Oqton, a startup developing a factory operating system that integrates engineering software with manufacturing hardware, today raised $40 million. The company says the funds will be used to further develop Oqton’s platform while expanding its commercial partnerships in markets including additive manufacturing, robotic welding, and CNC machining.
The additive manufacturing market is exploding, with Reports and Data anticipating growth at a rate of 14.4% to $26.68 billion by 2027. Additive manufacturing has advantages over techniques like injection molding, such as lower resource requirements, faster production cycles, and flexible design workflows. But challenges remain, chief among them orchestration and high operational expenses.
U.S.- and Belgium-based Oqton, which employs about 56 people, develops a subscription-based, cloud-hosted solution that combines several fabrication capabilities into one platform. According to cofounder and chairman Samir Hanna, an Autodesk veteran, Oqton can achieve up to 100% automation in dental, jewelry, medical, industrial, and aerospace verticals, netting a 30% overall reduction in costs.
Oqton automates CNC, metal, and polymer 3D printing and hybrid additive and subtractive workflows, like creating castable jewelry wax. Users can schedule, track, and trace actions in a lab environment with custom dashboards, reports, and summaries. The platform supports imports from design software like JewelCAD, Rhino, and Blender and suggests a range of optimizations and fixes informed by AI inspection algorithms, as well as by pre-analyses of part geometry and real-time calibration.
For example, Oqton can automatically adjust geometries to get parts within required tolerances, simulating heat treatment effects like warpage, shrinkage, and stress relief on titanium, cobalt, chrome, zirconia, and other materials. It’s also able to assign the correct welding parameters and classify parts with labels like “ring,” “bracelet,” and “pendant,” which are mapped to specific production routes.
Oqton’s AI algorithms trained on “years of production use” orient components for 3D printing and manufacturing, taking into account factors like machine time, material quantities and qualities, programming, surfaces, and finishing requirements. The system learns from usage and recommends different annotations, orientations, and support strategies. And it orchestrates schedules across production processes, machines, and locations, basing its predictions on machine capacity and target delivery dates.
“At the core of Oqton is a digital thread that connects and maintains all production data to the original order and CAD data. Physical and digital relationships are dynamically updated as needed,” the company explains on its website. “The system learns from usage and suggests … strategies based on how [employees] prepared similar parts in the past. This further reduces engineering time spent on repetitive tasks.”
On the analytics side, Oqton offers a panel from which machines like lasers, robots, filters, furnaces, millers, printers, and cutting tools can be monitored in real time. This panel spotlights historical data that can be used to create custom reports and potential actions for replacement or maintenance. Dashboards can be configured using drag-and-drop widgets, and production alerts can be set up. A manager can program text notifications to be triggered by rising oxygen levels in an additive build chamber, for example, or by orders or parts at risk of missing a delivery date.
Oqton, which sells its own machines, says its customers include EOS, Sisma, Trumpf, Prodways and Sandvik.
The series A investment announced today is the company’s first public funding round. Fortino Capital led it, joined by PMV, Sandvik, Oqton cofounders Hanna and Ben Schrauwen, and several angel investors, including former Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, Drupal founder Dries Buytaert, and AdditiveLab cofounder Peter Mercelis.
Oqton raises $40 million to apply AI to additive manufacturing The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Venture Beat.