Desktop Metal gets $115 million in funding to deliver metal 3D printing for manufacturing
Desktop Metal has already earned a number of fans with its 3D printed metal technology — Lowe’s, Caterpillar and BMW were all among its earliest clients. As first noted by CNBC, the Massachusetts-based startup is also getting some healthy monetary support, adding $115 million of venture funds to its coffers this week. The Series D features a number of high profile names, including New Enterprise Associates, GV (formerly Google Ventures), GE Ventures, Future Fund and Techtronic Industries, the holdings company that owns Hoover U.S. and Dirt Devil.
Founded in 2013 by four MIT professors, Desktop Metal isn’t the first company to bring metal 3D printing to market, but it’s probably the most efficient. By its own measure, the company’s machines are able to print objects at up to 100-times the speed of their competitors. That’s good news for those clients using Studio, the prototyping machine the company announced last year — but even more useful for those planning to use the upcoming Production, a system designed to bring the technology to manufacturing.
Speed has been of the main bottlenecks in mainstreaming 3D printing for manufacturing — metal or otherwise. The Production system isn’t going to replace wide scale manufacturing any time soon, but it will make it a more realistic possibility for smaller speciality parts, with its ability to print 500 cubic inches of metal per hour. According to CEO Ric Fulop, that works out to millions of parts per year for a given machine.
“You don’t need tooling,” he tells TechCrunch. “You can make short runs of production with basically no tooling costs. You can change your design and iterate very fast. And now you can make shapes you couldn’t make any other way, so now you can lightweight a part and work with alloys that are very, very hard, with very extreme properties.”
The list of companies that have embraced the $50,000+ Surface is pretty diverse. Automakers like BMW are using it to prototype products, and the local robotics community has also been extremely excited about the device’s ability to print in a broad range of alloys. For smaller companies without access to big machining warehouses, prototyping with metal is a pretty big pain point.
“One of the benefits for this technology for robotics is that you’re able to do lots of turns,” says Fulop. “Unless you’re iRobot with the Roomba, you’re making a lot of one-off changes to your product.”
Desktop Metal is still pretty small, at around 150 people — mostly engineers, according to Fulop. Along with R&D, this latest funding round will go a ways toward increasing that staff and reach, with plans to extend to more markets, including Europe and Asia.
Overview Desktop Metal is reinventing the way design and manufacturing teams produce and 3D print metal parts - from prototyping through mass production. They team is built around the disciplines of materials science, hardware and software engineering, and design. They have raised $97 million in equity funding with investment from technology leaders including Google, BMW, Lowe’s, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield …Location
A breakthrough in soft robotics means scientists are now one step closer to creating lifelike machines. Researchers at Columbia Engineering have developed a 3D printed synthetic tissue that can act as active muscle. The material, which can push, pull, bend, and twist (thanks to its use of silicone rubber and ethanol-dispensing micro-bubbles) is also capable of carrying 1,000 times its own weight. Not only could the invention result in super-strong machines (like a Terminator that works in manufacturing), but it will also release soft robots from their current shackles.
You see, synthetic muscle tech is presently reliant on tethered external compressors or high voltage equipment. But, robots fitted with this new tissue could theoretically be freed up to move around like humans, enabling them to better grip and pick up objects. Which is a big deal, because the plan is to eventually get these bots to help with non-invasive surgeries and to care for the elderly -- among other tasks.
The researchers are touting the material as the first synthetic muscle that can withstand both high-actuation stress and high strain. "We've been making great strides toward making robots minds, but robot bodies are still primitive," said lead scientist Hod Lipson. "This is a big piece of the puzzle and, like biology, the new actuator can be shaped and reshaped a thousand ways. We've overcome one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots."
After 3D printing it into the desired shape, the team electrically actuated the artificial muscle using a thin resistive wire and low-power (8V). They then tested it in a variety of robotic applications, where it demonstrated significant expansion-contraction ability. The researchers claim the synthetic tissue is also capable of expanding up to 900 percent when electrically heated to 80°C.
Building on their initial findings, the team plans to incorporate conductive materials to replace the need for the connecting wire. Further down the line, they intend to combine it with artificial intelligence that can learn to control the muscle, resulting in (they hope) "natural" movement.
Xian Y-20 This cargo aircraft is used by the Chinese military in order to ferry goods and soldiers to anywhere in China at a moment’s notice. Perhaps most interestingly, many of the plane’s parts were created using a 3D printer, thereby drastically lowering the cost of production. The plane can carry up to 66 tons, and when filled with troops, has a range of 6,200 miles, enabling this plane to reach anywhere in Asia.
lots of material on SSYS investment in Desktop Metal. New technology much faster. I can not find anywhere what their $14M in October 2015 got them. True, DDD is working on its own answer to faster metal production.
If anyone can find the answer to the above that would be excellent. Thanks Dave
the article was from the Economist June/july 20-17