Acquisitions & PartnershipsAutomation

AM-Flow raises $4M to deliver full end-to-end AM automation

Paves way for industry 4.0 by merging AM with AI

AM-Flow, a Dutch industrial automation company focused on additive manufacturing automation, obtained four million dollars of Series A funding, which allows the company to begin providing step-change automation to the AM industry. The funding also allows the company to move toward its industry 4.0 goal of the lights-out factory, where artificial intelligence computer vision, motion and robotics process 3D-printed parts. AM-Flow’s commitment to supplying this intelligence and accompanying robotics will enhance manufacturing speeds and efficiency levels.

The impact of AM-Flow’s developing technology is that companies will be able to prevent cost-driven offshoring. AM’s strength in local operations means that companies can refocus their operations right beside consumer groups while maintaining low labor and start-up costs.

This value proposition attracted several early investors. BOM Brabant Venture led the series-A funding round with support from Materialise, Midwest Prototyping and Innovatiefonds Noord-Holland. Existing investors Miller Turner and DOEN Participaties also contributed.

Engineering 3D-printing production lines is challenging because each line has to process 3D-printed parts with an infinite variety of geometries. This variety poses difficulties in identification, sorting, quality control, handling, transporting and packaging automated additive manufacturing. AM-Flow applies machine learning and an Industry 4.0 approach from the ground-up, which allows the company to deliver modular solutions.

The company's AM Vision machine used to identify 3D-printed parts
The company’s AM Vision machine used to identify 3D-printed parts

AM-Flow’s CEO, Stefan Rink, welcomed the new investors. He pointed up their leadership in the AM space: “We are delighted to welcome our new investors, and I would like to thank our existing shareholders for their continued support. This strong syndicate of high-tech investors validates our approach and the funding enables us to expand our solution portfolio and market presence.”

This leadership in a twelve-billion-dollar industry is based on pulling innovative companies up as the industry consolidates. AM’s utility has been on display through the current COVID-19 pandemic. It has more broadly been heralded as a way to decouple mass production from global supply chains. This paradigm shift reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing international shipping. Mr. Rink’s comments about AM-Flow’s team show the company working with AM’s promise in mind: “We have a team that is passionate about enabling Additive Manufacturing to live up to its sustainability promise: local, distributed manufacturing. To drive further adoption of Additive Manufacturing, the industry must get to competitive price and quality levels per part and shift her focus from the 3D-printer to the AM Factory.”

The additive manufacturing automation that AM-Flow is currently developing allows industries to shift resources away from traditional manufacturing models toward remote-supervised production facilities. This move can increase production efficiency; it also allows workshop-like manufacturing at scale in localities.

Adam Strömbergsson

Adam is a legal researcher and writer with a background in law and literature. Born in Montreal, Canada, he has spent the last decade in Ottawa, Canada, where he has worked in legislative affairs, law, and academia. Adam specializes in his pursuits, most recently in additive manufacturing. He is particularly interested in the coming international and national regulation of additive manufacturing. His past projects include a history of his alma mater, the University of Ottawa. He has also specialized in equity law and its relationship to judicial review. Adam’s current interest in additive manufacturing pairs with his knowledge of historical developments in higher education, copyright and intellectual property protections.

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