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Desktop Metal Aims to Commercialize Office-Friendly Metal 3D Printers

Desktop Metal - Studio Fleet parts

Desktop Metal in Burlington, Massachusetts, is moving to commercially develop its 3D printing technology for producing metal components in aluminum, titanium, stainless steels, etc. The company recently closed a $160 million funding round, led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), that will enable it to advance its technology.

“We are at a critical juncture in the advancement of metal 3D printing and additive manufacturing,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “This new funding will fuel the continued development of our metal 3D printing technology and rich product roadmap, the scaling of operations to meet a growing demand of orders, and the financing of major new research and development initiatives. Combined, this will set us on a trajectory to become a global leader in metal 3D printing, a key pillar of Industry 4.0.”

The company has developed two 3D printing machine lines — the Production System and the Studio System — that are currently being commercialized.

According to Desktop Metal, the Production System is the world’s fastest metal printing press for mass production — said to have an over 400% productivity improvement over the closest binder jet alternatives as well as being more than 100 times faster than laser powder bed fusion systems in the market. These systems are designed to print a broad range of alloys, including reactive metals such as titanium and aluminum. This process enables the use of metal powders that are 80% lower cost than laser powder bed fusion metals, delivering parts at 1/20th the cost. The Production System technology is being adopted by major Fortune 500 companies and initial systems will begin shipping commercially in early 2019.

The Studio System — the world’s first and only metal 3D printing system able to print and sinter parts in an office environment. Being able to 3D print metal components within the office delivers the same accessibility that product developers are accustomed to with 3D printed plastic components. The Studio System is available through a global network of more than 85 sales partners in 48 countries. Early customers of the Studio System include: Ford, Stanley Black & Decker, Goodyear, Google’s ATAP, BMW, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in addition to leading educational institutions such as Michigan Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School (the nation’s first high school to install a metal 3D printer).

Studio System 3D printers were designed by Desktop Metal to be implemented in office environments.
Studio System 3D printers were designed by Desktop Metal to be implemented in office environments.

“Desktop Metal’s 3D printing solutions can redefine prototyping and mass production of metal products, which has profound disruptive implications for manufacturers like Koch Industries,” said Chase Koch, president of KDT. “We are very bullish about the prospects of Desktop Metal, not just as an investor, but also as a customer and partner.”

Additional investors in the Series E funding round include GV (formerly Google Ventures), Panasonic, and Techtronic Industries, as well as previous venture capital investors in the company, including Lux Capital, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Kleiner Perkins.

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