Illinois-based startup Azul 3D has been in the 3D printing headlines a lot recently for its commercialized ultra-fast large-format HARP, or High Area Rapid Printing, technology. First invented and developed at Northwestern University in 2019, HARP uses a proprietary type of stereolithography technology, which makes it possible to print complex 3D structures, out of a wide array of materials, that are as tall as a human being. By circulating coolant beneath the resin, then sending it through a unit made for cooling, the technology actually pulls heat from 3D printed parts, which helps alleviate the issues of warping and cracking during the curing process that plague methods like Carbon’s CLIP technology.
It took years to develop the HARP process, and last year was the first time the technology was ever publicly disclosed. Azul 3D has been on the move ever since.
Recently, the 3D printing startup announced that it had raised another $12.5 million in seed financing, bringing the total funding amount up to nearly $26 million. Recent investors include Joe Allison, the former CEO of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, Wally Loewen Baum, former chairperson of 3D Systems, ExOne’s CEO John Hartner, and Louis A. Simpson, former Chief Investment Officer for GEICO; the last two investors listed here are now also on the board of directors at Azul 3D. Now, it has announced the formation of an exclusive development collaboration with DuPont Electronics & Imaging, a global supplier of technologies and materials.
“This collaboration with DuPont is very important to us,” stated Chad Mirkin, Azul 3D Co-Founder and chair, in a press release. “In addition to validating the industry-enabling capabilities of HARP, it showcases our ability to use it to transform aspects of the manufacturing sector.”
DuPont Electronics & Imaging serves the advanced chip packaging, circuit board, display, digital and flexographic printing, electronic and industrial finishing, and semiconductor industries. The goal of its collaboration with Azul 3D is to bring next-generation 3D printing methods, like its HARP technology, to the electronic materials sector.
“Combining DuPont’s expertise with Azul 3D’s capabilities in 3D printing will be a powerful pathway for exploring new technology innovations. We’re looking forward to collaborating to meet emerging industry needs,” said Nick Pugliano, the Business Development Director for DuPont Electronics & Imaging.
HARP printers are capable of much larger print areas and production speeds than most commercial systems, 3D printing parts vertically at up to 18 inches an hour, and the throughput it achieves is said to put its competitors to shame; Azul 3D says its technology can even compete with injection molding.
“We’re excited to get to work with DuPont’s visionary team and to move the field forward. This is a great example of how HARP isn’t just competing with other technologies in niche applications— we’re fundamentally expanding the adoption of additive manufacturing into exciting and previously inaccessible applications,” Walker said.
There are plenty of 3D printed electronics applications, from satellites and antennae to circuit structures, circuit boards, and sensors. So DuPont and Azul 3D’s plans to combine this with HARP technology would potentially allow these types of products to fine-tuned, and manufactured on-demand, at a far higher rate of speed.
(Source: Yahoo News / Images: courtesy of Azul 3D unless otherwise noted)
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