Industrial 3D printing startup Fortify has raised $10 million in a series A round of funding led by Accel, with participation from Prelude Ventures, Mainspring Capital Partners, and Neotribe.
Founded out of Boston in 2016, Fortify is one of a growing number of “additive manufacturing” companies to target such industries as aerospace and automotive manufacturing. It offers tools to optimize processes through a combination of computer aided design (CAD) and specialized hardware.
Additive manufacturing effectively layers materials to create a product, rather than removing materials, as would be the case with traditional manufacturing techniques such as carving or milling. This translates to less material waste and can also enable “zero inventory” manufacturing, with manufacturers able to produce goods on demand, rather than mass-producing products in advance.
Fortify combines magnetics with digital light processing (DLP) 3D printing to “produce composite parts with optimized mechanical properties,” according to a statement. DLP essentially works by sending a 3D model from the CAD software to a machine that exposes programmable resins to a light projection of the 3D model — gradually transforming the liquids into the desired solid object.
Fortify’s magnetic 3D printing process — Fluxprint — produces customized composite materials optimized for their intended use case. These products will usually have increased durability and can be produced more quickly and cheaply than with traditional composite manufacturing techniques. In effect, companies can fine-tune materials for specific applications, with the end result stronger and lighter.
“Material properties are the dominant factor driving adoption of additive manufacturing across industries,” said Ben Arnold, Fortify’s VP of business development. “Our open materials platform leverages the world’s leading polymer chemists as they continually innovate. We reinforce these base resins with fiber as we print to gain significantly higher levels of performance.”
Fortify had previously raised a $2.5 million seed round, and with its fresh cash influx it plans grow its team and roll out a “discovery partner program” to give early access to “select customers.”
The company said its initial focus will be on injection mold tooling for “quick turn, lower volume runs.” It added that it plans to start shipping beta machines to customers in early 2020.
The global manufacturing industry is pegged at around $12 trillion — which may be why investors have been pulling out their checkbooks to back the latest technologies.
Last month, Redwood City-based Carbon raised $260 million — at a $2.4 billion valuation — for a similar proposition. Carbon has helped Adidas create a lightweight 3D printed shoe, while Ford digitally manufactured polymer parts for its F-150 and Mustang vehicles and football equipment maker Riddell tapped Carbon to manufacture next-gen helmet protection.
Elsewhere in the digital manufacturing realm, metal 3D printing platform Desktop Metal recently closed a $160 million investment round, industrial 3D printing company Markforged nabbed $82 million, and Essentium closed a $22.5 million round.
“Now more than ever before, it’s vital that the U.S. economy has a strong manufacturing ecosystem,” added Accel partner Eric Wolford. “Fortify is uniquely positioned to help lead the resurgence of American manufacturing by using tech to produce best-in-class parts for the digital age.”