Chinese 3D printer provider and service bureau HeyGears Technology has reported the raising of $60 million in series B1 financing. The money has been invested by Abu Dhabi based AI and cloud computing company Group 42, which is led by CEO Peng Xiao.
Former Senior Executive VP, CTO and CIO of business analytics and mobility company MicroStrategy, Xiao says Group 42 is “optimistic about HeyGears’ strong innovation and development capabilities, product implementation capabilities, and good market performance,” adding that “HeyGears advances 3D printing technology and services to the application stage and is one of the few leading one-stop digital application providers.”
Founded in 2015, HeyGears seeks to provide a full-service ecosystem for the 3D printing of commercial end-use products. To date the company has launched two hardware lines, a suite of software platforms, a range of resins for dental, medical and “performance” 3D printing, and post-processing solutions.
“The ecosystem,” as phrased by the company, “allows HeyGears to provide B-end customers with whole-chain intelligent manufacturing solutions and offer C-end customers high-quality end products empowered by 3D printing technology.”
DLP+ 3D printing
HeyGears works in vat polymerization 3D printing. Its technology is named DLP+, like traditional DLP only “taken a few steps further.” In this method, instead of a stationary light source, DLP+ employs an Optical Scan (OS) technology in which the source moves from side to side beneath the build plate. With this approach, HeyGears 3D printers are able to utilize a large build size without the added cost of more or larger light-sources.
DLP+ 3D printing is available from HeyGears in the A and D Series of systems – the A Series being the company’s “industrial” Ultracraft line and D for the desktop. Across both of these product lines, the company currently has 7 machines available on the market.
Ultra Hub is HeyGear’s cloud data management center, and Ultra Net is for cluster management. Working with Alibaba Cloud, the company has also developed the H.AI™ Algorithm. A type of machine learning, H.AI is capable of adjusting build parameters to increase the speed and stability of 3D printer builds.
Commited to promoting China’s industrial and technological expertise, in 2017 HeyGears was said to be investing $148.8 million to build a 3D printing R&D facility as part of the nation’s “Made in China 2025” initiative. At that time, more than two years ago, the company was dedicated to 3D printing custom-designed earphones for consumers. It has since re-launched as a 3D printer provider.
3D printing coupled with AI and Big Data
Group 42’s vision is “a future where AI will be able to handle generalized tasks, much like humans do, in what will be the age of Artificial General Intelligence.” Now in the era of so-called Artificial Narrow Intelligence, e.g. text mining, autonomous driving, and medical robotics, the group envisions a future in which AI has unlimited self-learning capacity, and may eventually become a type of inorganic lifeform. The company has developed an applied research platform in pursuit of this vision, as well as AI and cloud computing solutions for businesses.
For each of these core components, Group 42 partners “extensively” with businesses that complement its ecosystem. “These partnerships,” the company states, “can take a range of forms from supplier relationships to deeper business partnerships like joint ventures or direct investment by Group 42.”
Group 42’s investment in HeyGears is tipped to support the company’s global expansion efforts. According to Peiyan Gui Co-founder and CEO of HeyGears, “In the age of AI+, the partnership will not only infuse HeyGears with fresh capital but also bring about technology innovation coupled with big data and AI,”
“It will fuel HeyGears’ research in advance hardware and cutting-edge software development, reduce the time-to-market of the products, develop more applications across a diverse range of vertical industries and improve human well-being with digital manufacturing. “
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Featured image shows HeyGears DLP+ technology. Photo via HeyGears