AM Investment Strategies
AMS Spring 2023

Mantle 3D Announces Commercial Launch of “the Only 3D Printer Designed for Toolmaking”

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Mantle 3D, a San Francisco-based, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) startup, announced that its metal printers for tooling will now be commercially available. Mantle is making the announcement ahead of its appearance next week (September 12-17) in booth #433136, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago.

Mantle is currently taking orders for its P-200 metal printers, as well as its F-200 sintering furnaces, and the company expects that it will make its first deliveries some time in the first half of 2023. Not only does it specialize in making metal printers used for printing tooling, as mentioned above, Mantle in fact claims that the P-200 is the only printer specifically designed for printing tools.

Regardless of how accurate, or provable that in fact is, it’s a good schtick. To go with its press release, Mantle put together a video with Westminster Tool, a manufacturer of tools for the aerospace, medical, and consumer packaging industries. Mantle will be appearing with Westminster Tool at IMTS.

In the video, Ray Coombs, founder and president of Westminster Tool, commented, “We have recently purchased Mantle technology, and we feel that it gives us an advantage for the future, providing a better, faster, cheaper product for our customer.” Regarding the advantage provided by using Mantle’s platform, Coombs explained, “You have 5 different predominant operations that happen in mold-making. That means you need either one person that can do all 5 things, or you need one of each that is at a super high level of skill, which takes time [that no one has]…”

In this rather straightforward way, Westminster Tool’s president has captured the core advantages that AM can provide for manufacturers dealing with constant shortages of skilled labor. This is especially significant for toolmaking, in particular, as it affects every area of all other links in global supply chains.

Thus, whether or not it is the “only” platform designed for making tools, a platform that is optimized to make automated toolmaking as simple as possible is still a solid niche. Moreover, the fact that the P-200 is a hybrid system, also capable of CNC machining, accentuates the potential to train as many individuals as possible in the conventional toolmaking industry to use AM. That will be essential to the sector’s growth over the near-term future, if labor markets remain even remotely as tight as they’ve been in the past few years.

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