Amsterdam-based robotic metal 3D printing firm MX3D has raised €2.25 million in an investment round that will see the company launch its M1 robotic metal additive manufacturing system.
Comprising a welding robot and MX3D’s MetalXL software and control system, the M1 can be used to 3D print metal parts for high impact industries such as oil and gas, maritime, and tooling.
Netherlands-based impact investor DOEN Participaties, the investment fund of KplusV and StartGreen Capital, PDENH, and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) all contributed to the investment. In addition to fueling the launch of the M1, the funds will also speed up the development of the MetalXL system and support its commercial rollout.
“Our Metal XL Software and Control System enables companies to turn their welding robot into a high end 3D metal printer, in the course of one day,” said Gijs van der Velden, MX3D’s CEO. “Since the launch of MetalXL we have received many customer requests whether we could supply them with a complete solution. The M1 Metal AM System is the answer to this call.
“Now, customers without a welding robot can quickly and affordably start printing large metal parts.”
MX3D and robotic 3D printing
Founded in 2015, MX3D leverages metal 3D printing and intelligent Robotic Additive Manufacturing (RAM) technology to produce parts for new and high-impact sectors. The company’s production process combines robotic arms and a Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) 3D printer in conjunction with its MetalXL software to produce large and complex metal objects.
The company has previously deployed its technology within the construction sector for the creation of a 3D printed stainless steel bridge in Amsterdam. Despite hitting several snags over the course of the four-year project, the bridge was completed and exhibited at the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven in October 2018. The bridge was integrated with smart technology using a sensor network and digital twin to monitor the bridge’s health and use in real-time.
Following the success of the project, MX3D partnered with Japanese architectural, engineering and construction firm Takenaka, to develop a 3D printed structural steel connector using its RAM technology.
The company has also undertaken creative projects for research and development purposes, including a 3D printed mobile cafe and 3D printed bicycles. The first bike MX3D printed using its WAAM technology was made from Stainless Steel and named the Arc Bike I, while the second model, the Arc Bike II, was printed from aluminum in order to demonstrate the progress of the technology’s development. The second model was significantly lighter than its predecessor and represented the company’s first 3D printing project using aluminum.
Development and commercialization
According to MX3D, its MetalXL software and control system turns existing welding robots into an industrial metal additive manufacturing system that enables users to manage the entire printing process from design to production in one place. Using funds from previous investments, the company has introduced MetalXL to multiple launching customers and will use the latest money to roll out the system commercially.
The system connects multiple brands of robots, power sources, and sensors, of which the company’s goal is to “connect several more robot brands, which allows us to service more than 80 percent of the worldwide robotic market,” Van der Velden said.
The company’s newly-developed M1 Metal AM System offers customers without access to a welding robot a complete metal 3D printer that allows them to start printing large metal parts in-house. Part of the €2.25 million investment will support the product’s launch and further development.
“DOEN Participaties has supported MX3D for a long time and with this new investment we show that we have a lot of faith in the new M1 Metal AM System and the future of MX3D,” said Merijn ten Thije, Impact Investment Manager at DOEN Participaties. “The innovative MX3D solution enables companies to improve their production methods and significantly reduce the need for transport and material. This can have a significant positive impact towards a more sustainable future.”
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Featured image shows the M1 Metal AM System. Photo via MX3D.