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3D-printed Tooling Company Reaches Funding Milestone

Investors are bullish on Mantle’s metal 3D-printing system that reportedly can slash tooling costs by more than 65% and development cycles by as much as 90%.

Norbert Sparrow

July 11, 2024

3 Min Read
3D-printed mold insert
Mold insert printed using the TrueShape metal 3D-printing process. Heyco Products applied the technology to mold a threaded cap.Businesswire

Mantle, an innovator in applying metal 3D-printing technology to the fabrication of precision tooling, reports that it has reached a significant milestone by securing $20 million in Series C funding. This raises the company’s total funding to more than $61.5 million and marks a crucial step toward widespread adoption of its precision metal manufacturing technology, the company said in the announcement.

The Series C funding round was led by Schooner Capital, a Boston-based private investment firm, joined by its largest existing investors, including Fine Structure Ventures, Foundation Capital, Corazon Capital, 11.2 Capital, and Build Collective.

Paradigm-shifting development for tooling sector.

"Mantle is poised to revolutionize the global tooling industry," said Alexandra Manick, principal of Schooner Capital. "The company’s advanced manufacturing platform, TrueShape, is proven to deliver significant cost savings and, more importantly, unprecedented speed for its customers. This paradigm-shifting solution is readily adoptable and sorely needed to address persistent skilled labor shortages and accelerate product development timelines for industrial toolmakers and OEMs worldwide,” said Manick.

Continued reshoring of manufacturing coupled with the skilled labor shortage in the United States has created a uniquely attractive business opportunity for Mantle’s TrueShape technology.

Related:Metal 3D-Printing System Slashes Mold Tool Build Time

Reshoring, skilled labor shortage create unique business opportunity.

US government incentives and policies, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, along with geopolitical risks in various parts of the world that threaten global supply chains have buoyed near- and reshoring as well as foreign direct investment (FDI), according to a recent report from the Reshoring Initiative. The organization said that 2023 was the second highest year on record in terms of job creation linked to reshoring and FDI, adding 287,000 jobs based on its record keeping.

While job creation numbers grow, employers are scrambling to find skilled workers to fill those positions, and it’s only getting worse. More than two million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2030, according to a study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute.

Beyond the sheer numbers, some of those jobs require a specific skillset and command commensurate compensation. Moldmaking is in that cohort, which is why Mantle’s technology is attractive to investors and customers alike. The TrueShape system reportedly delivers the accuracy, surface finish, and tool steel properties required for demanding tooling applications, while reducing tooling lead times and costs. Mantle has gathered some testimonials to back up that claim.

Related:Talent Talk: The Skilled Labor Shortage Is Worse than You Thought

Customers validate time- and cost-savings claims.

Heyco Products, a US-based manufacturer of wire protection products and electrical components, deployed Mantle technology for in-house molding and toolmaking.

“We purchased a Mantle system for two reasons — to reduce time-to-market for our products and to make our toolroom more efficient while attracting next-generation talent to Heyco,” commented Vice President of Operations Danny Anthony. “By using Mantle to print mold tooling, we have already brought a new product to market two months faster than we would have otherwise. We also increased the throughput in our toolroom by giving our toolmakers access to the latest technology that makes them significantly more productive.”

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General Pattern, a fourth-generation, woman-owned low- to medium-volume plastics processor, adopted Mantle’s technology to enhance flexibility in building production tools at prototype lead times and minimize the need to build entire tools by toolmakers. Cost, lead time, and labor were significantly reduced: Using Mantle’s technology, the company was able to shave off 3.5 weeks of lead time in tooling fabrication and required just four active hours of a toolmaker’s time.

By focusing on printing tools for mass production rather than the parts themselves, Mantle said it has tackled the longstanding issues of high costs and lengthy production times associated with tool creation for mass production. This strategic shift has resulted in cost reductions for customers exceeding 65% and accelerated manufacturers' development cycles by up to 90%, it claims.

Business, not surprisingly, is booming: Last year saw double-digit growth in shipments, according to San Francisco-based Mantle. 

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.

www.linkedin.com/in/norbertsparrow

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