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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

Good Week for 3D Printing

December 21st, 2017 by Jeff Rowe

With 2017 winding down and the holidays upon us, MCAD news typically slows down big time. Not so this year, though, as two 3D printing manufacturers – Desktop Metal and Carbon – announced big news this week.

Desktop Metal Shipping Studio System

Just eight months after its initial introduction, Desktop Metal announced it has begun shipping its metal 3D printer to early pioneer customers as part of the Studio System rollout.

The Studio System, which debuted in May, is the first office-friendly metal 3D printing system for rapid prototyping and is 10 times less expensive than existing technology today. The Studio System is a complete platform, including a printer, a debinder, and a sintering furnace that, together, deliver metal 3D printed parts in an office or on the shop floor.

Participating in Desktop Metal’s Pioneers Program, Google’s Advanced Technology and Products (ATAP) group is the first pioneer to receive the Studio printer. Among the inaugural Pioneer customers in the program, companies span six industries – heavy machinery, consumer electronics, automotive, service bureaus, machine shops and government & education. Benchmark parts range from tooling, prototyping and jigs & fixtures, to end-use parts for functional applications.

Desktop Metal’s 3D Printer (video courtesy of TechCrunch)

“Since the launch of our Pioneers Program, we have seen really passionate engineers and world-class companies begin to develop benchmark metal 3D printed parts with the Studio System,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “We are extremely excited to begin shipping our Studio printer to these early pioneer customers and sales partners, including Google’s ATAP, and, over the next several months, will be working closely with each to learn more about how engineers want to use our system.”

Among Desktop Metal Pioneer customers in the USA, in addition to Google’s ATAP, include: US Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division; Built-Rite Tool & Die; The Technology House; Medtronic; and Lumenium LLC. Each Pioneer will begin receiving the Studio System over the coming months, with broader distribution to those who reserved the system in early 2018. Additionally, more than 30 USA sales partners will be receiving the Studio System to begin the process of offering product demonstrations and creating benchmark parts for interested customers.

“This marks the first time our team will be able to use metal 3D printing for rapid prototyping of our hardware parts,” said David Beardsley, manager of Google’s ATAP. “For prototyping, we have previously relied upon casting or using plastic 3D printing. Now with the Studio System, our team will experience shorter lead times, faster product development cycles and the benefits of functional prototypes in an array of metals on demand and in the lab. We look forward to exploring and developing potential applications for many of our projects.”

Carbon Announces $200 Million in Funding

Carbon announced the first closing in a total raise of $200 million in Series D funding. Delivering a scalable digital 3D Manufacturing platform for polymeric products, the company will use the additional capital to accelerate its momentum in disrupting traditional analog injection molding production techniques with connected, software-first, digitally-enabled design and fabrication capabilities. Specifically, Carbon intends to use the funds to fast-track its global expansion plans and product roadmap, and will double down on its commitment to enabling customers to move to mass digital production at scale.

Carbon M1 3D Printer Demonstration

The funding is supported by a unique mix of investors that directly align with the strategic direction of the company: global financial institutions Baillie Gifford (Scotland), Fidelity Management & Research Company (US), and ARCHINA Capital (HK); strategic industry partners Hydra Ventures (the corporate venturing arm of adidas), GE Ventures, JSR Corporation, and Emerson Elemental. The funding is also supported by current investors including Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake Kraftwerk, and Reinet Investments. Other investors are expected to be disclosed in early 2018.

“The age of digital 3D Manufacturing is here, and this funding – with this incredible group of global financial investors, customers, and partners – validates our vision to fundamentally change how the world designs, engineers, makes and delivers products,” said Dr. Joseph DeSimone, Carbon’s CEO and co-founder. “We are especially gratified that our mission and values came through as such strong criterion for this group. Since Carbon first introduced digital light synthesis, we have continuously pushed the boundaries and transformed industries, and are uniquely positioned to take digital manufacturing to an entirely new level. This funding will help us realize new classes of workers and business models, where product design and engineering is facilitated by cloud-based computing and a wide range of scanning, sensor, and simulation technologies that enable the creation of perfectly tuned – even personalized – products that have been previously impossible to produce.”

Founded in 2013, Carbon pioneered a unique alternative to 3D printing, fusing light and oxygen to rapidly produce products from a pool of resin. Its novel approach combines connected, data-centric hardware with over-the-air software updates and innovative materials, enabling creators to design and produce previously unmakeable products, both economically and at mass scale. Carbon’s unique subscription-based model closely aligns it to its customers’ businesses – with every-six-week software updates, continuous education and training programs, and one-to-one customer service – to ensure optimal customer experiences and capabilities. This results in deep partnerships with customers, opening up new business models across a variety of industries, including automotive, consumer products, dental, and medical.

It’s great to see these two innovative 3D printer companies ending the year on a very positive note that pint to bight futures for both.

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