Business

Evolve Additive Solutions recieves $19m investment from LEGO and Stanley Black & Decker

Evolve Additive Solutions the proprietary developer of new 3D printing technology, Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process (STEP), has received $19 million in equity from three strategic investors.

LEGO Brand Group, the innovation development arm of LEGO investment company KIRKBI A/S is the first investor, followed by FORTUNE 500 industrial tool and hardware company Stanley Black & Decker and a third, undisclosed, party.

Steve Chillscyzn, CEO of Evolve Additive Solutions, comments, “Evolve has entered an exciting new growth phase as we begin commercial development of our proprietary STEP technology,”

“We are excited to have forged equity partnerships with world leading companies that recognize the production potential of STEP and are committed to working alongside Evolve to bring the technology
to commercialization.”

STEP 3D printing 

Evolve Additive started out life in Stratasys’ research and development labs around 8 or 9 years ago. Unlike previously reported, Evolve is not a subsidiary of Stratasys but officially spun out from the company in 2017.

The company’s main focus is on the commercialization and industrial application of its STEP 3D printing technology. As previously detailed in a patent filed by Evolve, STEP is based on the proprietary technology behind most photocopiers and laser printers.

Reportedly, the technology is up to “50 times faster than the next fastest AM plastics technology” with a part finish comparable to injection molding. In a call with  Chillscyzn and Bruce Bradshaw, Chief Business and Marketing Officer at Evolve, I was informed that, rather than 3D printing for prototyping, STEP is a “100% manufacturing” technology made for flexibility, and to enhance existing production processes.

Alpha stage development 

In recent weeks, Evolve announced the shipment of its first Alpha stage STEP 3D printer, to “a large manufacturing company with an iconic brand name and the undisputed leader in their field.”

The investment from LEGO Brand Group and Stanley Black & Decker will be directed to help the company reach Beta stage rollout of its 3D pritners and, in Bradshaw’s words, to “take additive manufacturing mainstream.” Stratasys remains a minority investor in  the company, and BNP Paribas acted as exclusive financial adviser to the company for this latest raising.

Development of Evolve's electrophotography-based additive manufacturing process. Image via Evolve Additive
Timeline charting Stratasys’ involvement with Evolve Additive Solutions. Image via Evolve Additive

Tim Hatch, Chief Technology Officer for Stanley Engineered Fasteners, comments, “We are excited about the potential impact that Evolves unique Additive Manufacturing technology could have on the production of high quality medium volume plastic components for a number of our product categories.”

Per Hjuler, Head of Brand and Business Development at LEGO Brand Group, adds, “The LEGO Group has been using Additive Manufacturing technology for more than 20 years. Today, the company mainly employs the technology to create prototypes in the development of new products and we believe that the technology will become an even more important supplement to the current Injection Moulding capabilities in the future,

“With Evolve Additive Solutions we have found a very competent partner within this area.”

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Featured image shows STEP 3D printing factory floor. Photo via Evolve Additive Solutions

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