Integrated Laser Scanner Generates Topographical Map of Each 3D Printed Layer

Inkbit, the company that built the first 3D printer driven by vision-based feedback control and artificial intelligence, has announced it has raised $12M in equity financing round led by Stratasys and DSM Venturing with additional participation from Ocado, 3M and Saint-Gobain. This new capital raise follows on the company’s first $2.8M in December of 2017. Inkbit is also funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation and MassVentures.

Proceeds will be used to industrialize Inkbit’s additive manufacturing system to fit the requirements of multi-material and volume manufacturing, expand the set of materials for medical, life sciences and robotics applications and install the first units for customers.

Inkbit uses a proprietary 3D scanning system to generate a topographical map of each layer after deposition. Any discrepancy from the expected geometry is corrected in subsequent layers. The data is also used to train a machine learning algorithm that enables the Inkbit printer to learn the properties of each material and anticipate its behavior ensuring parts are built quickly and accurately, every time. Per-layer scanning also allows the generation of a full 3D reconstruction of each part as printed, providing a complete digital record of every print, ensuring 100% quality control on every part.

“We are excited to partner with such an extraordinary team of industry-leading players and impressed by their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to innovation,” said Davide Marini, Inkbit cofounder and CEO. “The composition of this syndicate was chosen to maximize the speed of development and commercialization of our platform, with each investor bringing to us their unique expertise in equipment manufacturing, high-performance materials and applications in robotics, medical devices and life sciences tools. Our value proposition to customers is simple: we are adding a layer of machine vision and machine learning to material jetting, increasing its accuracy, reliability and enabling its use with production-grade materials.”

“As pioneers of jetting-based additive manufacturing solutions, we are excited to help Inkbit bring their technology to the factory floor. Vision-based feedback control and artificial intelligence will take additive manufacturing to a whole new level and will help to enable its widespread use for production,” said Ronen Lebi, Vice President of Corporate Development at Stratasys.

2D material jetting is currently used across a range of industrial processes, such as ceramic and textile manufacturing. While its 3D counterpart is well proven in prototyping applications, limited material choice has restricted its use in production. The contactless material jetting process developed by Inkbit eliminates the need for planarization and enables printing of multi-material parts with production-grade materials.

Inkbit has begun working with customers, such as Johnson & Johnson, through an early access program to develop an initial set of applications. The company plans to release the first systems in 2021 to select customers. Inkbit machines will provide customers with volume production capabilities, higher accuracy and automated quality assurance for every printed part.

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