London-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotic 3D printing developer Ai Build has raised $1 million to accelerate the commercialization of its AiSync software platform.
The funding round was led by venture capital firm SuperSeed and saw participation from entrepreneur William Tunstall-Pedoe, one of the inventors behind Amazon’s Alexa voice Assistant.
With the funding, Ai Build is looking to bring its automated AI-based technology to more global tier one manufacturers in the aerospace and automotive sectors in order to accelerate large-scale 3D printing within these sectors.
“Even though 3D printing has come a long way, it is still extremely difficult to produce large, complex parts with the consistency required by the manufacturing industry,” said Ai Build C-founder and CEO, Daghan Cam. “At present, parts that only take a few hours of printing time, take manufacturers weeks or months to prepare. Lack of automation is the barrier.
“TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, WE USE SMART ALGORITHMS AND DATA FOR MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY, RELIABILITY AND SCALABILITY. WE ARE VERY EXCITED AND HUMBLED TO BE BACKED BY INVESTORS WHO SHARE OUR VISION TO CREATE THE FACTORIES OF THE FUTURE.”
Ai Build’s manufacturing mission
In 2017, Ai Build integrated AI into its robotic systems to enable large-scale 3D printing, and soon after launched its Ai Build Bundle for autonomous additive manufacturing, made up of its cloud-based software AiSync, its AiMaker robotic extruder, and AiCell – an enclosure for AiMaker.
AiMaker is a ‘smart’ extruder that can be attached to a robotic arm, AiCell is a heated chamber which keeps the temperature of the build area consistent, and Ai Sync is for managing the extruder and collecting data points for feedback. A fleet of AiMakers on the factory floor can be controlled and monitored using AiSync from anywhere in the world.
In 2018, Ai Build was nominated by our readers for a 3D Printing Industry Award in the ‘3D printing startup of the year’ category. Soon after, the firm announced a partnership with Dubai-based 3D printing service bureau 3DVinci Creations to distribute its Factory-as-a-Service subscription bundle within the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Ai Build also continues to work with Kuka Robotics, a specialist in human-robot collaboration, whose robotic arms have been deployed in Stratasys’ Robotic Composite smart factory concept and Concept Laser’s ‘AM Factory of Tomorrow’.
Since then, Ai Build has made improvements to its platform, such as integrating computer vision and AI to provide a real-time quality inspection tool to improve the accuracy of large-scale 3D printing, as well as increasing the AiMaker’s build size and enhancing its 3D vision capabilities. At the end of 2019, the company entered into a partnership with German industrial equipment supplier Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik which saw its software used for the operation of Hans Weber’s new large-scale extrusion systems.
Accelerating large-scale 3D printing
Since its software platform launch, Ai Build’s technology has been adopted by multiple manufacturers within the automotive, aerospace, and defense sectors, with initial customers including Formula One teams and several automotive brands. The company has also been selected to participate in the ATI Boeing Accelerator, and has already started working with GKN Aerospace and Rolls-Royce alongside Boeing.
So far, Ai Build claims its AI-powered platform has enabled its early customers to achieve a 90 percent reduction in labor costs, and has also decreased failed print attempts by 70 percent. The company hopes the latest funding will enable it to further commercialize its technology and reach more tier one manufacturers within the aerospace and automotive spheres.
“Daghan and his team at AI Build are already doing business with some of the world’s leading automotive and industrial companies, but this is just the first step of what they can do,” said Mads Jensen, Managing Partner at SuperSeed. “Additive manufacturing has the potential to change how things are made, and as the technology matures, there is an ever-growing demand for automating and optimizing the process. Ai Build is well-positioned to capitalize on this opportunity based on the more than five years of R&D that has gone into the platform.
“AT SUPERSEED WE BACK SMART, TECHNICAL FOUNDERS WHO ARE LOOKING TO TRANSFORM HOW BUSINESS IS DONE USING TECHNOLOGY, AND THAT DESCRIPTION FITS THE AI BUILD TEAM PERFECTLY.”
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Featured image shows Ai Build has raised $1 million to accelerate the commercialization of its AI-powered platform for large-scale 3D printing. Image via Ai Build.