Focused on disrupting age-old manufacturing techniques and existing Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) businesses, Seurat Technologies has developed an innovative metal 3D printing process that can rival the volumes, quality and prices of traditional manufacturing, while simultaneously offsetting carbon emissions. Since emerging from stealth mode in 2021, the startup’s innovative technology has captured the attention of major companies across a wide range of industries, all interested in Seurat’s new beam manipulation method, which can deliver two million dots of laser light in a square area of 15 millimeters.
Today, Seurat announced that it has raised $21 million in a new funding round, less than seven months after its previous funding closed, as it seeks to accelerate the development and commercialization of its patented technology. additive manufacturing (AM) called Area Printing, and to build new 3D metal printing production systems. The funds will also help scale to support increased customer interest, grow the team, and deliver on the promise of enabling high-volume localized manufacturing with all the flexibility and benefits of 3D printing at a price that can unlock the industrial production for the first time. .
The Series B expansion round was led by Xerox Businesses, the investment arm of the American company of the same name, and Japanese venture capital firm SIP Global Partners, with participation from existing investors Capricorn’s Technology Impact Fund, real companies, Porsche Automobil Holding SE, and Maniv Mobility. The new funding follows the Wilmington, Massachusetts-based startup’s $41.5 million Series B funding round in June 2021, bringing Seurat’s total funding to $79.4 million.
Seurat’s origin story dates back to the United States Ministry of Energy (DoD) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) more than a decade ago, when mechanical engineer James DeMuth – co-founder and CEO of Seurat – was working on a nuclear fusion power project, designing a reaction chamber capable of withstanding variations in temperature extremes that occur when lasers are used to generate power.
To withstand the fatigue and intense temperatures of the melting environment, DeMuth and his colleagues realized they needed special alloys that could not be welded but could be 3D printed. After much trial and error, they adapted a patterned light method already in development at Livermore Labs for other purposes. By 2015, DeMuth and co-founder Erik Toomre had proven that the technology would also work for metal 3D printing and believed it could leapfrog legacy 3D printing techniques that have grown in maturity and momentum, but still present compromises in terms of speed, quality, scale and cost. In January 2016, the duo had obtained the technology license from LLNL for their process and had begun raising funds and commercializing the technology.
“Seurat’s mission is to improve manufacturing in every way by embracing the agility and design freedom of 3D printing, but not at the same price,” says DeMuth. “Area Printing decouples resolution and speed, which is the secret sauce to making 3D printing a high-volume process. We work with the world’s largest manufacturers to migrate their designs to Area Printing to help them save time, costs and quality while having a positive impact on the environment.
Funds from the Series B expansion cycle will be used to build Seurat’s production system, which aims to produce parts at $300 per kilogram, comparable to parts produced by machining. By 2025, Seurat plans to reduce manufacturing costs to $150 per kilogram, similar to castings. However, as the company grows, its technology is expected to make the $1 trillion metal fabrication market fully accessible to additive manufacturing.
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But that’s not all. Seurat’s Area Printing technology aims to decarbonize manufacturing, one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. By 2025, the company expects to displace 0.15 gigatonnes (GT) of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of 15 billion gallons of gasoline consumed. And by 2030, it expects to displace 2.5 GT. To achieve this, Seurat’s strategy does not go through the sale of machines. Instead, it qualifies parts for area printing through its Area Printing Production Program (APP).
Once the parts have been qualified, manufacturing will take place in printing depots located near the customer. After graduating from the APP program, customers will have a reproducible, repeatable part ready for mass production. So far, Seurat says it has struck deals with seven of the world’s largest automotive, aerospace, energy and industrial companies to begin commercializing the technology this year.
This unprecedented methodology will also help address the supply chain challenges that have arisen over the past two years due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. For example, in recent weeks, top car manufacturers like Toyota and volkswagen have stop operations temporarily at their facilities in China as the pandemic outbreak ensues, hinting at signs of trouble as the omicron variant begins to spread through the world’s largest automotive production hub.
Just like that, companies are racing to change manufacturing processes, aiming for in-house production to weather the uncertain future ahead. Once on the market, options like Seurat’s technology could turn into an ideal solution, which is probably why Porsche SE, GM, and other manufacturing leaders are investing in it.
Without a doubt, businesses need new solutions that reduce their carbon footprint and create a more resilient supply chain. Seurat explains that to advance global zero emissions goals, address supply chain challenges and relocate manufacturing, its zone printing process is powered by 100% renewable energy and will help companies migrate manufacturing from castings and other traditional manufacturing methods to high volume. production and reduce harmful pollutants to the environment. However, as 3DPrint.com editor Joris Peels says, “it’s too early to say whether Seurat will be able to successfully commercialize its technology.”