Swiss carbon fiber 3D printing specialist 9T Labs has raised $17 million in Series A funding that it will funnel into fully commercializing its Red Series Additive Fusion Solution platform.
A combination of 3D printing and compression molding, the platform is designed for the production of advanced carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite parts in volumes ranging from 100 to over 100,000 parts per year.
Having now received the backing of industrial 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys alongside several other key investors, 9T Labs is looking to fully commercialize the platform to produce parts for end-use applications within the aerospace, automotive, medical, industrial, and consumer goods industries.
Carbon fiber 3D printing
9T Labs was founded in 2018 as a spin-off from ETH Zürich with the goal of making carbon fiber composite materials “as accessible as ordinary metal materials” through 3D printing. The firm’s Red Series Additive Fusion Solution platform is an end-to-end 3D printing package comprised of hardware, software, and engineering support services.
At the core of the platform is 9T Labs’ Build Module, an extrusion-based fiber layup 3D printer specifically geared to the printing of carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites. On the software side, the platform includes the firm’s Fibrify software which allows users to import 3D CAD files, design composite parts, and optimize fiber layups, among other capabilities.
The Red Series Additive Fusion Solution platform is suited to both functional prototyping and high-volume end-use applications within a wide array of industries ranging from aviation and motorsports to robotics and sporting goods.
Back in 2020, 9T Labs closed a $4.5 million seed financing round which the firm directed towards further developing its carbon fiber 3D printing technology and growing its mass manufacturing use cases. In November last year, industrial part supplier Setforge invested in the firm’s Red Series 3D printer to replace steel, aluminum, and titanium parts with lightweight and low-cost 3D printed composite alternatives.
A $17 million injection
9T Labs’ latest capital injection will go towards fully commercializing its Red Series platform and funding the firm’s next stage of growth. The investment will enable the firm to help its customers scale up their 3D printed applications to mass volumes, while also feeding into the development of its current material portfolio and future technology platforms.
“This round of investment and the combined expertise with our partners will allow us to make the next big leap in commercialization and fulfilling our mission to enable widespread replacement of metal parts with fully recyclable high-performance carbon composite materials,” said Martin Eichenhofer, Co-founder and CEO at 9T Labs. “Through this support, we will be able to demonstrate things we could not have imagined 10 years ago.”
Alongside Stratasys, key investors in the Series A funding round include Solvay Ventures, the venture capital arm of thermoplastic composites supplier Solvay SA, and venture capital firms Verve Ventures, ACE & Company, Zurcher Kantonalbank and Wingman Ventures.
“9T Labs has combined the simplicity of 3D printing with the strength of continuous carbon fiber composites, and that’s an exciting development for our industry,” said Adam Pawloski, VP Manufacturing Solutions at Stratasys. “Their Additive Fusion Technology leverages the benefits of printing, automated tape laying, and compression molding to deliver fully dense parts with multidirectional reinforcement.
“Moreover, this technology scales to the volumes of production parts needed by serial manufacturers. The end result is a solution with the potential to dramatically shift the industry away from metal and towards composite parts.”
Following the closure of the funding round, former CEO of binder jet 3D printer manufacturer ExOne John Hartner will join 9T Labs’ Board of Directors as Chairman. He added: “I have been impressed by the company’s unique solution and am very excited to help the team to bring this technology to manufacturing companies around the world.”
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Featured image shows the 9T Labs Red Series Build Module (left) and Fusion Module (right). Photo via 9T Labs.