Spanish 3D printer manufacturer BCN3D Technologies has raised €2.8 million from a combination of new and existing strategic investors. The start-up has now gained more than €5.5 million in investment since it was spun off from Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in 2019.
The funding round was led by existing backers The Spanish National Innovation Agency (CDTI) and supported by new investors The Mondragon Corporation. The conglomerate of Spanish industrial businesses was joined by venture capitalist firms Accurafy4, JME Venture capital, and Danobatgroup, which also participated in the fundraising.
BCN3D has stated that it will use the investment to advance its IDEX technology. In addition to developing its additive manufacturing process, the company will also leverage the funding to produce new materials and features for its workbench line of 3D printers.
“We are excited to have the support of Mondragon,” said Xavier Martinez Faneca, CEO of BCN3D. “It will allow us to strengthen our innovation plans for the workbench segment. I look forward to being part of this next phase of BCN3D, as we will accelerate the accessibility of 3D printing”.
BCN3D’s IDEX 3D printing technology
Since becoming independent from UPC’s CIM-UPC center, where the company was founded in 2012, BCN3D has focused on developing its IDEX 3D printing method. While some dual extrusion desktop 3D printers have both tool heads within the same carriage, BCN3D’s printers can control both tool heads independently. Available in duplication and mirror mode on the firm’s 3D printers, this allows users to work with both tool heads simultaneously, effectively doubling the production capacity.
Building on this technology, the company launched its Sigma range of machines, which have been updated and improved many times over the years. For example, BCN3D launched its R17 model of 3D printers in 2017, which featured a new fan system enabling better cooling, and an additional line of six different hotends. This was followed by the launch of its FFF dual extruder 3D printers: the Sigma and Sigmax R19 in September 2018. The new Sigma was designed to deliver high-resolution multi-material parts, while the Sigmax featured an IDEX architecture that was capable of printing at a much larger volume.
The company later announced a series of partnerships to develop new applications for, and expand the reach of, its technology. Working with the Barcelona-based Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) for instance, BCN3D installed a number of its 3D printers for students to use for manufacturing prototypes and functional parts for projects. More recently, the company has collaborated with Istanbul-based 3D printer reseller 3Dörtgen to expand its global reach and seen its systems bring time and cost savings to its customer Tecalum Industrial.
Having initially raised €3 million in seed funding to get the business off the ground last year, BCN3D has now gained a further €2.8 million in investment. Using the cash raised, the Spanish-based 3D printer manufacturer will seek to advance its printing process, and create a new range of additive materials.
BCN3D’s continued momentum
So far, BCN3D has brought a portfolio of three extrusion-based 3D printers in the desktop and workbench range, as well as nine filament options, to market. Using the newly-raised funding, BCN3D will seek to strengthen its development of new hardware features and 3D printing materials, by collaborating with a number of new partners.
Working with Forward AM, the 3D printing arm of chemical producer BASF, and The Mitsubishi Chemical Group, the company intends to develop a new line of industrial-grade filaments. The thermoplastics will be formulated with the aim of ensuring the highest possible print quality and designed for a number of technical applications within several different industries.
Following its investment, Danobatgroup, a benchmark manufacturer of high value-added solutions and automated production systems, will also partner with BCN3D. By combining their knowledge from both industries, the companies will develop potential new features for BCN3D’s 3D printers, in addition to other “future technologies.”
Clave Capital, which manages The Mondragon Corporation’s venture capital fund, recorded its satisfaction at the firm’s first investment in 3D printing technology. “Not only does BCN3D perfectly fit our long-term strategy for the additive manufacturing industry with its vision to make 3D printing accessible, we firmly believe BCN3D can push the limits in the 3D printing industry,” said Alberto Bermejo, Investment Director at Clave Capital.
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Featured image shows a ‘print farm’ of BCN3D’s Sigma 3D printers. Photo via BCN3D.