Freeform aims to establish autonomous AM factories around the world

February 2, 2023

Freeform, a metal Additive Manufacturing company founded by leaders and engineers from SpaceX, has officially launched out of stealth. The company, based in Hawthorne, California, USA, has raised $45 million to date and plans to deploy a number of software-defined, autonomous AM factories around the world, in an effort to bring on-demand production to mainstream industries.

Freeform’s manufacturing-as-a-service business model aims to solve issues around the reliance and cost of human labour in traditional manufacturing. Its proprietary technology stack is said to bring the scalability of software to physical production by leveraging advanced sensing, real-time controls, and data-driven learning in a scalable factory architecture. As a result, the company is producing digitally-verified parts at a reportedly unprecedented speed and cost.

Freeform believes this approach will enable all industries to innovate faster, by leveraging Additive Manufacturing to produce parts at mass production scale.

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“While at SpaceX, I leveraged metal 3D printing to accelerate the development of numerous rocket engines. We were innovating in ways that were not possible before and accelerating our trajectory toward the future; however, we ultimately realised that it was impossible to print at production scale using even the best current technologies. We founded Freeform to solve this problem and to make this transformative technology available to all industries, giving anyone the ability to rapidly take an idea and produce it at scale,” stated Erik Palitsch, co-founder and CEO of Freeform.

“We’re bringing the best talent on the planet together to disrupt the manufacturing industry, and with our recent fundraise, we’re excited to scale production capacity to make printing at scale available to all industries.”

Freeform has already begun its work with customers looking to market products faster. One such is Embark Trucks, a developer of autonomous technology for the trucking industry, which requires the ability to scale seamlessly from prototype to production.

Brandon Connors, Head of Programs and Manufacturing, Embark Trucks, explained, “Freeform’s printing service enables us to meet our manufacturing needs, improves supply chain reliability, and gives us the ability to change designs without impacting delivery time, so that we can accelerate the deployment of our technology.”

In addition, Freeform is enabling customers to scale from initial designs into high-volume production. “Freeform offers us the ability to scale up from prototype to production,” explained Nick Doucette, Chief Operations Officer at Ursa Major. Ursa Major is an American aerospace company that works with Freeform for the manufacturing of rocket engine parts. “Freeform’s printing service gives us the ability to change designs rapidly without impacting production cost or delivery time. We are able to get consistent, high-quality metal parts in days instead of weeks.”

Freeform has gone from initial concept to deploying its first production-scale AM factory in just a couple of years, and has paying customers across advanced energy, automotive, aerospace, and industrial sectors.

“Freeform has revolutionised the additive approach,” stated Scott Nolan, Investor from Founders Fund. “Others have tried addressing one component or problem at a time, like thermal stress, but no one else has rethought the entire architecture and approach. Freeform has created more flexibility for how parts are printed, and their cost-effective model has opened up a whole new class of 3D-printable parts.”

Partner at Two Sigma Ventures, Dusan Perovic, who led Freeform’s most recent round, added, “Freeform represents a quantum leap forward for additive manufacturing. And perhaps just as importantly, Erik, TJ, and the team are the right people to bring this technology to a range of industries, blending expertise and engineering savvy, with a mindset of constant improvement.”

Freeform’s team consists of industry leaders from the likes of SpaceX, Velo3D, Carbon, Tesla, and Apple. The company is backed by leading Silicon Valley investors including Two Sigma Ventures, Founders Fund, and Threshold Ventures.

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