BMW i Ventures Invests In Desktop Metal (3D Printed Metal Parts)

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BMW i Ventures is one of a number of firms (including Google) to be investing in the Burlington, Massachusetts–based 3D metal component printing firm Desktop Metal, according to recent reports.

Desktop Metal is a notable startup (and investment as well) because the firm claims to have “developed a complete end-to-end printing system capable of producing complex metal parts at scale, from prototyping to mass production” — as worded in Motor Authority‘s article on the matter.

Here’s more from that coverage: “One of the main benefits is smaller, more streamlined manufacturing. This is due to the ability of 3-D printing to provide in a single process complex parts which normally require multiple elements produced separately and then configured. There are also gains to be had in the speed, cost and quality of the parts.”

I’ll believe the gains in cost when they occur. Until then, I’ll remain a bit skeptical. That said, the company doesn’t seem to be having trouble attracting large investors, so presumably there’s something there that looks promising commercially.

The CEO of Desktop Metal, Ric Fulop, seems to think that the company is at the forefront of something big, going by public statements such as this one: “Just as plastic has redefined rapid prototyping, metal 3D printing will make a profound impact on the way companies manufacture rapid prototypes and mass produce parts across all major industries.”

Desktop Metal is reportedly aiming to begin commercially offering its 3D printing system sometime this year.

Related: Growing Metal (Video Interview)

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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