TDK Ventures Invests in Additive Manufacturing Space

San Francisco-based Origin enables advanced materials from its 3D printers for customers in various markets in the industrial, dental and medical sectors. 

San Francisco-based Origin enables advanced materials from its 3D printers for customers in various markets in the industrial, dental and medical sectors. 

TDK Corporation is partnering with Origin, a company dedicated to additive mass manufacturing. Origin creates 3D printers that can print a wide variety of products with performance characteristics and tailored to mass manufacturing.

“We think of Origin like the Apple of 3D printers; they own the platform, which is the 3D printer but their end customers choose which app to build using their platform by choosing their own proprietary material,” says Nicolas Sauvage, managing director of TDK Ventures.

“TDK is a unique partner for Origin, with its extensive expertise in mass manufacturing and electronic material components that are in the hundreds of millions in volume,” says Chris Prucha, CEO and co-founder of Origin. “At Origin, we are focused on producing the highest performance 3D printed products in the world so that our customers’ can leverage a cost-effective, mass-manufactured solution while satisfying their distributed manufacturing goals. With TDK in our partner network, it offers us an opportunity to expand beyond our own current capabilities and explore collaborations in newer 3-D printed electronic structures. Given TDK’s knowledge of electronics and our competency in advanced polymeric and ceramic materials, we believe this partnership will be very fruitful.”  

“Origin’s system not only creates unique products with unparalleled performance, accuracy and cost, but they have also shown that they can deliver end-to-end solutions at an unprecedented speed,” says Sauvage of TDK Ventures. “Take their nasopharyngeal swabs for example, in a matter of weeks, Origin went from napkin sketch to producing hundreds of thousands of fully sterilized, FDA compliant, ship-ready, mass production quality products per week, which is invaluable to public safety and sustainability—and currently being used to fulfill the COVID-19 testing shortage in the United States.”

“When Covid-19 hit, some of us wondered what the future of supply chains would look like, which led to our exploration of the 3D printed mass manufacturing market. When we encountered Origin’s technology and unique business model, we realized a TDK collaboration with Origin would be fruitful for not only exploring new technology areas in 3D printed electronic materials but also for envisioning what distributed manufacturing might look like in 10 years through the lens of an innovative start-up,” Sauvage adds.  “We believe that the partnership leveraging Origin’s expertise in additive mass manufacturing and TDK’s expertise in electronics across 100+ factories will lead to cutting-edge, innovative collaborations between our two companies.”

CEO Chris Prucha and CTO Joel Ong started Origin in late 2015 to 3D print customer parts using open source printers. The Origin team discovered that the open source 3D printers were unreliable due to hardware and limited software, thus resulting in poor-quality finished materials. From its start, Origin strived to create an additive manufacturing approach with open materials, leveraging the largest materials science companies, flexible and simple software, and modular hardware design. Today, they have strategic partnerships with large materials science companies in the world including BASF, Henkel and DSMs.

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

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