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Nikon Announces Investment in Ai Build Software

Nikon Corporation has announced an investment in UK based Ai Build Limited which specializes in 3D printing software, through the Nikon-SBI Innovation Fund. This investment will expand the range of value delivered to customers in additive manufacturing (AM) and accelerate Nikon’s business expansion.

Ai Build raised $8.5 million in the Series A funding round led by IQ Capital, with participation from Nikon as a strategic investor alongside its existing investors.

Ai Build partners with major manufacturing firms, including Boeing, to expand the use of additive manufacturing in large-scale industrial applications. These applications range from specialized tooling to end-use components in aerospace, automotive, and energy sectors. Early customers of Ai Build have experienced significant improvements, including a 65% decrease in failed production attempts and a 90% increase in overall build efficiency. As Ai Build adds more machines, users, and manufacturing data to its platform, the system’s capabilities and level of automation continue to increase. The company aims to eliminate all inefficiencies caused by human error in order to make the manufacturing process simpler, more intelligent, sustainable, and cost-effective.

“It is a great privilege to be supported by investors and partners that share and understand the same vision as us. We are consistently learning and evolving the Ai Build platform to be ready for this rapidly growing market. This funding round comes at a perfect time for us to accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing at scale and innovate together with our clients, partners and investors” stated Michail Desyllas, Co-founder and COO at Ai Build.

Ai Build’s 3D printing software is compatible with Nikon’s adopted AM technology, the directed energy deposition (DED) method, allowing for rapid generation of modeling paths even for complex and difficult-to-manufacture shapes. When utilized in combination with Nikon’s Metal 3D Printer Lasermeister 100A series, it provides a comprehensive solution for AM that enables automation and multi-variety variable production.

Ai Build will use the funding to accelerate its product roadmap, allowing it to onboard more customers with higher levels of automation and AI capabilities. Investment will also enable the team to expand into North America by opening a subsidiary in the US, and to continue its expansion in Europe. The engineering teams of Ai Build and Nikon will collaborate to advance the state of the art in additive manufacturing by combining their experience in software and hardware technologies.

“Ai Build offers extensive solutions that enable automated workflows, bringing efficiency and sustainability to the field of AM. In tandem with Nikon’s capabilities, together we will deliver innovative solutions that revolutionize AM” commented Yuichi Shibazaki, Corporate Vice President and Officer in charge of Next Generation Project Division at Nikon.

In the Medium-Term Management Plan announced in April 2022, Nikon emphasized strengthening digital manufacturing business with a particular focus on positioning material processing as a growth driver. Leveraging long-standing expertise in opto-electronics technologies and precision control technologies, Nikon, in collaboration with Ai Build, will drive innovation in the manufacturing industry by delivering tailored solutions that align with customers’ modeling needs.

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