Ingersoll Rand Leads $19M Financing Round for Inkbit

Inkbit will use funding to advance to multifunctional additive manufacturing.

Inkbit will use funding to advance to multifunctional additive manufacturing.

Inkbit has developed Vision-Controlled Jetting (VCJ), a multi-material manufacturing system that scales from prototyping to production on the same platform. Image courtesy of Inkbit.

Inkbit, additive manufacturing solutions provider, announces the closing of a $19M financing round led by Ingersoll Rand, with participation from Future Labs Capital, GC Ventures America, iGlobe Partners, Ocado, Phoenix Venture Partners, Stratasys, Zeon Ventures, and other private investors. As part of the transaction, Jason Weber, vice president of Engineering, Compressor Systems and Services, North America, and Henry Ford III, director at the Ford Motor Co. and trustee at the Ford Foundation, will join the Inkbit Board of Directors.

Inkbit has developed Vision-Controlled Jetting (VCJ), a multimaterial manufacturing system that scales from prototyping to production on the same platform. The technology converges advances in computation, chemistry and process control, to enable rapid manufacturing of products such as complex industrial fluidics and bio-inspired robots, the company reports.

“From the moment we met with the extraordinary Inkbit team and saw its novel Vision-Controlled Jetting (VCJ) technology, we wanted to be part of the journey to drive commercialization and adoption across life science and industrial applications,” says Vicente Reynal, chairman and chief executive officer of Ingersoll Rand. “Together, we can transform how the industry thinks about component manufacturing and accelerate innovation.”

Inkbit's technology was originally conceived in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT. At its core, it is intended as a reimagination of the traditional assembly line, the company notes. VCJ combines the scalability, reliability and throughput of the original assembly line with the flexibility and intelligence of 3D machine vision-based feedback control. Parts are built layer by layer on a platform that moves under several stations, each performing a specific function, such as material jetting, UV curing, inspection, cooling, etc. Unlike the traditional assembly line, where each subcomponent requires a dedicated production process and supply chain, VCJ builds multi-functional products in one pass, starting from raw materials.

“A century ago, my great great-grandfather developed the moving assembly line—a production method that revolutionized the automotive industry and manufacturing in general. I am delighted to join Inkbit and contribute to reinventing the assembly line for the factories of the future,” says Henry Ford III, who joins Inkbit as independent director.

“This new partnership with Ingersoll Rand marks a key milestone in the history of our company. We are evolving from an equipment provider to partnering with manufacturers to develop new materials and processes to enable the acceleration and simplification of product innovation. For me personally, and for our team at Inkbit, being able to learn from and be inspired by some of the most iconic names in the history of American manufacturing is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I look forward to building on this extraordinary tradition of technical ingenuity and operational excellence. Together, we will create the factories of the future,” says Davide Marini, co-founder and chief Executive Officer at Inkbit.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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