One of the most fascinating companies in 3D printing over the last two years has undeniably been Carbon. The company’s high-speed CLIP technology allows for 3D printing in unprecedented times and has, since coming out of stealth in March of last year, seen incredible attention — and growth. Carbon, now with a 180-member strong team, has been hard at work, bringing their M1 3D printer to market this past April, along with a growing number of materials to create both prototype and end-use parts, backed by an ever-increasing number of investors and supported by a higher frequency of customer interest and use.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet the team from Carbon before, including talking materials with VP of Materials Jason Rolland at RAPID in May and chatting with VP of Product Development Phil DeSimone and VP of Sales Paul DiLaura at TCT Show in September. Below you can meet Paul DiLaura as he introduces several of Carbon’s available materials:
Now as 2016 winds down, it seemed time to take a look at how business has been for the company overall over the last landmark year. I had A Few Questions For CEO and Co-Founder Joseph DeSimone, PhD, to learn more about the company’s progress and plans. Dr. DeSimone, who co-founded Carbon back in 2013, has a strong background in academics, having published more than 300 scientific articles, as well as in science, as he has more than 150 issued patents to his name (with more than 80 patents pending).We appreciate Dr. DeSimone taking the time to talk to 3DPrint.com, as he fills us in more about the latest from Carbon. The company recently hit several landmarks, and we’re pleased to be able to share his insights as well as predictions for the industry and Carbon’s place in it.
“The past year has been very exciting as we have continued to challenge the prototyping focus that so many 3D printing companies have and instead focus on producing manufacturing grade end use parts. Some of the highlights of the past year include:
- Unveiling the M1, our first commercially available printer, at AMUG on April 1, 2016. We were thrilled with how it was received by businesses, media and the public for its potential to revolutionize traditional 3D printing through its use of Carbon’s Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) technology.
- Also in April, we added Ellen J. Kullman, former Chair and CEO of DuPont, to our Board of Directors joining renowned businessman Alan Mulally, former CEO of Ford Motor Company, as Carbon’s other external board member. Soon after, the first M1 printers were shipped in June 2016.
- In September, we announced new funding of $81M from global strategic investors including GE Ventures, BMW Group, Nikon and JSR, which will allow us to explore new markets and applications for our technology.
- Most recently, we’ve moved in to a new headquarters to support our growing staff, which is now at 180 Carbonites.
Throughout that time, we were also able to work with some awesome companies and help them change the way they approached manufacturing and 3D printing. Some of the many companies we have worked with over the past year include: Alta Motors, Legacy Effects, Johnson and Johnson, BMW, Ford and several more.”
“It’s been humbling and exciting! We don’t take it lightly that such marquee investors have so much confidence in our company and have decided to support us. It’s the ultimate validation and everyone here at Carbon couldn’t be happier with how things are going.”
Companies are using CLIP technology to create prototypes as well as end-use parts — where do you see the balance of iterative versus final manufactured components now? Do you expect this makeup to shift in the next few years?
How many materials does Carbon currently offer? It seems that every time we turn around, there’s another one being announced!
“It is encouraging to us that large, well-respected companies are recognizing that we’re in the midst of a manufacturing revolution and that our tech is helping enable it. We see a significant shift in place with how companies approach 3D printing. Our customers are already taking advantage of CLIP’s greatest strength: end-use part production. Instead of only using 3D printing for prototyping, our customers are able to make iterations on final end-use parts and are have the ability to do low to medium volume production runs. This new approach vastly improves customization and allows designers more freedom than ever before. This is a small percentage of the industry right now, but will continue to grow massively in the next few years and we aim to be very much involved.
The entire industry is moving toward 3D manufacturing, iterating in real-time and using 3D tech to manufacture functional parts that can be used right away. Industry 4.0 is moving at a fast ‘CLIP’ and it shows no signs of slowing down.”
“We have been consistent, releasing at least one new resin per quarter and currently have five available to our customers which can be used for a wide range of applications (read about them here).
Although Carbon is a young company, we are quickly advancing. Our subscription model allows our customers to stay up-to-date with our advancements. When we released the M1 back in April, it could not print with all of resins available today, but with the software updates we push out, the printers are always appreciating in value.”
What does this diversity in material offerings mean for the industries Carbon is reaching?
Can you tell us about some of Carbon’s partnerships around the US and around the world?
“We actively partner with our customers to design industry-specific resins, ensuring that they have the right material to meet industry requirements and accomplish their goals. Our resin diversity is what helps provide the perfect fit solution in such a wide array of verticals, including automotive, industrial design, healthcare, aerospace, and consumer electronics.”
“In the U.S., Carbon has 6 production partners across the country, which offer their customers the benefits of printing with Carbon’s CLIP technology. We are also working with big companies like GE, Johnson & Johnson, Delphi to explore and improve upon the applications for our technology. Internationally, we recently expanded to Asia, installing machines at JSR and Nikon. We’re also developing our go-to-market strategy in Europe, which claims 40 percent of the 3D printing market, exploring EU compliancy and strategic partners in the region.”
What do partnerships with manufacturing companies highlight about the state of additive manufacturing in production, and about the ‘next industrial revolution’?
How has Carbon’s vision for its place in the industry been reshaping over the last year?
“We are in the midst of the ‘next industrial revolution’. It’s happening now and it’s happening with CLIP. In evaluating traditional 3D printing, companies had to sacrifice great mechanical properties with a process like FDM or amazing surface finish with SLA; no technology could do both. Now, with CLIP, it’s possible to print isotropic parts with mechanical properties and surface finish like injection-molded plastics. Our partnerships highlight how revolutionary CLIP is for the manufacturing industry, as companies like GE and BMW Group are exploring how to bring this technology directly into their manufacturing process.”
“Initially, we had our sights set on CLIP technology flooding the prototyping market. However, after our customers have begun using CLIP we have seen a faster than anticipated push from our customers to go to directly to end-use manufacturing. It’s promising and we’re excited because we think this is the true strength of our technology.”
What can we expect to see from Carbon in 2017? What about over the next five years?
“Carbon will be applying its technology in new markets and sectors with top-notch strategic partners and customers over the next year and we can’t wait for you to see what we have in store. You’ll also see more of our customers using CLIP for manufacturing end-use parts rather than just prototyping. In the next five years, the possibilities are endless, and we are looking forward to being a big part of the factories of the future.”
What else would you like our readers to know about Carbon today?
Carbon remains a company we love hearing from — and we certainly look forward to an exciting 2017 as we keep up with the latest from this dynamic team. Discuss in the Carbon forum at 3DPB.com.