Dec 15, 2014

NASDAQ listed company Marvell today announced the industry's first fully integrated 3D printer system-on-chip (SoC) and software solution platform.

Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL) is a worldwide leader in providing complete silicon solutions from mobile communications to storage, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud infrastructure, digital entertainment and in-home content delivery. Marvell's pioneering technology platform is based on the company's powerful and flexible 88PA6120 SoC, a revolutionary hardware development kit and full Linux-based software development kit.

Marvell's 3D printer SoC solution platform is designed to enable a broad array of customers to quickly bring innovative, full-featured 3D printer products to market and enhancing the end user 3D printing experience.

Marvell's 3D printer SoC solution provides a complete reference kit with full-featured functionality, including Marvell's 88PA6120 board, a 533 MHz, ARM v7 compatible processor with dual real-time microprocessors that will allow highly-customizable precision motion control. The full reference kit incorporates features such as rich user interfaces with touch LCD support to allow for advanced touch screen control functionality. If you plug in a heater, a few motors, as well as all the other mechanical parts, your device is ready to run. The company has also included a 720p camera on their reference design printer so you can monitor the progress live on your smartphone.

Key features of Marvell's new 3D printer development platform include:

1. Marvell's 88PA6120 SoC

  • 533MHz ARM v7 compatible processor
  • Dual real-time microprocessors for highly customizable precision motion control
  • Rich user interfaces with touch LCD support
  • Integrated 10/100 PHY, USB, DRAM, SD, and eMMC
  • Multiple motor controls and print head interfaces
  • HW encryption support for IPSec & SSL

2. Several Marvell WiFi/Bluetooth options such as Marvell's 88W8801 Avastar® Wi-Fi SoC

3. Full-featured Linux SDK, including real-time 3D motion control, Ethernet and WiFi network stacks, LCD user interface, and board support package

4. Full development tool support

5. Flexible hardware development platform with connectivity options for multiple 3D printer designs

"As the world's #1 leader in printer processing technology, I am very proud of our latest innovation that revolutionizes 3D printing and brings the benefit of this very exciting technology to the mainstream market globally." said Weili Dai, President and Co-Founder of Marvell.

"Combining the high performance of our advanced silicon hardware with the ease-of-use, flexibility and cloud service capability of our unique Kinoma software, I believe our complete platform solution will empower our global customers and partners with cutting-edge, cost-effective 3D printers for the masses and enable a new era of 3D printing." Dai added.

Marvell will be demonstrating its printer solutions including its new 3D SoC solution platform offering at CES 2015 in Marvell's booth, Level 3, Murano 3304, at The Venetian. CES is being held in Las Vegas, NV at the Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center and the Venetian Hotel on Jan. 6–9, 2015.


Posted in 3D Printers


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Andreas wrote at 12/16/2014 8:43:36 AM:

Hey JD90. It's loosely based on my experience with different chips from Marvell we use in our line of products (Network/Security). Just look at the features they have crammed into this chip again (Fig. 1). It's basically a tripple-core design with one big core for UI and data interfaces and two cores for the other tasks. On top of that it has special pipelines for pixel/image handling and quite a few specific hardware related interface blocks (motion control, laser AFE,...), and features an integrated ethernet and multiple USB PHYs (not just MAC). The BBBs AM335x series chip definately has some similar specs when you look from far away, but is nowhere that far fetched and specific. And that TI-chip costs over 15$ alone. You have to keep in mind that overall something like the AM335x is probably used around the world in way bigger volumes than a SoC specifically designed for a laser printer. So my guess is that these Marvell SoCs are even more expensive, probably around 20-25$, or more. Of course they can not compete with an AVR or Cortex-M chip you can get for a few $. The ATSAM3X8E from the davinci is below 8$, while an ATMEGA2560 is around 10$, it has more to do with widely available (free!) open source firmware that the old 8-bit AVR chips are still used everywhere these days.

jd90 wrote at 12/15/2014 9:41:56 PM:

Andreas, do you think you can hold off on saying it's too expensive until they've released a price for the chip? I don't know what you're suggesting either, what features are supposedly too expensive. daVinci is $500 assembled, complete and somehow it manages to have an ARM chip whereas cheap hobby printers are still stuck in AVR-land. That said, I don't know what's going on here that the BeagleBone Black doesn't already do. BBB's chip is designed for industrial machine control and seems to have all the same features. The main difference might be the SDK targeted for 3D printers.

Andreas wrote at 12/15/2014 4:35:50 PM:

Interesting chip with a ton of features for the gap between todays industrial grade and prosumer printers. I just wish they would do something similar with a bit less over the top features. Just a Cortex M4 (or M7) core with basic serial interfaces (USB H/D, Ethernet) 6 Axis Stepper Controller (just with external Power-FETs), standard peripherals (SPI/I2C/UART/...), and maybe some display/touch interface. I'd think the market would love something like this to cover all the basics of todays consumer printers in a simple and cheap SoC. This Marvell solution is too expensive for the cheap consumer market, and as far my professional experience with Marvel in the past goes, they don't even really look at you if you don't want to buy thousands of chips per year.

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