November 17, 2021
Machina Labs, which aims to advance manufacturing through robotics and artificial intelligence, has emerged from stealth mode and announced it closed a $16.3 million Series A round of funding. The financing will be used to grow Machina’s team in Los Angeles and to expand R&D and manufacturing capacity to meet increasing customer demand.
Founded in 2019, Machina Labs has been working behind the scenes to “blaze new trails in a manufacturing market that is ripe for disruption.” Manufacturing continues to rely on traditional processes that are rigid, slow and expensive – for example, in some industries, the manufacturing decision lifecycle can be as long as seven years.
“Manufacturing must be reinvented to keep up with the pace of change in this highly competitive market,” said Edward Mehr, CEO and co-founder of Machina Labs. “We’re excited to finally reveal Machina Labs’ manufacturing platform, which combines the latest advances in robotics and AI to democratize access to rapid manufacturing so that anyone with a great idea can manufacture parts quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. These software-defined, robotic facilities are the factories of the future, and we’re thrilled to have our investors on board to help us get there.”
The company said current customers are in the aerospace and defense industries. With completed pilots with NASA and the U.S. Air Force, Machina Labs is now working on commercial engagements. With NASA, the company worked to achieve optimal efficiencies in tank design – something that is not easily done with traditional processes. The company said it is also aiming to create factories of the future not just on Earth, but also in space. It is working with NASA to use its technology for in-space manufacturing, a necessary precursor to a multi-planetary future.
Similar to how an experienced craftsman uses a hammer to create sheet metal parts, the company’s robots use AI-driven sensor data to incrementally manipulate sheet metal to form parts. Its Los Angeles factory provides flexible, on-demand, software-defined manufacturing-as-a-service to several industries, supporting rapid development and scale-up with no upfront investments in tooling. The company said it can even re-manufacture parts and components that are no longer in production, and for which machinery or dies are no longer available.
The company said it can help businesses overcome supply chain issues by bringing manufacturing to the U.S. However, this can create new problems when using traditional factories, such as higher-priced products due to companies’ inability to take advantage of cost efficiencies they enjoyed in other countries.
“We’re living through a critical moment in manufacturing and expect much to change coming out of the supply chain madness that COVID instigated,” said Sam Smith-Eppsteiner, partner at Innovation Endeavors, which led the funding round. “Manufacturers and end-product companies alike are looking for technology to help make them more efficient and adaptable. While these two goals were historically in tension, Machina Labs unlocks both. We see huge opportunities for Machina Labs to disrupt engineering and design for metal parts, making the process faster and more iterative. But we also believe that Machina will transform the production of parts for low- to mid-volume by reducing the manufacturing costs, time-to-market and inventory holding costs for tooling.”
Additional participation in the funding round came from Congruent Ventures and Embark Ventures. For more details on Machina Labs and its processes, visit its website here.