The start-up has launched a unique carbon fiber 3D printing technology that allows for enhanced scalability. Through the latest cash injection, it hopes to commercialize the technology more quickly.
Carbon fiber 3D printing is set to become a dominant trend in additive manufacturing over the next few years. This is driven in part due to the material’s incredible properties such as strength, temperature resistance, and reduced weight compared to other materials.
Arevo, the Silicon Valley-based 3D printing start-up, has developed a unique method to 3D print carbon fiber to boost scalability. To help the company achieve its goals, it has just received a cash boost of $12.5 million in a Series B funding round, led by Asahi Glass.
Arevo hopes that the financing can help it achieve commercialization of its technology for aerospace, defense, transportation, automotive, consumer electronics, sports, medical and oil and gas industries.
Additionally, it announced the appointment of Jim Miller as CEO. Miller joins Arevo from Amazon and Google where he held roles as vice president of supply chain and operations, respectively.
Arevo’s carbon fiber printing process. (Image: Arevo)
Arevo’s Uses a Special Process for Fiber Coating
So what makes Arevo’s composite additive manufacturing technology special? According to an interview by engineering.com with founder Hemant Bheda, Arevo’s process actually merges the carbon fiber strands with thermoplastics such as nylon or polyether ether ketone (PEEK).
The technology achieves a highly precise coating of each fiber with the polymer. Importantly, it doesn’t destroy the fibers in the process. Arevo uses a laser DED technology to achieve this. Traditionally, engineers often use extrusion techniques in the process. However, the laser offers faster speeds and thus increased scale.
Impressively, the porosity of the printed parts is less than 1%. At the same time, the material exhibits a strength that is 5x that of titanium at just a third of the comparable weight.
Following the refinement of the material, Arevo plans to bring the technology to market. The company plans to focus on the software side of things next. Eventually, this should allow users to control and manipulate how the material is deposited.
A closer look at printing with carbon fiber strands. (Image: Arevo)
Print Carbon Fiber Bicycle in Just 18 Days
To demonstrate the properties of its technology further, the company launched a carbon fiber bicycle in collaboration with Studio West. The resulting bike is a unique design. What’s more, the entire process required almost zero human labor, bringing the cost down to $300 for the bicycle frame.
“We invited the designers to ride the bike and they were pleasantly surprised. They mentioned that, for big bike manufacturers who produce carbon bikes, it would take 15 or 16 iterations before they would get this quality of the ride,” Bheda explained. “What this means is that we can take the 18-month design cycle needed to create a new bike design and we can collapse it to less than 18 days.”
Arevo is one of few companies currently working with carbon fiber to 3D print bikes. Japanese company Triple Bottom Line previously presented its fully 3D printed road racer.
Similarly, the Australian company Bastion Cycles launched a 3D printed bicycle made of titanium and carbon fiber back in 2016.
Source: Arevo & Engineering.com