Google aggressively entered the world of manufacturing on Thursday after it invested millions in Carbon3D, a 3d manufacturing startup. The new funding aims to lift 3D manufacturing out of the prototype business it has been in the recent years and into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Google, through its subsidiary investment arm Google Ventures, invested an undisclosed sum into Carbon3D. The startup was seeking funding to help drive its growth in the 3D printing field.
Carbon 3D printers are remarkably different from other traditional 3D printers.
According to cofounder Joseph DeSimone, the printers are powered by a uniquely distinct photochemical process, much different from the traditional layer-on-top-of-layer process inherent in other traditional 3D printers.
The photochemical process also incorporates algorithms in their design, enabling them to make pin point accurate designs at 100 time faster speeds.
Andy Wheeler, leader of the Carbon3D Google investment said, “This is the first 3D printing tech that really has the potential to break out of the prototyping realm that 3D printing has been relegated to until now. For one because of the sheer speed, but perhaps even more importantly due to the range of materials.”
Carbon 3D is able to print anything from remote controls to the arms of chairs through utilizing a multitude of materials. The company is already working with dozens of manufacturers involved in the auto industry, consumer electronics, aerospace and studio effects.
Earlier this year, Ford Motor Company showed it was taking advantage of 3D printing to come up with new prototypes of cars and improve its innovativeness. Studio Effects company Legacy Effects also delved into 3D carbon printing to improve its concept creations.
With the recent interest in 3D printing, analysts have predicted that its market could reach $16.2 billion in 2018.
Google was interested in the company out of a necessity from the various projects it is taking on in the future, including self driving vehicles. According to DeSimone, “They are doing a lot of things with hardware and prototyping and the ability to support them in that is going to be very cool.”
Other investors joining Google in the funding were Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner and Reinet Investments S.C.A.
The 3D printing company is still in its beta phase and pans to start selling industrial scale printers to manufacturers by end of this year.
3D printing has lagged behind its widely understood potential for quite some time since its inception. Relegated to conceptualization, Carbon 3D offers a ray of hope for the industry that has tremendous potential and will likely replace traditional manufacturing in virtually every production sector.