AiBuild was launched in 2015 by two architects, Daghan Cam and Michail Desyllas, after spending previous years working on different projects around the world, such as airports and cultural centers. The duo then brought their experience of geometric solutions to what AiBuild is today: an enterprise software platform that provides highly sophisticated machine instructions through its Ai Sync software tool.
“Our role was really to solve geometric problems. This means, for example, in construction, solving the challenges of large structures, algorithmically,” said Michail Desyllas. “We are both technical founders. This is where our passion lies. We founded AIBuild because we were truly fascinated and inspired by 3D printing.
According to Michail Desyllas, although 3D printing is seen as “this amazing technology that can do anything we dream of. In reality, it is extremely error-prone and very laborious. And, as printing is scaled up for larger applications, such as construction, the problems increase exponentially. “That’s really what we were interested in.”
When Cam and Desyllas started, “there wasn’t hardware good enough to do what we had in mind, so we developed our own hardware and used it to add more sensors and automate the process.”
Although AiBuild is now purely a software company, the team still has a physical lab where they test every new feature or capability they deploy.
“We test it physically, always, and AI Labs is primarily about doing that, as well as integrating, providing guidance, and sharing knowledge with the community. Our hardware partners send us their machines, and we are able to advise them by testing it and pushing its limits, and this results in better connectivity between software and hardware,” says Michail Desyllas. “We are able to develop and iterate very, very quickly.
AiBuild’s Ai Sync software, from the user’s perspective, is basically lines of code bundled into visual blocks that the user can use to create very complex toolpaths. Toolpaths are directly connected to the machine, and each toolpath is automatically and parametrically controlled, and specific to the machine being used.
“Indeed, the market is changing and each machine has its own specific capabilities and requirements. On top of that, we do a lot of characterization of the materials we code in the software, as well as reporting and analysis in terms of weight and waste of the total generation before the actual production.
Enter the software side
AiBuild’s Ai Sync software is designed specifically for the manufacturing side of industrial robotic extrusion 3D printing technologies, not for designing parts.
“We support the different designs of our customers, and the idea of the platform is really to help our partners and our customers to produce in a more sustainable way. This means understanding the manufacturing lifecycle from start to finish and seeing where our software can help them minimize time through the stages, from very early material sourcing to prototyping and final shipment. “said Michail Desyllas. . “It’s almost our responsibility to do all of this because we’ve done it before and we believe we need to share this knowledge with the community so that we can make a better product.”
Back in 2015, when AI Build started, hardware options for large format industrial extrusion 3D printing were very limited, if not non-existent. So when Ai Build wanted to experiment with bigger parts and needed big extruders, they built them.
When the pair began to see rapid growth in the large-format industrial production segment of additive manufacturing, especially in industries like aerospace and automotive, and other established hardware companies launching their own machines in the market, they decided to take the opportunity to partner with these companies, instead of competing with them. This gave AiBuild the opportunity to focus on its core business: software.
“And now we are able to offer a much better joint product rather than doing it all on our own. That’s how it evolved over the seven years. But for the last two or three years, we sold Ai Sync software as a service exclusively,” said Daghan Cam.
Take off with Ai Sync
After AiBuild received its first round of seed funding in 2020 – around $1 million led by SuperSeed – Cam and Desyllas started to think more commercially, in terms of scaling their software as a as a business, and not just in terms of technology development. “And fortunately, the market was evolving alongside our business. It was around 2020 when we decided software was the only thing we wanted to do moving forward,” Daghan Cam continued.
Earlier this year, AiBuild raised another $3.2 million in follow-up round one funding with its existing investors. Boeing also invested in AiBuild, after the company followed Boeing’s accelerator program. With this new investment, AiBuild is expanding its team, adding new features to the platform, and increasing its customer base and support.
AiBuild typically works with large companies in the aerospace, automotive, construction, marine, and energy industries. The company also has many partnerships with companies producing large format industrial polymer machines. More recently they have started working with metal, especially 3D printer manufacturers.
“The goal for us, from the start, was to automate as much as possible so that we could get the parts right the first time. So we move very quickly from design to production to achieve that. Currently, the existing processes are very closed systems, for example the hardware company has its own slicer and control software and it is very limited to one type of machine, or the exact opposite – you can have slicers that slice for everyone, but both are problematic because when you have freedom for everything then you don’t get good quality control of your production.It takes too much experience to fine-tune it.And on the other hand if the software is only designed for one type of machine, it doesn’t work for the company because they have 20 different types of machines and each machine comes with its own recommended software or its own control platform,” said laré Daghan Cam.
This means that the company’s engineers must learn to use different software packages, which creates the risk that the necessary skills potentially leave the company. If employees change all the time, it is very difficult to transfer knowledge from one person to another. That’s why the duo decided to build AiBuild as a platform that integrates deeply with their partners’ machines.
“When we say deep integration, we mean that we actually physically get the machines. In our lab in London, we have an R&D center where we obtain many machines, robots and extruders, and physically integrate our software there. Then our software is able to support this machine to its full capacity. We expose all sensors, cameras and actuators, giving the customer full visibility and control of this machine through our platform. The advantage for corporate clients is that they have their manufacturing in one place, so they don’t need to be stretched across 20 different software packages,” said Daghan Cam.