Artificial Intelligence (AI) software manufacturing company Oqton has raised $40 million in a Series A funding round which it will use to further develop its AI-powered automated software platform and expand commercial partnerships across additive manufacturing, robotic welding, and CNC machining.
The funding round was led by leading B2B software investor Fortino Capitol alongside regional Flemish investment fund PMV and global engineering group Sandvik. Oqton’s founding team also participated in the financing round, as did angel investors including former Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, Dries Buytaert of Drupal and Acquia, and Peter Mercelis of Layerwise.
Oqton also announced its Co-founder and CTO Ben Schrauwen is to take over as CEO of the company, while fellow Co-founder and outgoing CEO Samir Hanna will take up the role of Executive Chairman.
“We are keen to have new investors on board who can help us scale globally, with both a direct and indirect sales approach,” said Schrauwen. “We truly think the time has come for the manufacturing space to embrace the cloud and we are working hard to facilitate this.”
AI-powered 3D printing software
AI is being increasingly integrated into the operations of 3D printing firms as they seek to drive maximum efficiency from their production processes, and there have been several developments in the technology in the past year alone. A report published in November by Lux Research revealed AI-enabled sensors to be the fourth-placed emerging technology to watch as we enter 2021.
In April, the open source community delivered The Spaghetti Detective (TSD), which utilizes the webcam of a printer or computer to detect and alert the user when a print job has gone wrong. Elsewhere, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) developed an AI software, nicknamed Peregrine, which is capable of monitoring the metal 3D printing process in real-time and forms part of ORNL’s broader digital thread.
Meanwhile, engineering software developer CoreTechnologie developed a new nesting function based on AI algorithms within its 4D_Additive print preparation program, and 3D printing software firm ValueChain integrated Israeli start-up PrintSyst’s AI-perfector engine into its DNA.am MES platform. PrintSyst unveiled its proprietary AI engine in June last year, which is specifically designed for use with 3D printing within the aerospace, defense, and automotive sectors.
Oqton’s software platform
Oqton’s platform combines six manufacturing software capabilities – CAD, PLM, CAM, ITO, MES, and QMS – all in one place, enabling AI-powered automation. Customers can use the cloud-based platform to automatically capture knowledge and data, while eliminating repetitive tasks. Users can also access technologies remotely across multiple sights, and optimize production planning.
The platform can be integrated with customers’ traditional technologies like CNC, welding, and post-processing machines to provide an end-to-end manufacturing operation. According to Oqton, linking its software platform with customers’ machines speeds up their manufacturing processes, making them more adaptable and cost-effective.
“We can already achieve 100% automation in the dental and jewelry verticals, resulting in 30% overall cost reduction,” said Hanna. “Given the platform strategy, the software can be targeted to many specific industry verticals, like dental, jewelry, medical, industrial and aerospace, as well as to different personas and workflows within those industries.”
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Featured image shows screenshot of Oqton’s AI-powered additive manufacturing software platform. Image via Oqton.