Evolve Additive Solutions, a former subsidiary of Stratasys, has announced that it will be receiving continued support from Stanley Black & Decker (SB&D), an S&P 500 company, in the form of an additional round of funding. SB&D, along with LEGO, initially invested in Evolve back in 2017 when its proprietary STEP (Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process) technology was just kicking off. The $19M Evolve raised three years ago has since been used to establish footing in the AM marketspace, while the additional round will be used to expand into new verticals and build brand momentum.
Larry Harper, VP, Stanley Ventures for Stanley Black & Decker, states: “Stanley Black & Decker is excited about the continued relationship. Evolve’s vision in the Additive Manufacturing space enables the company to commercialize this new state-of-the-art technology and provide high quality production parts.”
Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process
Evolve’s STEP technology uses engineering-grade thermoplastics and claims to be fifty times faster than SLS 3D printing, resulting in a faster time to market with “toolless” production. It has the ability to produce multi-material, full-color end use parts. The printing process involves depositing feedstock onto the build area via a moving belt, layer by layer, until the desired 3D shape is formed. The core technology behind the fusion of the material is not too different from the technology found in most photocopiers and 2D laser printers. Evolve has previously stated that STEP is the AM technology most comparable to injection molding in terms of quality and plans to begin commercial sales in late 2020.
Steve Chillscyzn, CEO and Founder of Evolve, states: “Our continued relationship expands our market opportunity. As a startup organization that is redefining the market, the continued confidence and trust from Stanley gives us proof that there is a strong demand for our technology in the marketplace”
Stepping into partnerships
Evolve has had a number of partnerships since receiving that initial seed capital, each with the aim of progressing STEP in some way. In 2018, the company partnered with imaging specialist Kodak, who supplied Evolve with imaging systems, parts, and consumables derived from the Kodak NEXPRESS digital production color press. The duo also worked directly on the development of STEP when it was in its infancy, shortening its time to market. Just last year, Evolve also partnered with chemical company Evonik to develop a new range of thermoplastics for use with STEP technology. The collaboration initially focused on the production of PA12 and PEBA polymers.
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Featured image shows the Evolve STEP 3D printing system. Photo via Evolve.