Following early successes with customers such as BMW Group and Delphi, Carbon (Carbon 3D Inc.) announced new funding from strategic investors toward the goal of bringing additive technology to more customers transitioning from prototyping-only use cases, to applications requiring final production quality parts with great surface finish, broad and expanding material options and the plans to transition to mainstream manufacturing. A Silicon Valley 3D printing company working at the intersection of hardware, software and molecular science, Carbon also plans to offer its proprietary CLIP technology internationally and is accelerating production to meet worldwide demand for its M1 printer.
The expansion is supported by $81 million from new investors GE Ventures, BMW, Nikon and JSR, as well as existing investors, bringing Carbon’s funding total to $222 million. More details of additional strategic investors involved in this round of financing will be announced in 2017 along with details of their manufacturing projects that utilize Carbon’s technology.
“3D printing is a translation of the digital to a physical reality and when done right, offers true design freedom across every category,” said Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone, CEO and Co-Founder of Carbon. “At launch we set forth a bold vision to fundamentally change how the world makes ‘things.’ We have been working to deliver on that vision for the U.S. market, and are ready to step onto the global stage.”
“In today’s digital world, additive manufacturing is changing how products are designed, made and serviced at GE,” said Steve Taub, Senior Director of Advanced Manufacturing, GE Ventures. “Carbon’s CLIP technology can print exceptional quality parts for end-use production, opening the doors to incredible possibilities like low volume manufacturing, freedom of design, and mass customization. We are excited to work with Carbon as part of our vision in deploying additive manufacturing applications across GE.”
Series C participants Nikon Corporation and JSR Corporation are exploring synergies making Carbon’s technology available in Japan as well as entry into other Asian markets. Nikon will bring their deep expertise in metrology and 3D data profile, including 3D measurement and X-ray CT. JSR, an important producer of fine chemicals associated with the manufacture of microelectronics, is an ideal partner to enhance exploration of new materials and extension of Carbon’s supply chain.
Since the launch of Carbon’s first machine, the M1, the company has pushed the boundaries of 3D printing. For the first time ever, Carbon has made it possible to produce 3-dimensional isotropic parts with the mechanical properties and surface finish of a quality that matches injection-molded plastics. Collaboration with world-class manufacturing companies and service bureaus have enabled Carbon to deliver final quality parts for customers in industries as varied as automotive, medical, apparel, and consumer electronics. Carbon’s customers include BMW Group, Delphi and Ford.
“We’re excited to partner with the innovative Carbon team to explore opportunities for Japanese and Asian expansion,” said Masao Nakajima, Senior Vice President of Nikon Corporation. “In addition to bringing fundamental scientific advances to 3D printing, the company has executed relentlessly, putting its M1 machine into the hands of customers, and continuing to innovate on their machine, software, and resins. “
“The current 3D printing market, with the exception of very few, is a prototyping market,” said Nobu Koshiba, President of JSR Corporation. “Carbon approached the challenge, and potential, of 3D printing from a very different perspective. With its M1 and CLIP technologies, Carbon has introduced a solution that will truly revolutionize manufacturing.”
The M1 is a powerful new tool for product design, functional prototyping and at-volume manufacturing. No other additive technology delivers the synthesis of fit, form, and function needed to deliver end-use parts. From internet connectivity that enables over-the-air software upgrades to advanced encryption capabilities and serialization of parts so born-on data can be linked to individual components, Carbon is focused on delivering “smarter manufacturing” to ultimately create a new industrial category which will have vast implications across industries.
The M1 leverages a range of materials which are designed to meet engineering requirements — from the elongation and resilience expected of an injection molded polyurethane elastomer, to the temperature resistance of a glass-filled Nylon, and many more. Carbon currently offers five commercially available resin families.