Optomec is the leading industrial manufacturer of 3D printers for producing electronics, relying on their proprietary Aerosol Jet technology. In addition to receiving significant research boosts through the America Makes 3D printing institute, the New Mexico company just received financial backing from GE Ventures and Autodesk to further develop this technology, as well as their metal 3D printing capabilities.
GE began working with Optomec as far back as 2005, when GE Global Research purchased the firm’s Aerosol Jet printed electronics system, which GE has since expanded to other branches, including their Power & Water, Aviation and Healthcare divisions. They are now using the technology in an effort to 3D print sensors directly onto high-valve components with the goal of improving the longevity of those systems. Backing them financially, GE hopes to drive the technology even farther, with Steve Taub, Senior Director of Advanced Manufacturing at GE Ventures, saying, “It’s always a great opportunity when we are able to invest in a company we’ve been working with as part of a customer relationship. We know from direct experience that Optomec’s Advanced Manufacturing solutions are successful and look forward to its continued developments within the space.”
Optomec has also been using Autodesk’s software to create the design data for driving their 3D printers and will now work together to integrate Autodesk’s Spark 3D printing platform to further drive their machines. Samir Hanna, vice president and general manager of Consumer and 3D Printing at Autodesk, says, “The Spark Investment Fund aims to push the boundaries of additive manufacturing, and we believe a connected ecosystem between hardware and software is key in spurring innovation and collaboration. We’re excited to have a shared vision with Optomec in enabling additive manufacturing technology to be seamlessly integrated into conventional production platforms to advance the overall design and fabrication process.”
Optomec CEO Dave Ramahi contributes, “Optomec is extremely pleased to welcome GE Ventures and Autodesk as strategic investors. Both companies are at the vanguard in embracing additive manufacturing as a next generation production technology. Our strategic visions are well aligned on many fronts, ranging from the need for an open systems approach to drive adoption, to the role that these technologies can play in advancing key initiatives such as the Industrial Internet and IoT. We are very fortunate to be able to draw on their technical and commercial expertise.”
With even more backing from some of the largest players in the 3D printing industry, we’re likely to see Optomec’s Aerosol Jet technology, as well as its metal 3D printing processes, impact the larger world of manufacturing. Or, rather, we probably won’t see it all that much, as it will likely be used behind closed doors, but we may very well feel that impact.