Bosch to invest in Xometry and new AI campus in Cyber Valley

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 12 Jul 2019


Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch Group, joins a USD 55m growth financing round in Xometry. Based in Gaithersburg, Maryland (United States), Xometry currently has 250 employees and is on track to generate around USD 100M in revenue this year. With this latest round of funding, Xometry is now eyeing expansion into the European geography. Consequently, Bosch is also planning to invest some 35 million euros in a new ‘Bosch AI campus’ in Germany’s Cyber Valley.

“Xometry’s instant quoting engine helps drive efficiency by leveraging AI algorithms to instantly generate a price, lead time, and manufacturability feedback," says RBVC managing director Dr Ingo Ramesohl.

The traditional quoting process for custom parts is a manual and labour intensive endeavour. Specialized quoting personnel work with manufacturing experts and schedulers to develop an accurate estimation of raw material costs, labour requirements, lead times and more. With the Xometry instant quoting engine, customers can upload their 3D CAD files to the company’s website with simple drag and drop functionality, or order directly from Solidworks or Autodesk design software via Xometry plugins.

According to Bosch, the part geometries and properties are automatically analysed and information on cost, lead time and manufacturability are shown. Customers can dynamically tweak the manufacturing process used, raw material, colour, tolerances, required certifications and part finish via drop-down menus to immediately understand the effect on price and lead time. These parameters can all be fine-tuned so that the customer can optimise for the variable that is most critical to them. Once satisfied, there is a one-click order process without the need to wait for quotes coming back from multiple suppliers.

Launch of Xometry-Supplies and Expansion into Europe
Xometry recently launched the 'Xometry Supplies' initiative that helps its manufacturing partners simplify their supply chain by providing relevant materials, tools and industrial supplies when they accept jobs. With deep insights on the specific raw material and tooling required to complete each job, Xometry can aggregate demand across its thousands of manufacturing partners and offer these supplies at discounted rates.

Xometry has built up a market leading portfolio of +3,000 manufacturing partners in the United States. Now, with the most recent round of funding, they are turning an eye toward European expansion. “We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with a world-class manufacturing brand like Bosch,” said Randy Altschuler, co-founder and CEO of Xometry. “Global expansion is one of our key upcoming initiatives and we look forward to leveraging Bosch’s deep manufacturing expertise as we launch in Europe.”

The custom manufacturing market in the US represents around USD 57b in annual spend. This figure encompasses processes such as milling and turning, injection moulding, 3D printing, sheet metal work and die casting. This market is expected to continue to expand as industry drivers such as shorter product development cycles, increased product personalization/customization and emerging additive manufacturing techniques continue to evolve.

New platform for startups and AI research
Bosch is currently in talks with the city of Tubingen to negotiate the purchase of a roughly 12,000 square-meter plot on which to build the campus. The move into the new research complex is planned for the end of 2022. Roughly 700 experts will work on applied AI there.  Bosch is currently in talks with the city of Tubingen to negotiate the purchase of a roughly 12,000 square-meter plot on which to build the campus. The move into the new research complex is planned for the end of 2022. Roughly 700 experts will work on applied AI there. 

Bosch CDO/CTO Dr Michael Bolle said, “In the new building, experts from the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) will work on projects together with experts from other Bosch divisions and from startups. The campus structure will do a lot to foster an exchange of ideas. ”

Last year, Professor Matthias Hein was appointed to a Bosch-endowed chair at the University of Tubingen. The company sponsors two Industry on Campus professorships, which allow the university to integrate practical industrial expertise into its research and teaching. These professorships focus on the issues that arise when preparing for industrial applications. One example is predictive diagnostics, which makes it possible to predict machine breakdowns long before a fault actually occurs. Currently, the BCAI has some 200 associates at a total of six locations in Germany, the United States, India, and Israel.

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