Markforged Mark Two saves global energy firm $1.6 million by 3D printing


Multi award winning OEM Markforged has revealed that global energy services company Shawcor has used its Mark Two 3D printer in the production processes of its new project. By doing so, Shawcor has been able to shorten the turnaround time it takes to produce parts, as well as cutting down on costs. As a result, the company says it has potentially saved $1.6 million CAD (~$1.2m USD) by adopting 3D printing in place of traditional supply.

The particular focus of this project has been the development of tools and fixtures for pick and place machine, and a custom-made pad handling machine.

Phil Minors, Senior Mechanical Designer at Shawcor, comments, “Without the pad handling machine up and running, Shawcor would lose roughly $1.6 million CAD over the course of a year.”

“We had two choices: front the cost for the machine or lose revenue each month.”

Shawcor’s Mechanical Designers have utilized their Markforged composite printer to fabricate tools and fixtures for a pick and place machine. Photo via Markforged.
Shawcor’s Mechanical Designers have utilized their Markforged composite printer to fabricate tools and fixtures for a pick and place machine. Photo via Markforged.

Continuous carbon fiber 3D printing cuts costs for Shawcor

Shawcor specializes in providing products and services for the pipeline and pipe services segment of oil and gas, petrochemical and industrial markets. Through its proprietary products, Shawcor aims to help maintain the smooth operation of construction projects, i.e. the maintenance of connection systems, pipe coatings, integrity management and oilfield solutions.

A recent project at the company, handled by the Composite Production Systems division of Shawcor, required the transfer of large tape pads weighing between 115 and 230 lbs. Too heavy for a single person so load and unload, the team were in need of a custom machine to take care of carrying the load.

The pad handling machine consists of 53 unique 3D printed parts. Image via Markforged.
The pad handling machine consists of 53 unique 3D printed parts. Image via Markforged.

In order to overcome the cost barriers for this machine’s development, Shawcor employed the Markforged Mark Two, a continuous strand carbon fiber 3D printer.

Using this system Shawcor was able to produce the custom parts required to build the machine, saving $27,000 CAD in the process by swapping aluminum and sheet metal for 3D printed parts.

In total, 53 unique parts were 3D printed by Shawcor using Markforged technology, 45% of which were reinforced with Kevlar, HSHT fiberglass, or carbon fiber to improve stiffness and longevity. With the Markforged 3D printers, Minors added that:

“We virtually eliminated the three- to-six-week turnaround time that existed for replacement parts.”

Following this initial project, the Mark Two is now being used by the team for prototyping, testing, and iterating new designs.

Several of the 3D printed parts were reinforced with Kevlar®, HSHT fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Photo via Markforged.
Several of the 3D printed parts were reinforced with Kevlar®, HSHT fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Photo via Markforged.

From robot battles to the public sector

In March 2019, Markforged closed a Series D funding round with a value of $82 million and subsequently expanded its operation to a European HQ in Dublin.

Following this, in May 2019, the company released a flame-retardant composite material designed to be used in the aerospace, automotive, and defense industries. And most recently, Markforged launched a new AI technology platform named Blacksmith, during RAPID + TCT 2019.  

Markforged has also partnered with Carahsoft Technology Corp, a government IT solutions provider, tis year which has introduced the company’s systems into the public sector. Carahsoft will provide the OEM’s industrial additive manufacturing technologies to the U.S. Government, acting as Markforged’s master government aggregator and distributor.

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Featured image shows the pad handling machine, consisting of 53 unique 3D printed parts. Image via Markforged.





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