Apr 6, 2018 | By David

We’ve reported before on the pioneering work of leading 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs, and the company looks set to continue its growth and success in the near future, having just secured  major new investment from venture capital partners. The Massachussetts-based firm, which was founded by three MIT graduates back in 2011, has reportedly raised another $30 million in equity funding. This brings the company’s total investment since its inception to an estimated $85 million, including two large funding rounds in 2013 and 2016. The company’s success points to the continuing expansion of the industrial 3D printing eco-system.

(source: Formlabs)

Formlabs' Series A funding round in 2013 was led by DFJ Growth, and it raised a total of $19 million. In 2016, the Series B funding round led by the Foundry Group brought a further $35 million to the company’s coffers. 3D software giant AutoDesk was also a major contributor to this second round. Former AutoDesk CEO Carl Bass, who continues to sit on its board of directors, recently joined the board at Formlabs as an independent director. Sources suggest that directors from all three of these companies played a part again in this new boost in investment at Formlabs.

The Formlabs flagship product is the Form 2, a high-end advanced stereolithography 3D printer that we have previously covered in depth. With its iconic design and impressive printing abilities, the machine has proven to be remarkably popular in a variety of industries, and it established a serious reputation for Formlabs in the 3D printing world. Collaborations with 3D design software company 3Shape have made particularly effective use of the technology, enabling the creation of customized audio earbuds as well as some important dental applications.

A larger SLS 3D printer known as the Fuse 1 was announced last year and should soon form part of Formlabs’ impressive product portfolio. Other exciting additions this year included a range of high-performance resin products optimized for use with the Form 2, as well as a system known as Form Cell.

Form Cell makes use of robotics and advanced design software in order to automate production with 3D printing, enabling manufacturers to organize series production with multiple Form 2 machines much more efficiently. The robotics technology is similar to systems developed by Voodoo Manufacturing and other smaller start-ups, part of an increasing focus on automation of the 3D printing workflow across the industry.

Formlabs envisages the Form Cell platform as a way to allow ''mass customization''. This concept combines the high levels of design flexibility that are a key part of 3D printing technology and of the company’s systems in particular, with improved large-scale operations. A shift in focus from prototyping and small-batch production to large-scale manufacturing would open up a whole range of new opportunities for the industry, and Formlabs is well-placed to take advantage of them.

''We believe we can drive 3D printing into more end-use applications by dramatically improving material properties and significantly decreasing the cost per part, bringing the promise of 3D-printed mass customization closer to reality for businesses and consumers'', said Max Lobovsky, Formlabs CEO, in a press release back in January.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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