturing industry?

Markforged distinguishes itself in the additive manufacturing (AM) industry through several key features and technologies:
1. Composite 3D Printing: Markforged specialises in composite 3D printing, which involves reinforcing plastic parts with continuous fibres such as carbon fibre, fiberglass, or Kevlar during the printing process. This capability allows for the production of parts with superior strength-to-weight ratios compared to traditional plastic or metal parts.
2. Continuous Fibre Reinforcement: Markforged’s patented Continuous Filament Fabrication (CFF) technology enables the integration of continuous fibres into 3D printed parts. This reinforcement enhances the mechanical properties of printed parts, making them suitable for a wide range of functional applications.
3. Variety of Materials: In addition to composite materials, Markforged offers a range of other materials including metals like tool steel, copper, Inconel, stainless steel with their Metal FFF Technology and Metal Binder Jetting technology for production. This versatility allows customers to choose the material best suited for their specific application requirements.
4. Industrial-Grade Printers: Markforged produces industrial-grade 3D printers designed for reliability, precision, and ease of use. Our printers are capable of producing high-quality parts with consistent mechanical properties, making them suitable for both prototyping and end-use production.
5. Software Integration: Markforged provides software solutions that streamline the entire additive
manufacturing process, from design to printing. Our cloud-based software platform allows users to optimise designs for strength and printability, monitor printer performance remotely, and manage print jobs efficiently.
6. Applications Across Industries: Markforged serves a diverse range of industries including aerospace, automotive, defence, healthcare-medical device, and manufacturing. Our composite 3D printing technology enables the production of lightweight yet strong parts for various applications within these sectors.
7. Focus on Innovation: Markforged continues to invest in research and development to further advance additive manufacturing technology. We regularly introduce new materials, printer features, and software updates to meet the evolving needs of our customers and stay ahead in the competitive AM market. 
Overall, Markforged’s unique combination of composite 3D printing technology, material variety, industrial-grade printers, software integration, and focus on innovation sets it apart from other companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

TT: Can you describe the target market and customer base that Markforged aims to serve?

Markforged targets a diverse range of industries and customer segments with its additive manufacturing solutions. The company’s offerings appeal to organisations and professionals seeking to leverage advanced 3D printing technology for various applications. Here’s a breakdown of the target market and customer base that Markforged aims to serve:
Manufacturing and Industrial Sector: Markforged caters to manufacturers looking to improve their production processes by incorporating additive manufacturing. This includes industries such as aerospace, automotive, machinery, and consumer goods manufacturing.
Engineering and Product Development: Engineers, designers, and product developers form a significant portion of Markforged’s customer base. These professionals use our printers and materials for rapid prototyping, functional testing, and iterating designs quickly.
Tooling and Fixtures: Markforged’s composite 3D printing technology is suitable for producing custom tooling, jigs, fixtures, and end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) for manufacturing operations. Industries such as machining, assembly, and quality control benefit from these custom solutions.
Prototyping and R&D Labs: Research and development labs across various industries, including academia, rely on Markforged printers for rapid prototyping and testing of new concepts and designs.
Aerospace and Defence: The aerospace and defence industries value Markforged’s capability to produce lightweight yet strong parts suitable for aircraft components, drones, satellites, and defence equipment.
Healthcare and Medical Devices: Markforged serves the healthcare sector by providing solutions for custom prosthetics, orthotics, surgical tools, and patient-specific medical devices.
Education and Academic Institutions: Markforged printers are used in educational settings, including universities, colleges, and technical schools, to teach students about additive manufacturing principles and provide hands-on experience with 3D printing technology.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): SMEs across various industries benefit from Markforged’s cost-effective additive manufacturing solutions, allowing them to compete with larger competitors by accelerating product development and reducing time-to-market.
Overall, Markforged’s target market encompasses a wide range of industries and professionals seeking to leverage additive manufacturing technology for prototyping, production, tooling, and innovation across various applications.

TT: What all products and services does Markforged supply to textiles and technical textiles industry?

While Markforged’s core offerings are not specifically designed for the textiles industry, the versatility and customisation capabilities of Markforged additive manufacturing solutions could potentially find applications in this sector, particularly for prototyping, tooling, and innovation purposes. For example, in India, Markforged with the help of NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) has been able to produce spare parts for the textile industry.

TT: Can you discuss any emerging trends or niche applications unveiled by Markforged that have the potential to significantly impact various sectors in the near future?

Markforged is known for its innovative approach to additive manufacturing, particularly in the realm of industrial-grade 3D printing. Here are some emerging trends and niche applications within the Markforged additive manufacturing industry that have the potential to significantly impact various sectors in the near future:
Continuous Fibre Reinforcement: One of the standout features of Markforged printers is their ability to reinforce 3Dprinted parts with continuous fibre materials such as carbon fibre, fiberglass, and Kevlar. This enables the production of robust, high-strength components suitable for demanding applications in aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, and robotics. The integration of continuous fibre reinforcement into additive manufacturing processes enhances part performance, durability, and structural integrity.
Metal X Technology: Markforged’s Metal X technology allows for the direct 3D printing of metal parts using metal powder and bound metal filament. This innovative approach to metal additive manufacturing offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional metal fabrication methods such as CNC machining and casting. Metal X technology has applications in industries requiring high-performance metal components, including aerospace, defence, automotive, and medical device manufacturing.
Composite Tooling and Jigs: Additive manufacturing with Markforged printers is well-suited for the production of composite tooling, moulds, and fixtures used in manufacturing processes. By leveraging the strength and durability of reinforced thermoplastics and composite materials, manufacturers can produce lightweight yet robust tooling solutions for various applications, such as aerospace assembly, automotive production, and composite part manufacturing.
Customised End-Use Parts: Markforged additive manufacturing technologies enable the rapid prototyping and production of customised end-use parts tailored to specific customer requirements. This includes components for machinery, industrial equipment, consumer products, and medical devices. The ability to quickly iterate designs, produce small-batch runs, and incorporate advanced materials makes Markforged printers ideal for agile manufacturing environments seeking to optimise part performance and functionality.
Supply Chain Optimisation: Markforged additive manufacturing solutions offer opportunities for supply chain optimisation by reducing lead times, minimising inventory costs, and streamlining production processes. Companies can leverage on-demand manufacturing capabilities to produce parts locally, eliminate tooling expenses, and respond rapidly to changes in demand. This agile manufacturing approach enhances supply chain resilience, reduces reliance on external suppliers, and improves overall operational efficiency.
Hybrid Manufacturing Integration: Markforged printers can be integrated into hybrid manufacturing systems, combining additive and subtractive manufacturing processes to leverage the strengths of both techniques. This integration allows for the fabrication of complex parts with precision features and surface finishes, combining the design flexibility of additive manufacturing with the accuracy of CNC machining. Hybrid manufacturing solutions have applications in industries requiring high-precision components, such as aerospace, automotive, and medical device manufacturing.

TT: Can you tell us about Markforged Digital Metal PX100 technology?

Markforged Digital Metal PX100 is a groundbreaking technology in the additive manufacturing industry, offering high-precision metal 3D printing capabilities. Here are some emerging trends and niche applications within the Markforged Digital Metal PX100 manufacturing industry that have the potential to significantly impact various sectors in the near future:
High-Performance Aerospace Components: The aerospace industry demands lightweight yet high-strength components that can withstand extreme conditions. Markforged Digital Metal PX100 technology enables the production of complex aerospace parts with superior mechanical properties, including high tensile strength, excellent fatigue resistance, and corrosion resistance. These parts can be used in aircraft engines, structural components, and other critical applications, offering weight savings, performance improvements, and cost reductions.
Automotive Lightweight Solutions: The automotive industry is increasingly focused on light weighting solutions to improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and enhance vehicle performance. Markforged Digital Metal PX100 technology allows automotive manufacturers to produce lightweight metal components with complex geometries and optimised designs. These components, such as engine parts, chassis components, and brackets, offer weight savings without compromising strength or durability, contributing to overall vehicle efficiency and sustainability.
Tooling and Die Production: Metal additive manufacturing with Markforged Digital Metal PX100 is well-suited for the production of tooling, dies, and moulds used in manufacturing processes. Manufacturers can leverage the high precision and surface finish capabilities of this technology to create custom tooling solutions for injection moulding, stamping, and forming operations. Metal 3D-printed tooling offers advantages such as reduced lead times, improved part quality, and lower tooling costs compared to traditional machining methods.
Custom Industrial Components: Markforged Digital Metal PX100 technology enables the rapid prototyping and production of custom industrial components for various applications. From specialised machine parts to production fixtures and assembly tools, manufacturers can leverage metal additive manufacturing to quickly iterate designs, produce small-batch runs, and customise components to meet specific performance requirements. This flexibility and agility in component production offer benefits such as reduced downtime, improved manufacturing efficiency, and enhanced product quality.
Electronics Enclosures and Heat Sinks: Metal 3D printing with Markforged Digital Metal PX100 is ideal for producing electronics enclosures, heat sinks, and thermal management components. The high thermal conductivity of metals such as aluminium and copper makes them well-suited for dissipating heat generated by electronic devices. Additive manufacturing enables the creation of intricate, lightweight designs with optimised heat transfer properties, improving the performance and reliability of electronic systems in applications such as telecommunications, automotive electronics, and consumer electronics.

TT: How does Markforged approach research and development to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving field of additive manufacturing?

Markforged’s introduction of continuous fibre composites and low-cost MIM-based metal FFF printing has expanded additive manufacturing beyond prototyping. Now, manufacturers have a viable technology to address their expensive tooling challenges and mass production of components with Digital Metal from Markforged.

TT: What are the main factors that influence the decision-making process for customers when considering Markforged products?

Markforged printers can handle a wide range of materials, including carbon fibre, fiberglass, and Kevlar. This material versatility makes them suitable for a multitude of applications. Whether you need high strength, stiffness, or excellent wear resistance, Markforged printers offer the right material options.

TT: How does Markforged ensure the quality and reliability of its 3D printing solutions?

Digital Forge – Markforged combines superb software, materials research, and an advanced motion system to deliver industrial-grade parts quickly and reliably.

TT: What strategies does Markforged employ to build and maintain relationships with distributors and partners in the country?

Our strategy is to set up mutually beneficial partnerships with distributors.

TT: Looking ahead, what are the key priorities and initiatives that Markforged is focusing on to drive growth and innovation in the coming years?

While I do not have access to real-time data or internal plans, Markforged’s key priorities and initiatives to drive growth and innovation in the coming years are likely to include:
Technology Advancements: Markforged is likely to continue investing in research and development to advance its additive manufacturing technologies. This may involve improving printer capabilities, developing new materials, enhancing software features, and expanding the range of applications supported by its platforms.
Expanded Material Portfolio: Markforged may focus on expanding its material portfolio to offer a wider range of options for its customers. This could include the development of new metal, composite, and polymer materials with enhanced properties and compatibility with its printing systems.
Industry Partnerships and Collaborations: Collaborating with industry partners, customers, and academic institutions can facilitate knowledge exchange, drive innovation, and identify new opportunities for application development. Markforged may prioritise strategic partnerships to co-develop solutions tailored to specific industries or use cases.
Market Expansion: Markforged may focus on expanding its presence in existing markets and entering new geographic regions to tap into emerging opportunities. This could involve establishing partnerships with distributors, resellers, and service providers to reach a broader customer base and increase market penetration.
Customer Support and Training: Providing excellent customer support and training programmes is crucial for driving adoption and satisfaction among users. Markforged may invest in initiatives to enhance technical support, training resources, and educational materials to empower customers to maximise the value of their investment in additive manufacturing technology.
Vertical Integration: Vertical integration across the additive manufacturing value chain can enhance control over quality, supply chain efficiency, and innovation. Markforged may explore opportunities for vertical integration, such as in-house material production, post-processing solutions, or software development, to offer comprehensive solutions to its customers.
Sustainability Initiatives: With increasing focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility, Markforged may prioritise initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of its operations and products. This could include developing eco-friendly materials, optimising energy usage, and implementing recycling programmes to promote a more sustainable additive manufacturing ecosystem.
Regulatory Compliance and Standards Adoption: Staying abreast of regulatory requirements and industry standards is essential for ensuring product quality, safety, and compliance. Markforged may invest in initiatives to ensure its products and processes meet regulatory requirements and adhere to relevant standards, particularly in safety-critical industries such as aerospace and healthcare.

Interviewer:  Shilpi Panjabi
Published on: 27/06/2024

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of technicaltextile.net.


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