From the get go, Desktop Metal has earned plenty of fans through its 3D printed metal technology. Some of its first clients include big names like BMW, Caterpillar, and Lowe’s.
Recently the company announced adding $115 million to its coffers, courtesy of many high-profile companies, including GV, New Enterprise Associates, GE Ventures, Techtronic Industries, and Future Fund.
About Desktop Metal
The company was founded in 2013 by four professors from MIT and has become known for providing the most efficient metal 3D printing on the market today. The machines by the company can print objects at up to 100 times the speed of other 3D metal manufacturers out there.
Speed has been a huge hindrance when it comes to mainstreaming 3D printing for manufacturing, especially when using metal materials. The new Production system by Desktop Metal makes it much easier to print small specialty parts, with the ability to print 500 cubic inches of metal an hour.
“You don’t need tooling,” said CEO Ric Fulop. “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.”
Desktop Metal is small, with about 150 people employed, mainly engineers. This funding round is going to be used to increase staff, contribute to research and development, and help with reach. The company has plans to extend to more markets in the future, including both Asia and Europe.
The companies interested in this technology are rather diverse. Automakers such as BMW use it to prototype their products, while the robotics field finds it useful due to the ability to print in many types of alloys. When it comes to smaller companies without machining warehouses, being able to prototype with metal is something that has previously been rather difficult.
“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.”
“We are on the brink of an exciting transformation in how metal parts will be designed, prototyped, and ultimately mass-produced,” added Fulop. “This latest funding puts us in an ideal position to ship our Studio System in the coming months and our Production System in 2018, while also enabling us to grow our company globally. The continued support of our investors underscores the power of our metal 3D printing solutions to help engineers and manufacturers, for the first time, apply metal 3D printing for the entire product development lifecycle — from prototyping to cost-effectively mass producing complex metal parts.”
Other companies, like Makerbot and Autodesk, have contributed to making 3D printing more accessible to those working with plastics. However, Desktop Metal is filling another need, as metals have a higher melting point and are known to be harder to work with. This run of funding will help them move closer toward making metal 3D printing more accessible.