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3D printing goes to the cloud and taps on AI

Titanium 3D printed on the Markforged Metal X. Photo by Michael Petch.

3D printing has been around for several years and is now a mature technology (which does not mean it will not improve any further, quite the opposite, the more is used and the more is like to progress).

Markforged, it used to be a start up that sprung from research work at MIT and is now a major player in additive manufacturing arena, has announced the Digital Forge, a software that can connect its broad clients’ 3D printers around the world to a Cloud.

They have 12,000 customers in 73 Countries, so I can imagine they have at least 12,000 3D printers and with this software they are ablle to provide support to their clients. More than that they are using artificial intelligence (machine learning) to analyse the data that are harvested to provide real time guidance to each 3D printer for faster and more accurate production.

To know more, and why artificial intelligence is so important in this area, watch the video.

I find impressive to see the Digital Transformation at work: a manufacturing process is now intertwined with artificial intelligence that thrives on data generated all over the world, making sense out of them. It is like having the benefit of experience multiplied thousands fold with no geographical barriers. Interestingly, Markforged points out that this digital forge in the cloud can become a virtual digital factory that their clients may access in case of need. You have a pressing order and your local 3D printer is overloaded? Take advantage of the virtual digital factory to offload the request and have it fulfilled where resources are available. You gain, and those providing the physical machines to fulfill your order will gain as well, increasing the usage time of their assets!

We have opened a door leading to a new world of manufacturing.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.