July 27, 2021
Markforged is offering two new materials, Onyx FR-A and Carbon Fiber FR-A, which are aerospace-ready versions of its Onyx FR and Carbon Fiber FR materials. These two new materials are undergoing a qualification program conducted on the X7 industrial 3D printer by the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance (NCAMP), part of the National institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University. Upon completion, Markforged is expected to have the first continuous fiber-reinforced additive manufacturing (AM) process qualified by NCAMP, one of two bodies authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to qualify materials for flight, the company says.
“Markforged believes in a future that is more than metal. We have long supported the aerospace industry and have parts in-flight today,” said Markforged President and CEO Shai Terem. “There is a multi-decade trend underway to transition parts from metals to advanced composites, which are lighter and offer greater efficiencies. Our deliberate move to support innovation in aerospace mitigates risk for these manufacturers and helps get additive parts in the air faster by simplifying the part certification process.”
Markforged has been collaborating with NCAMP since the first quarter of 2020 and has successfully completed the factory audit phase of the qualification program approved by NIAR and a steering committee consisting of experts spanning commercial and defense industries, academia, and the FAA. The program is currently in the printing and testing phase, which will be followed by an in-depth analysis and reporting cycle. Markforged and NCAMP anticipate full qualification upon completion of these processes in early 2023. Both the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) currently accept composite specification and design values developed using the NCAMP process.
Onyx FR-A and Carbon Fiber FR-A materials are designed to meet Flame, Smoke, and Toxicity (FST) requirements for many parts in aircraft interiors, come with traceability, and adhere to specifications approved by NCAMP. They are specifically developed for end-use applications in industries like aerospace and defense because of their high strength-to-weight ratio, exceptional surface finish, and high consistency, the company says.
“In aerospace, it’s important to have quality parts we can adapt on the fly to make any changes the customer requests,” said Jeff Pike, VP of Engineering at CMS. “Using Markforged printers and materials offers us ways to create low-volume, high-value luxury cabin parts faster and at the point of need. This results in lower costs and accelerated lead times, and with material traceability in place, it will enable us to move even faster in our development process and free up resources to focus elsewhere.”
Once Onyx FR-A and Carbon Fiber FR-A complete the NCAMP qualification process, manufacturers will be able to access Markforged’s material information from the NCAMP database, prove equivalency, and have the ability to gain FAA certification.
Onyx FR-A and Carbon Fiber FR-A materials are available on the Markforged X7, and Onyx FR-A is also available on the Markforged X5 and X3 printers.
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