TGVP is proud to announce investment in Fabric8Labs, a San Diego based additive manufacturing company. Using patented Electrochemical Additive Manufacturing (ECAM) at foundry scale, Fabric8Labs plans to mass produce metal parts of unparalleled quality and fineness.
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing (3DP), encompasses a wide variety of techniques and technologies that allows for construction of parts via adding material layer by layer rather than removing or subtracting material. Compared against traditional milling or lathe turning (subtractive manufacturing), 3D printing offers benefits in material usage efficiency, lead time reduction, and operational costs. Perhaps more importantly, 3DP allows for novel part designs that employ geometries that are not possible in subtractive manufacturing – enabling significant performance gains
Metal 3D printing was first patented in 1971 as a continuous inkjet device, although period materials did not allow for scale manufacturing and the device was not associated with computer numerical control (CNC) systems. The first commercial process deployed was Stereolithography (SLA), being patented in 1986 as the cornerstone technology for 3D Systems. Early adopters were the automotive industry, with further applications still being discovered to the present day.
Plastic 3D printing has only recently achieved industrial scale adoption with core markets oriented towards prototyping and rapid development. Metal 3DP has notably lagged, due to higher complexities involved in deposition of metals compared to polymers. Some equipment builders have notably offered Metal 3DP systems as a product to limited success. Higher-than-expected operational learning curves have notably reduced demand for ownership of 3DP systems. Integrators and designers remain interested in the benefits offered by 3DP design, thus creating a gap that can be satisfied by third-party-owned printers.
Fabric8Labs addresses both the technology and market issues impacting current 3DP part development. Fabric8Labs’ proprietary ECAM technology offers superior accuracy and scalability compared to Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) or Binder Jetting (BJ) systems which power the bulk of current metal AM printers. By selling finished parts rather than printers, Fabric8Labs can provide customers with a faster-to-production solution than internal First Article processes. Retaining ownership of equipment allows for efficiency through economies of scale while reducing operator error.
Toppan is excited to leverage its historical printing expertise in an emergent field. Toppan electronics and optical materials have the potential to unlock further value with Fabric8Labs, and facilitate an avenue to international services expansion.
About TGVP (Toppan Global Venture Partners)
TGVP is the US Corporate Venture Capital arm of Toppan, Inc. Founded in 2022, the San Francisco based firm is focused on venture capital investments in US startup companies in Sustainability and Digital Transformation. For more information, please visit, www.tgvp.vc
Established in Tokyo in 1900, Toppan is a leading and diversified global provider committed to delivering sustainable, integrated solutions in fields including printing, communications, security, packaging, décor materials, electronics, and digital transformation. Toppan’s global team of more than 50,000 employees offers optimal solutions enabled by industry-leading expertise and technologies to address the diverse challenges of every business sector and society and contribute to the achievement of shared sustainability goals.
Fabric8Labs, Inc., based in San Diego, California, is revolutionizing manufacturing with its advanced 3D printing technology -Electrochemical Additive Manufacturing (ECAM). Founded in 2015, the company's proprietary ECAM technology is a key enabler across multiple value chains, such as electronics, medical devices, communications systems, and semiconductor manufacturing. Fabric8Labs is working to broaden the market for metal additive manufacturing by providing advanced manufacturing services that displace traditional manufacturing. For more information visit fabric8labs.com