Markforged’s Composite 3D Printing Technology saves USD $1.2 Million for Shawcor Ltd.

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  • We virtually eliminated the three to six week turnaround time that existed for replacement parts - Phil Minors, Senior Mechanical Designer at Shawcor
3D printed parts
Above: Shawcor used Markforged Mark Two 3D printer to fabricate tools and fixtures for a pick and place machine/Image Credit: Markforged Inc.

Shawcor Ltd., the global energy services providing company from Canada, revealed that the composite 3D printing technology of Markforged, the leading manufacturer of metal and carbon fiber 3D printers, helped it to produce 3D printed parts which saved the company nearly USD $1.2 million.

According to Phil Minors, Senior Mechanical Designer at Shawcor, “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.”

Composite 3D Printing Technology

Shawcor’s Composite Production Systems division was assigned a challenging new project that required the team to move large tape pads – weighing anywhere between 115 to 230 pounds. For the movement, the team needed a custom machine to handle the immense load but ended up deciding against it as the project required too much time and money to develop the solution using traditional methods.

Composite 3D Printing Technology
Above: Shawcor’s pad handling machine consists of 53 unique 3D printed parts/Image Credit: Markforged Inc.

The team, on rigorous brainstorming, came up with a third option. They could use Markforged carbon fibre 3D printer to produce the required parts for the machine and save nearly USD $20,000 by swapping aluminum and sheet metal for 3D printed parts.

“We virtually eliminated the three to six week turnaround time that existed for replacement parts.” said Phil Minors as he shared his experience of using the Markforged printer.

With Markforged Mark Two, the Shawcor team started printing custom parts for the machine, and ended up with 53 unique 3D printed parts. Of these parts, 45% are reinforced with Kevlar®, HSHT fiberglass, or carbon fibre to increase overall stiffness and reduce the need to replace parts.

Speaking about the output from the Markforged printers, Phil said, “People were blown away by the overall quality; they never thought they’d see 3D printed parts being put on machinery that’s actually going to be used in a production manufacturing environment.” 

Initially, only three engineers and designers were using the printer at Shawcor but now it’s being utilized across division and by the product engineering team who use it for prototyping parts and testing fixtures. 

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