The Swiss-based manufacturer for advanced manufacturing solutions of continuous fiber composites, 9T Labs, has closed its seed funding round and will start the beta test phase of its first product named CarbonKit. It sets out to make high-performance materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) more accessible by reducing manufacturing costs and simplifying workflows. It also allows the user to print parts that have higher structural complexity.
Seed Funding Round
In 2018, more than CHF 1 million was raised. Investors include, among others, the two renowned Swiss angel investors Pascal Mathis (co-founder of GetYourGuide) and Thomas Dübendorfer (ex-Googler and President of the Swiss ICT Investor Club SICTIC).
“It is not just the investment, but also the broad multidisciplinary expertise of our investors that helped us to define and realize our first product, the CarbonKit, which is intended to accelerate adoption of CFRP materials in new applications and industries”, says Martin Eichenhofer, co-founder of 9T Labs. “An affordable entry-level solution is crucial for 9T Labs’ customers to generate an understanding of the material and the automated workflows necessary to leverage and utilize the huge economic potential of CFRP for serial production use cases”, adds Marc Wintermantel, managing director ANSYS Switzerland and advisor to 9T Labs.
First Product: CarbonKit
9T Labs’ first product, the CarbonKit, comes as a retrofit kit for existing 3D printing systems such as Ultimaker, Prusa, and others, to allow them to print continuous CFRP materials. It is comprised of a control box with integrated material storage, a printhead with a dual retractable extruder and a web-based software tool. The whole system is designed to be a plug and play solution by simply swapping the printing head. The web application allows the user to seamlessly prepare print jobs, control printers and manage the manufacturing workflow. The industry grade carbon fiber filament comes at a high printed fiber volume content of 50%, making it the highest commercially available in the 3D printing industry. Open source slicing software enables customer-specific placements of carbon fiber reinforcements within a plastic part and also, the printing of only carbon fiber composite parts.
“This is only the beginning. We will consistently improve our printing capabilities, launch new material configurations and work with our customers on tailored solutions for serial production of end-use components”, says Martin Eichenhofer.
The CarbonKit is intended as entry-level system for makers, universities and R&D departments to explore the capabilities of true continuous fiber printing at high fiber volume contents, get accustomed to the 3D printing workflow, define and manufacture prototypes. The application spectrum ranges from jigs and fixtures toslender frame structures, as well as printed local reinforcements for existing bigger sub-structures.
The beta test phase of the CarbonKit is currently open until January 30th, 2019. Only limited slots are available. You can join the beta test at: apply.9tlabs.com.