3D printed tooling company aims for rapid expansion

Metal 3D printer start-up Mantle focuses on additive manufacturing for precision tooling.

Metal 3D printing start-up, Mantle, has secured $20 million in Series C funding, raising the company’s total funding to more than $61.5 million.

Led by Schooner Capital, a Boston-based private investment firm, the round was also joined by the company’s largest existing investors, including Fine Structure Ventures, Foundation Capital, Corazon Capital, 11.2 Capital and Build Collective.

“The fragile state of the global supply chain has triggered a massive reshoring initiative that sharply increased the demand for molded parts and thus toolmaking,” said Ted Sorom, CEO and co-founder of Mantle in a press release. “We’re navigating a twin set of hurdles: a toolmaking workforce in the U.S. that has shrunk by half over the past quarter-century, coupled with the rising costs and extended lead times brought on by constrained toolmaking capacities. The adoption of Mantle’s tooling technology has emerged as a key strategy to enhance labor productivity, cut expenses, and drastically shorten lead times.”

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

Heyco Products, a US-based manufacturer of wire protection products and electrical components, integrates Mantle technology for advanced in-house molding and toolmaking capabilities. (Image: Mantle.)

“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 Danny Anthony, Heyco’s Vice President of Operations. “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.”

General Pattern, a custom manufacturer specializing in low to medium plastic forming operations, has adopted Mantle’s advanced 3D printing technology to enhance the flexibility to build production tools at prototype lead-times and minimize the need to build entire tools by the toolmakers which significantly reduces costs, lead times, and labor. According to Mantle, the company was able to produce a tool that not only saved 3.5 weeks of lead time but required just four active hours of toolmaker time.

Mantle’s metal 3D printing technology is designed specifically to print injection mold tools, an application where other metal 3D printing methods have traditionally fallen short. The goal is to reduce both the time and cost needed to fabricate high-quality molds and dies.

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

Written by

Ian Wright

Ian is a senior editor at engineering.com, covering additive manufacturing and 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing. Ian holds bachelors and masters degrees in philosophy from McMaster University and spent six years pursuing a doctoral degree at York University before withdrawing in good standing.