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Ford Invests in 3D-Printing Startup


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Desktop Metal Inc., a Burlington, Mass.-based 3D printing company, says it has raised an additional $65 million to bring total investment in the firm to $277 million.

Ford Motor Co. was the lead investor in the latest funding round. Ken Washington, Ford’s chief technology officer and vice president of research and advanced engineering, is joining Desktop Metal’s board of directors.

Existing investor Future Fund (formerly Google Ventures) also participated in the new round. Earlier investors include BMW, GE Ventures, oil giant Saudi Aramco, 3D-printing specialist Stratasys and several venture capital groups.

Founded in 2015, Desktop Metal says it is the first company to provide end-to-end metal 3D printing capabilities from prototyping to mass production. In addition, the company recently launched a 3D-printing system for high-resolution metal parts.

Desktop Metal claims its single-pass jetting technology is 100 times faster than current laser-based additive manufacturing systems, with processing speeds as great as 8,200 cm3 per hour. And the company says its Studio rapid prototyping system is one-tenth the cost of existing technologies.

Ford began working with Stratasys last year to create tooling and prototype parts—including fenders, intake manifolds and customized spoilers—for race cars and other low-volume applications. The carmaker previously has used 3D printers to make smaller parts, such as buttons, switches and knobs.

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