Composite equipment and software OEM 9T Labs closed its Series A funding round and raised USD 17 million.
The investment will help the organisation to further commercialize the company’s innovative Red Series® Additive Fusion Solution™ platform for the production of advanced carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) composite parts.
Key investors include the world’s leading 3D printing company, Stratasys, the venture capital arm of high-performance thermoplastic composites supplier Solvay SA (Solvay Ventures), and VC investors Verve Ventures, ACE & Company, Zürcher Kantonalbank, and Wingman Ventures. 9T Labs was a Venture Leader Technology in 2019 and one of the TOP 100 Swiss Startups from 2018 to 2021, ranking third in 2021.
9T Labs’ technology platform enables desktop-size high-performance structural parts to be produced in CFRTP composites in production volumes ranging from 100 to over 100,000 parts/year. 9T Labs combines software, 3D printing—offering unexcelled design freedom, part complexity, and control of fiber orientation—with compression molding in matched metal dies. This process provides rapid cycle times, high production rates, excellent surface finishes and low voids, plus high repeatability and reproducibility (R&R).
The Zurich-based company was founded in 2018 by Martin Eichenhofer (CEO, left), Chester Houwink (COO, middle), and Giovanni Cavolina (CCO, right). 9T Labs’ Red Series platform offers the best of both additive and existing manufacturing to create a more sustainable and high-performance alternative to traditional metal and plastic manufacturing technologies. It is used by Fortune 500 aerospace companies to lightweight its future mobility programs, by medical corporations to reduce material waste for manufacturing medical instruments, and by the leisure and luxury industry to provide consumer products with increased functionality. The global 3D printing market is predicted to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25% to exceed a value of USD 100 billion by 2030 in the USD 2 trillion global parts manufacturing segment.
“9T Labs has combined the simplicity of 3D printing with the strength of continuous carbon fiber composites, and that’s an exciting development for our industry,” said Adam Pawloski, VP Manufacturing Solutions at Stratasys. “Their Additive Fusion Technology leverages the benefits of printing, automated tape laying, and compression molding to deliver fully dense parts with multidirectional reinforcement. Moreover, this technology scales to the volumes of production parts needed by serial manufacturers. The end result is a solution with the potential to dramatically shift the industry away from metal and towards composite parts.”
“As a leading supplier of thermoplastic composites technologies, we are excited to contribute our materials expertise to help accelerate 9T Labs’ developments in the 3D printing space to produce structural composite parts,” added Fabrizio Ponte, head of Thermoplastic Composites Platform, Solvay SA.
Following the investment round, John Hartner, former Chief Executive Officer of ExOne (Pittsburgh, PA, USA), will join 9T Labs’ board of directors as chairman. Hartner is an experienced leader with more than 30 years’ involvement in the automation, semiconductor, cleantech, and 3D printing industries. “I have been impressed by the company’s unique solution and am very excited to help the team to bring this technology to manufacturing companies around the world,” noted Hartner.
The money raised during the Series A investment round will be used to fund the next growth phase at 9T Labs to help its customers ramp up their applications to mass volumes, complement the current material portfolio, and develop future technology platforms.
“This round of investment and the combined expertise with our partners will allow us to make the next big leap in commercialization and fulfilling our mission to enable widespread replacement of metal parts with fully recyclable high-performance carbon composite materials,” added Martin Eichenhofer, 9T Labs co-founder and CEO. “Through this support, we will be able to demonstrate things we could not have imagined 10 years ago.”
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