A conversation with 2022 Innovation Award Winner Archytas Automation

Forward AM is proud to have presented the 2022 Innovation Award to Archytas Automation. Founded in 2020 on the belief that there is “always a better way,” Archytas is committed to continual improvement. With a mission to provide customers with affordable automated solutions through Additive Manufacturing, Archytas strives to increase safety, expand capacity and grow profits for their clients while also thinking sustainably to reduce their environmental impact.

The unique benefits found through the principles of Additive Manufacturing allows Archytas to create successful solutions utilizing multi-level 3D printing to produce top-quality automated robots. This versatility of design and materials as well as the accuracy maintained throughout the production process results in a final part that can meet the adaptability requirements needed to implement successful automated solutions for a variety of products across a diverse set of industries.

Martin: As a startup, what industry challenge were you addressing with your innovative product?

Archytas: There are over 4 million businesses in the U.S. employing less than 50 people. These small- to medium-sized companies could benefit from the implementation of automated processes, but it’s too expensive. Many robotics corporations sell expensive machines and computers, then on top of that, integration companies sell costly engineering hours to program these already expensive machines.

These smaller scale businesses are extremely price sensitive and want to see payback in less than a year. Another issue which can be problematic is hiring a consistent workforce noting that in the U.S. alone, forecasters are projecting over 2 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030.

But this is where the Archytas solution can drastically affect the success of these businesses. Unlike other robots, our automated system uses an onboard computer to adjust the location of the robot with electronic feedback, therefore eliminating the need for constant human oversight.

Martin: Why did you choose Additive Manufacturing as a design and production method?

Archytas: Because we didn’t need expensive, traditionally manufactured mechanical parts to achieve repeatability, we were able to use 3D printing for all of our structural parts. This enabled a lightning-fast development process. As we develop solutions for our customers, we use Additive Manufacturing to iterate quickly. Because we’re focused on small – medium companies, we’re able to tweak designs to ensure that we meet our customers’ needs through the unique benefits of 3D printing. We also have a very complex product with over 1400 steps to assemble. We’re able to consolidate complex parts as a result of Additive.

Martin: Forward AM recently launched #ProjectZero, a sustainability initiative. Can you tell me how your product is sustainable?

Archytas: It’s about 1/2 the weight of its competitors, so it needs small supports during operations. It uses 100W vs 300W. Because it’s Additively Manufactured, the waste is minimized and we print the parts at the point of manufacture, which minimizes logistics cost. Finally, the local micro factory strategy minimizes logistics movement for the end product.

Martin: Knowing what you can accomplish with 3D printing, what are your plans for the future?

Archytas: In the short term, we are kicking off our sales activity to offer robots and labs to community colleges for their teaching activities. We have released several training labs – most of which include 3D printed parts. We continue to experiment with part designs and different materials which all enable us to move quickly. In the long term, we’re building a global network of micro factories where we can both build our product as well as support our customer from less than 6 hours away. We will also have a catalog of accessories for our customers in order for them to continue to grow their automation capabilities in-house.

Martin: How will the Forward AM Innovation Award help you to increase your impact within your industry?

Archytas: This award has already helped us to increase our credibility. Currently we are looking to raise Venture Investment dollars and it’s a tough market. When investors hear about the BASF Forward AM Innovation Award, they want to hear more – especially the “Why Archytas.” This is a great opportunity for us to talk about using Additive Manufacturing to create a capital efficient business strategy. Additionally, the in-kind award is a fantastic opportunity for us to utilize and learn from the IAM3DHub experts for prototype parts and new designs.

Martin: What would you say to encourage other startups to consider using Additive Manufacturing?

Archytas: Additive manufacturing has given us several advantages. The first is in the design space as we can iterate our designs very quickly while producing complex parts that meet requirements. We are also using AM to create manufacturing build and assembly aids. We used these types of aids to enable a more than 50% decrease in the number of hours to build our robots. We have also developed a company culture of continuous improvement, which begins with rapid prototyping (enabled by AM) and has expanded throughout all of our activities. Our core behavior is “Always a Better Way.” Additive allows critical part manufacturing in local factories which leads to easier demand planning while we minimize logistics costs and maximize our customer support capability. Bottom line – Additive isn’t just for designing and creating parts. You should look at how Additive enables a complete, efficient business strategy.

At Archytas, their processes are proven and predictable. They work to make the journey to become automated fast, effective and simple by evaluating your workflow, collaborating with your team, innovating the best solutions, integrating the right componentry, and finally automating and creating the ongoing support model.

BASF Forward AM and our partners are proud to support Archytas Automation as they forge new pathways in Additive Manufacturing to provide outstanding products and service to their customers.

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