Markforged accelerates industrial 3D printing ambitions in a new $82mn funding round
Markforged, a leading manufacturer of industrial 3D printers, has closed another round of funding. The Series D, $82mn funding round, led by Summit Partners, were joined by existing strategic and financial partners, such as Matrix Partners; M12, Microsoft’s Venture Fund; Next47; and Porsche SE.
Markforged has revealed that it will use the additional capital to help accelerate its product roadmap, including the introduction of mass production printers and new materials. The capital will also be used to enhance the company’s global expansion plans, strengthen its massive foothold among global manufacturers, and ultimately help to reshape the $12trn manufacturing industry.
The global manufacturing industry sits on the cusp of its fourth industrial revolution. Additive Manufacturing is set to play a meaningful role, driving measurable cost reductions and reshaping traditional manufacturing processes into more efficient, digital production lines.
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“We have been actively monitoring the additive manufacturing market for the last decade and are excited to partner with the Markforged team,” said Michael Medici, a Managing Director at Summit Partners who has joined the company’s Board of Directors. “Markforged has been quietly executing at an incredible pace for the last five years, delivering exceptional products that solve real-world industrial manufacturing needs.”
Prior to this round, Deloitte named Markforged the 10th fastest growing technology company in North America, while Forbes named the company to its Next Billion Dollar Startup list. The company has amassed a large installed base among leading manufacturers and other types of businesses that benefit from additive capabilities.
The company shipped more than 2,500 industrial printers in 2018 alone, making it one of the largest additive manufacturing companies in the industry, serving customers in more than 50 countries, and filing 133 patents, with 38 already in place. Deloitte have predicted that sales by the 3D printing industry to large public companies alone will hit $2.7bn in 2019 and will surpass $3bn in 2020, Xconomy has reported. This is in contrast to $12trn in global manufacturing sales.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.