VulcanForms announced a huge US$250M investment round, one of the largest seen in the industry.
What is VulcanForms? It’s a company formed in 2015 by a pair from MIT that had an interest in new forms of additive manufacturing that could make it far more usable by mainstream producers. In 2021 the company built its first factory, called “VulcanOne”, which uses their proprietary technology. Evidently a second factory has also been announced.
VulcanOne has a multiple 100kW LPBF 3D printers with a total power consumption of 2MW, which might be the biggest metal additive manufacturing on the planet, measured by energy.
“The VulcanOne facility in Devens, MA combines VulcanForms’ proprietary AM technology with a digital thread, spanning advanced simulation, in-process sensing, and machine learning algorithms that ensure the highest level of quality and precision. In full, VulcanOne will be powered by a fleet of VulcanForms’ 100-kilowatt class laser printing systems, representing 2 megawatts of laser power, a capital investment exceeding $100M, and more than 100 new manufacturing jobs on site. VulcanForms also seamlessly integrates additive production at scale with heat treatment, precision machining, assembly, and inspection.”
The company operates a digital manufacturing process that encompasses several steps that takes customers through the process of design to production at scale. Among their capabilities:
- PART SELECTION: We assess the technical and economic details of your parts and assemblies, and then determine the best manufacturing methods.
- DESIGN FOR MANUFACTURING: We enhance your designs for manufacturing, tailoring details that optimize performance and quality.
- DIGITAL THREAD: We use advanced modeling and simulation to plan and program the production workflow from start to finish.
- QUALIFICATION: We qualify your process rapidly, validating the design, material properties, and dimensional accuracy.
- SERIAL PRODUCTION: We manufacture your components at industrial scale, leveraging our complete digital production infrastructure.
VulcanForms follows the emerging trend of keeping their equipment to themselves. While companies in the past would produce 3D printers and sell them for others to operate, the new approach is to put those machines in a factory and sell print services directly to those requiring parts.
This approach has multiple advantages:
- Clients don’t need to make big investments in equipment, staff and training
- No reseller and distributor organization needs to be set up and maintained
- Machines and processes operate more efficiently by experts who do nothing else
- Customer equipment support is not required
- Machines can be always upgraded to the latest versions without waiting for clients
You get the idea; this is the way to go forward in the AM industry, and VulcanForms is doing so.
Now they’ve announced a new investment. They’ve already gone through several rounds, but the new series C round is at another level: US$250M. That’s a quarter of a billion dollars, quite a large amount.
While most investment rounds in the industry tend to be in the US$1-50M range, there are very few beyond that. Recent examples include Formlabs, which picked up US$150M, and ICON, the construction 3D printer manufacturer, which raised a huge US$207M.
The latest raise by VulcanForms is higher than both of those.
There are 3D print companies that have raised more cash in total over several rounds, but there likely hasn’t been a single investment round of this magnitude, ever. It apparently places the value of VulcanForms at over US$1B, which would place it near the top of our weekly valuation leaderboard, if the company were publicly traded.
That shows you the extreme interest of investors in VulcanForms’ technology and outlook.