Aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin reported that it has doubled its venture capital fund to $200 million. The sizeable increase in funding will be used by the company to invest in startups and early-stage companies pursuing innovation in autonomy, advanced manufacturing, sensor technologies, artificial intelligence and cyber.
Of particular interest to us, Lockheed Martin says that its $100 million in added funding—reportedly enabled by tax reform legislation—will partially go towards deepening its existing relationship with nTopology, the New York-based software company responsible for AM design and optimization software Element.
“Our investment in nTopology will bring strategic advantages in Lockheed Martin’s computational design processes and help shorten the periods between the design and manufacturing phase,” explained Chris Moran, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures.
“Our focus is on finding and investing in companies developing cutting-edge technologies that will grow our business and disrupt our industry. We’re developing long-term strategic partnerships with companies and helping them navigate through the early stages of product development while leveraging our decades of experience working with government customers.”
Described as a “generative, function-based engineering application at the intersection of CAD, simulation and industrial manufacturing,” nTopology’s Element software is establishing itself as a valuable tool for designing and engineering parts for additive and advanced manufacturing processes.
In other words, nTopology has drawn away from more traditional feature-based CAD modeling—which entails designing parts by combining form features—and has focused instead of advancing function-based modeling, enabling the creation of functional, optimized and complex structures.
Recently, nTopology’s Element became the first CAD software to offer support for 3MF’s Beam Lattice extension, the latest specification extension released by the 3MF Consortium. In addition to Element’s optimized lattice generator (which take user-defined inputs and imported data into account), the software now allows users to easily share its lattice file format (LTCX) with other enterprise-grade CAD programs.