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Fast Radius raises $48 million to scale up its additive manufacturing capacity

 Photo: Fast Radius
Photo: Fast Radius

Fast Radius, an industrial-grade contract manufacturer specializing in additive manufacturing, has raised $48 million in Series B financing, with the round led by UPS alongside insider participation from Drive Capital. Fast Radius has stated that the funding will be channeled towards accelerating the expansion of its software platform, identifying and launching additive applications, and scaling up its additive manufacturing capacity.

Headquartered in Chicago, Fast Radius has seen exponential growth since its inception in 2015, with it now having offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and Singapore, along with a production hub on-site at the UPS WorldPort facility in Louisville, Kentucky.

Fast Radius pioneers in additive manufacturing, where physical objects are built by successfully adding materials – a method that is spectrally the opposite of traditional subtractive manufacturing that creates products by subtracting material from a larger mass. Apart from being inherently less wasteful, additive manufacturing also allows companies to produce new geometry that is superior in design and performance strength.

“Additive manufacturing is increasingly becoming the logical direction for future supply chain strategies, blurring the lines between physical and virtual warehousing for products in many industries,” said Scott Price, chief strategy and transformation officer at UPS. “Fast Radius’ technology platform and additive manufacturing design processes are bringing the virtual warehouse vision to life for their customers, complementing UPS’ global time-definite logistics expertise.”

Fast Radius has taken the concept of additive manufacturing and scaled it up to be industrial production worthy – courtesy its strategic partnership with UPS. Fast Radius’ business model is not just about production itself, but also the ease with which companies can navigate between hundreds of designs before choosing the one that exactly fits their needs.

Fast Radius’ software platform, called the Fast Radius Operating System (FROS), supports customers across their product lifecycle. “The platform helps customers identify potential applications, conduct engineering and economic evaluations, accelerate new product development, and ultimately manufacture industrial-grade parts in Fast Radius factories at scale with the latest additive technologies,” said the company in its statement.

Clients are given an option to migrate their designs from their physical inventories to Fast Radius’ virtual inventory, which negates the need for businesses to manufacture all their products and store them in warehouses – saving both money and space. Now, companies can produce parts by sourcing designs from the Fast Radius virtual directory and have the products shipped through UPS to their desired destination.

The on-site production facility at the UPS WorldPort hub enables Fast Radius to build and ship parts much faster than before. For instance, companies can now pick a design, Fast Radius can manufacture the product late in the evening, and get it shipped for delivery by the following morning – making the short turn-around times nothing short of a game-changer in the supply chain industry.

The company is also expanding its partnerships across various verticals including the aerospace, automotive, consumer, industrial and medical sectors. Fast Radius was placed in a list of companies compiled by the World Economic Forum last year that are pioneering technologies ushering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The company has 45 full-time employees including former senior executives from McKinsey & Company, Amazon, General Electric, PayPal and Blue Origin. It now plans to double its employee count before next year, with most of the growth expected to happen in its Chicago headquarters.

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Vishnu Rajamanickam, Staff Writer

Vishnu writes editorial commentary on cutting-edge technology within the freight industry, profiles startups, and brings in perspective from industry frontrunners and thought leaders in the freight space. In his spare time, he writes neo-noir poetry, blogs about travel & living, and loves to debate about international politics. He hopes to settle down in a village and grow his own food at some point in time. But for now, he is happy to live with his wife in the middle of a German metropolitan.

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