FormnextMetal Additive Manufacturing

The strong impact of Desktop Metal

Versatility, convenience and rapidity are the core advantages of DM systems

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Desktop Metal had quite a significant presence in the last edition of Formnext, where we had the possibility to meet again with Tuan Tranpham, Chief Revenue Officer of the company. The American company based in Burlington, Massachusetts, has been specifically focusing on end-to-end metal 3D printing manufacturing solutions. Founded in 2015 by leaders in advanced manufacturing, metallurgy and robotics, the company is addressing AM challenges related to speed, cost and quality to make metal 3D printing an essential tool for engineers and manufacturers from prototyping to mass production.

This year, various prestigious milestones have been reached by DM, which during the first quarter received USD $65 million in new financing led by Ford Motor Company, bringing total investment to $277 million since its inception. Ford’s Chief Technology Officer also joined the Desktop Metal Board of Directors.

The new funding followed major company milestones, including:

  • Growth of Desktop Metal to more than 225 employees
  • Nearly 100 channel partners and resellers
  • International expansion with distribution in more than 40 countries
  • A portfolio of 100+ pending patent applications covering more than 200 inventions, as well as the granting of two patents for its Separable Supports™
  • The development of advanced R&D, including Live Parts™, an experimental generative​ design tool that applies morphogenetic principles and advanced simulation to shape​ strong, lightweight parts in minutes.

Desktop Metal Formnext

The Ford Motor Company joined a portfolio of strategic partners and investors, including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Future Fund, GV (formerly Google Ventures), GE Ventures, BMW iVentures, Techtronic Industries (TTI), Lowe’s, Lux Capital, Vertex Ventures, Moonrise Venture Partners, DCVC Opportunity, Tyche, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Shenzhen Capital Group (SCGC), Saudi Aramco and 3D printing leader Stratasys.

In terms of offered products, one key achievement is represented by the two systems which can at perform at “Speeds 100x Faster than other products of the competition.” The DM Studio and DM Production systems change the rules of traditional metal manufacturing solutions with the advent of first-of-its-kind innovative approaches that reduce costs and significantly increase speed, safety and print quality. It is an office-friendly metal 3D printing system for rapid prototyping, 10 times less expensive than existing technology today with a complete platform, including both a printer, starting at $49,900, and microwave-enhanced sintering furnace that, together, deliver complex and even impossible geometries of metal 3D printed parts right in an engineer’s office or on the shop floor. 

Specifically, the DM Studio System:

  • Eliminates the need for expensive, industrial facilities to safely house the technology because it requires no hazardous powders, no lasers and no cutting tools to operate.  Instead, the DM Studio System uses Bound Metal Deposition (BMD), a proprietary process, to make accurate and repeatable parts, similar to the safest and most widely used 3D printing process for plastics, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology.
  • Makes metal 3D printing really simple offering a cloud-based software to streamline the entire workflow so engineers can go from computer-aided design (CAD) software to printed parts directly.  Furthermore, system separable supports make it possible to remove support structures by hand, while swappable print cartridges.
  • Increases the versatility of prototyping, being designed to support hundreds of different metal alloys used to mass produce parts and prototypes.
Desktop Metal Formnext
Part 3D printed on the Studio System

To manufacture metal 3D printed parts at scale, Desktop Metal also offers “the fastest 3D printing system for mass production of high resolution metal parts”: the DM Production System, which came to the market this year. Using new, proprietary Single Pass Jetting (SPJ) technology, the DM Production System is 100 times faster than today’s laser-based additive manufacturing systems. For customers, the Production System heavily “reduces the cost-per-part when compared with today’s laser-based systems,” for the first time making it competitive with mass production techniques like casting while offering “improved throughput capabilities of up to 500 cubic inches per hour.”

In terms of software, DM Live Parts software takes a new approach to generative design—applying morphogenetic principles and advanced simulation to shape strong, lightweight parts. Powered by a GPU-accelerated multi-physics engine, Live Parts auto-generates designs in minutes using nature-inspired algorithms where parts grow and adapt based on their function and environment. This enables users to quickly realize the full potential of additive manufacturing—including reduced material usage, cost efficiency and design flexibility.

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Giorgio Magistrelli

Giorgio Magistrelli is a project manager and advisor in Industry 4.0 and additive manufacturing, further than an admitted lawyer with a long term financial and banking experience in emerging and mature markets. Senior advisor and trainer specifically focused on the regulatory, financial and business aspects of Trade, Advanced Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 with related IoT applications, he has long experience in related European Commission H2020 projects, standards, IPR protection, Financial modelling, R&D and Innovation. He often writes on Industry 4.0, IoT, Blockchains, Robotics and Additive manufacturing and related legal, financial business and standardization issues on various magazines (as A3DM Magazine of which he is an editor and member of the technical committee).

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