Desktop Metal was created to change the way we bring products to market. Current metal 3D printing is too expensive and industrial for prototyping and it’s not fast enough or cost-effective enough for mass production. Fundamentally different approaches are needed to move metal 3D printing beyond its current limits.
Desktop Metal, a company specializing in bringing metal 3D printing systems to more manufacturers and engineers, has raised $115 million in a series D round of investment from a slew of notable investors, including GV (formerly Google Ventures), New Enterprise Associates (NEA), GE Ventures, Future Fund, Techtronic Industries (TTI), Lux Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.
The latest tranche of funding comes just five months after the Burlington, Mass.-based startup nabbed another $45 million in funding, with GV as the lead investor. Its total equity investments have now surpassed $210 million.
Desktop Metal’s production system is the first metal 3D printing system for mass production. It arrives in 2018, the Production system delivers the speed, quality, and cost-per-part needed to compete with traditional manufacturing processes.
The 2018 Production system promises reliable metal printing up to 100 times faster, with 10 times cheaper initial costs and 20 times cheaper materials costs than existing laser technologies, using a much wider range of alloys.
Breakthrough Single Pass Jetting (SPJ) process delivers speeds up to 8200 cm3/hr–100x faster than laser-based systems. With zero-tooling needed, it’s the fastest way to manufacture complex metal parts.
20x lower cost
Low-cost MIM powder, high throughput, and simple post-processing deliver per-part costs that are competitive with traditional manufacturing processes—and up to 20x lower than today’s metal 3D printing systems.
The metals arrive in rod form, bound to a polymer binding agent and shipped in cartridges. But there’s a ton of metal options – basically anything you can use in a Metal Injection Molding (MIM) system. That includes 4140 chromoly steel, aluminum, copper, bronze, a range of stainless steels, Hiperco 50 magnetic, titanium, and more than 200 other alloys.
They use a combination of regular heating elements and microwave heating to bring the part up to a temperature just below its melting point, where the binding agent burns off and the metal particles within fuse to their neighbors to produce a highly dense, sintered metal.
The production system is built for speed, to a degree that has never been seen before. Faster than machining, casting, forging or any other technique, each production printer can produce up to an incredible 500 cubic inches of complex parts per hour. That’s 100 times quicker than a laser-based alternative, with zero tooling.
Indeed, it prints faster than those hybrid microwave furnaces can sinter. To reach the full production speed, you’ll need up to four furnaces per printer.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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