Fortify, a small company that provides additive manufacturing for radio frequency (RF) components, on Tuesday said it has received a strategic investment from Lockheed Martin’s [LMT] venture capital arm that will accelerate work the company is already doing for the large aerospace and defense contractor.
The value of the investment wasn’t disclosed.
Fortify, which is based on Boston, essentially provides 3D printing systems in-a-box for its customers who use the technology to produce various RF components out of high-performance, high viscosity materials. For example, the technology can make “highly sophisticated, next-generation phase array front end antennas,” Lawrence Ganti, Fortify’s CEO, told
The additive manufacturing RF technology has applications for things such as radar, missile guidance, 5G, Internet of Things, augmented reality-virtual reality, and autonomous vehicle sensing, he said in an interview on Monday ahead of the announcement.
Ganti said that the investment by LM Ventures will “secure resources on our end” to commercialize products in support of the ongoing work for Lockheed Martin involving the company’s Aeronautics, Rotary and Mission Systems, Missiles and Fire Control, and Space sectors.
Through the ongoing work between the two companies, Ganti said that Lockheed Martin’s engineers have been working “hand-in-hand with us on the product development side” and to provide guidance.
The investment also will help Fortify “refocus” on the key markets of aerospace and defense, 5G wireless commercial communications, and satellite antennas in space, he said.
Fortify also gets more credibility from the investment, he said.
The RF components that Fortify’s 3D printers make are typically just a “piece” of a larger product. Ganti said his company’s technology unlocks “design freedom,” allowing customers to think anew about how they design a solution.
“So, it’s not about incremental improvements,” he said. “It’s not about making something better, cheaper or a little bit different. It’s really step change. Our technology allows customers like a Lockheed to really think out of the box and genuinely say, ‘How can we address the problem that we’re trying to solve with a completely different viewpoint?’”
Ganti said Fortify’s refrigerator-size additive manufacturing machines can produce about 200,000 parts—no larger than a shoe box—per year, which he described as beyond prototype but not mass scale production.
Other investors in Fortify include In-Q-Tel, the Department of Energy, Accel Partners, Cota Capital, Neotribe, Prelude Ventures, Mainspring, and OceanAzul. Fortify has 60 employees.