While 3D printing is becoming more entrenched in the aerospace industry, some aircraft manufacturers and airliners have embraced the technology more enthusiastically and for a longer time than others. Boeing has been on board with 3D printing for years, and since 2015 has been relying on a company called Morf3D to produce 3D printed aluminum and titanium components for its satellites and helicopters. Morf3D was formed in 2015 and has been working for Boeing since its beginning, and now Boeing has responded by investing in the startup.
The investment will allow Morf3D to collaborate with Boeing to further develop manufacturing processes and engineering capabilities. Morf3D’s technology involves the creation of lighter, stronger 3D printed aerospace components.
Morf3D is full of metallurgy experts who use a new set of additive manufacturing design rules to advance 3D printing and accelerate its commercialization. The company’s software, combined with engineering expertise, significantly reduces mass and increases the performance and functionality of manufactured parts.
“Developing standard additive manufacturing processes for aerospace components benefits both companies and empowers us to fully unleash the value of this transformative technology,” said Kim Smith, Vice President and General Manager of Fabrication for Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Additive Manufacturing leader.
“We are excited to be a distinguished and trusted partner of Boeing’s additive manufacturing supplier base, as we continue to industrialize our processes for the high-rate production of flight-worthy additively manufactured components,” said Ivan Madera, CEO of Morf3D. “This investment will enable us to increase our engineering staff and expand our technology footprint of EOS M400-4 DMLS systems to better serve the growing demands of our aerospace customers.”
The Series A funding round was co-led by Boeing HorizonX Ventures, the company’s venture capital arm. The HorizonX Ventures investment portfolio consists of companies specializing in technologies for aerospace and manufacturing innovations, including autonomous systems, energy storage, advanced materials, augmented reality systems and software, machine learning, hybrid-electric and hypersonic propulsion, and Internet of Things connectivity.
“As innovative companies continue to revolutionize technologies and methods, we are proud to invest in the rapidly growing and competitive additive manufacturing landscape,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX.
In other investment news this week, Chromatic 3D Materials, a provider of next-generation 3D printing materials, announced the closing of Series A funding led by DSM Venturing. Chromatic 3D Materials’ patented technology involves the use of reactive liquids to form a 3D printed part that is flexible, durable, unmeltable and meets the requirements for finished industrial manufactured goods. This technology makes the industrial use of additive manufacturing available to many markets and applications for the first time. Its development was supported by the National Science Foundation’s SBIR program.
In addition to the investment, DSM will also partner with Chromatic 3D Materials to introduce its technology to new markets. The first product family includes flexible polyurethane elastomers for a range of applications in the apparel, tooling, automotive, and healthcare markets.
“DSM is an established material supplier in the additive manufacturing market,” said Dr. Cora Leibig, CEO of Chromatic 3D Materials. “Together, we share a commitment to deliver the materials and technologies necessary for 3D Printing to transform manufacturing. With this investment, and with our partnership, we will accelerate our market introduction.”
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