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Boeing Among Investors in 3D Printing Company

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Aircraft maker Boeing Co. (Chicago) was among the participants in a new round of investing in a Massachusetts 3D printing company.

Digital Alloys Inc. (Burlington, MA) disclosed the investment in a statement today. Besides Boeing, investors in the $12.9 million in financing included G20 Ventures, Lincoln Electric and Khosla Ventures. Khosla was a prior investor in Digital Alloys.

Boeing has been active in additive manufacturing. Two years ago, it helped develop a large 3D printing prototype machine with Stratasys Ltd. and Ford Motor Co. Both Boeing and rival Airbus view additive as a way to construct parts more efficiently, use less material and cut the “buy to fly ratio” cost of manufacturing. General Electric Co. (Boston) also has invested heavily in additive manufacturing, in part because of aerospace applications.

With 3D printing, parts are made layer by layer from a digital design. Advocates for 3D printing say the technology enables new ways of designing components.

“Our investment in Digital Alloys will further Boeing’s ability to produce a higher volume of metal structural aerospace parts faster,” Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures, said in the statement.

Boeing’s Goals

Boeing wants “to accelerate the design and manufacture of 3D printed parts to transform production systems and products,” he said. Boeing HorizonX Ventures invests in startup companies which develop technology that can be applied in aerospace.

Digital Alloys said it has two U.S. patents for its Joule Printing metal printing technology. The company says the process can print hard metal parts faster and cheaper than other applications.

The new investment “will expand our expertise, technology and services,” Duncan McCallum, CEO of Digital Alloys, said in the statement.

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