Additive Assurance, a metal 3D printing quality assurance startup, has now raised AU$4.1 million ($2.7 million) in early-stage venture capital funding to establish an additive manufacturing quality assurance center of excellence at its Melbourne, Australia headquarters, as well as expand the team internationally and support further growth initiatives. The round was led by Australian tech investor Significant Capital Ventures (SCV) and supported by industry superfund Hostplus alongside existing shareholders IP Group Australia and Monash Investment Holdings, the venture capital arm of Monash University. With this latest funding round, Additive Assurance has raised AU$5.9 million ($4 million).
Commenting on the latest funding round, SCV CEO Fiona Hindmarsh said the team at Additive Assurance is bringing exceptional technology innovation to market and solving a critical pain point for high-value additive manufacturing.
“In a world where supply chain control and quality is going to become increasingly important, Additive Assurance has the opportunity to be adopted on a global scale, reducing time, cost and waste across the industry value chain,” pointed out Hindmarsh.
What started off as a spin-out at Monash University in Melbourne in 2019 has become a startup that commercializes a novel in-situ monitoring tool for metal 3D printing to customers like Volkswagen. Additive Assurance has developed a new method for quality assurance in high-value metal additive manufacturing able to detect, notify, and correct variations in the build process. Better known as AMiRIS, this independent in-situ process monitoring solution for laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) metal AM is based on technology originally developed at Monash University.
AMiRIS allows manufacturers to ensure the structural integrity of components as they are being made and correct any anomalies when they occur. Even more so, this new approach to AM process monitoring enables new avenues in automated fault detection, prediction, and prevention. Based on patent-pending technology, AMiRIS combines a suite of optical sensors to gather micron-level detail and, through machine learning, provide rich insight into the process.
Agnostic to several lasers and capable of detecting a wide range of process instabilities, AMiRIS offers more than simple process monitoring. Adjustable thresholds for tracking, notification, and intervention ensure the highest machine utilization and quality control.
With efficient data streams, the intent is to build the world’s largest cloud-enabled AM process database for machine learning, allowing for significant increases in production yields and, ultimately, part certification.
Originating from research led by doctoral candidate Marten Jurg and materials engineer and Monash University Senior Lecturer Andrey Molotnikov, the machine learning-powered technology solves reproducibility and reliability issues and enables increased adoption of metal 3D printing across several industries, from energy to healthcare, indicates Additive Assurance.
In 2019, Additive Assurance co-founders Jurg and Molotnikov benefitted from the Accelerator program of Monash’s Generator entrepreneurship hub. In addition, they received support from the Monash Enterprise team, including Monash Innovation providing funding from the Monash Research Impact Fund, IP patent protection, and commercial strategy.
Focused on a mission to help unlock the potential of metal additive manufacturing, the startup founders quickly realized its product would be helpful in metal powder bed fusion techniques, like selective laser melting (SLM), direct metal laser sintering (DLMS), and selective laser sintering (SLS), as well as provide an in-situ analysis method that allows for the rapid detection of faults and variations in the additive manufacturing process, enabling multiple industries, including aerospace, medical devices, energy, and defense to take control of their AM builds.
Currently, the startup is working with leading global customers in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries to enable the use of 3D printed parts in serial production.
Furthermore, this latest funding round pushes Additive Assurance’s international expansion plan forward. As Jurg stated, this investment “further validates the transformative growth opportunity presented by additive manufacturing, our technological advantage in providing quality assurance, and our continued market momentum.”
Jurg, who is also the CEO of the company, anticipated in a series of posts on social media that Additive Assurance has “big plans for 2023” and encouraged machine learning specialists, software engineers, and others to apply to several of the opportunities currently available at the company’s Australian headquarters.
As part of the funding provided by SCV, the company’s investment manager Grace Dolan will join the board of Additive Assurance, which already has tech investor Ellen Gorissen from IP Group Australia; Monash University alum Jordan Thurgood; former Siemens Australia Head of Market Development Jürgen Schneider; IP Group Australia Managing Director Mike Molinari, and industry expert Roger Price as chairman.
3DPrint.com and SmarTech Analysis are hosting Additive Manufacturing Strategies in New York City on February 7-9, 2023. Register for the event here to learn from and network with the most exciting companies and individuals in AM.
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