Mantle Unleashes Hybrid TrueShape Process, Targeting Tooling MarketMarch 1, 2021
Mantle, provider of additive manufacturing (AM) technology, has launched TrueShape, which combines AM and subtractive finishing in a single, hybrid 3D-printing process that employs metal-alloy pastes to produce high-hardness steels. These steels meet or exceed demanding tooling requirements while the TrueShape process yields superior accuracy and surface finish, according to company officials, who note that the technology can cut lengthy and costly tool-development cycles.
Aiding the TrueShape rollout, a recent $13-million investment in Mantle by Foundation Capital, Hypertherm Ventures, Future Shape, 11.2 capital, Plug and Play Ventures and Corazon Capital. Mantle’s TrueShape technology includes multiple tool-steel materials, custom printing hardware, and a user-friendly software suite to deliver toolmakers a complete production-grade tooling solution, offer company officials. Product-development cycles often are lengthened through the need to produce molds and dies to produce the products. These tools, made from high-hardness steel through a multi-step process that includes programming, cutting, and finishing, often take months to produce, and at high cost. Mantle’s process, enabling creation of tight-tolerance features, reportedly only takes days, enabling companies deploy new tools within a few weeks while significantly cutting costs.
Beyond tooling, targets in the Mantle roadmap include a range of applications in the $300-billion precision-parts market, including jigs and fixtures, low-volume industrial machinery and spare parts, and high-volume part production."Mantle gives you the superpowers to make Apple-quality mechanical parts in days not months and lowers your cost by orders of magnitude,” offers Tony Fadell, principal at Future Shape, a Mantle investor. “That speed and affordability let you iterate to get your parts to perfection and still lets you launch much earlier. I wish we had these Mantle tooling breakthroughs for our Nest, iPod and iPhone projects.”Adds Ted Sorom, CEO and co-founder of Mantle: “Manufacturers require proven part quality and performance. By using Mantle-printed tooling, they can continue to use the same high-performance thermoplastics and get parts of equivalent or superior quality in less time and at a lower cost. We help companies speed their products to market with dramatically faster new product introductions while leveraging their proven mass production expertise.”
Count L'Oréal as a satisfied believer in the technology.“Mantle’s TrueShape technology delivered the dimensional tolerances and surface finish that are needed for the precision molds we use at L'Oréal,” says Blake Soeters, the company’s director of product conception. “We are excited because of the positive impact this technology will have on our ability to rapidly bring new products to market.”
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See also: Mantle
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