Azul 3D’s CEO Churn Sees 3D Printing Vet John Hartner Takeover

Metal AM Markets

Share this Article

After spinning a promising technology out of a Northwestern University lab, Azul 3D, Inc was poised to conquer the world of vat photopolymerization (VP). Its high area rapid printing (HARP) process is capable of producing enormous parts at breakneck speeds using materials that competing VP techniques just aren’t capable of printing. However, the Chicagoland startup has been slow to get out the gate.

New Azul 3D CEO John Hartner.

Outside of some high-profile customers and investors, including Wilson Sporting Goods and DuPont, Azul’s promising Lake 3D printers have yet to make the splash that was expected. Instead, the company operated under three different CEOs in 2021 alone. Its Chief Revenue Officer, Tuan Trampham, recently left, as well.  No new customers nor capital raises have been announced in some time.

The newest CEO to take the reins from Cody Petersen, who served as vice president of product development and manufacturing before taking over the company in 2021, is John Hartner. Hartner is an additive manufacturing (AM) industry veteran, having begun his career as Rockwell Automation before ultimately leading Dover Corporation. His start in 3D printing began at VP leader EnvisionTEC, where he was a board member and COO. Hartner then left EnvisionTEC to become CEO of metal binder jetting firm ExOne.

Upon overseeing the sale of ExOne to Desktop Metal, Hartner has continued to operate in the industry as a syndicate partner of AM investing group 3D Ventures, run by the former chairman of 3D Systems, Wally Loewenbaum; Solid Concepts founder and current Evolve Additive CEO Joe Allison, alongside Reg Hargrove and Hugh Evans.

Pickle ball paddles 3D printed for Wilson using Azul’s HARP technology. Image courtesy of Azul.

Additionally, Hartner’s investment firm, Digital Industrialist, has directed funding to AM companies, including axial3D, Culinary Printworks, Authentise, Additive Innovations, and even Azul. In that way, Hartner has gone from investing in the startup to taking it over, mirroring a similar move by his colleague, Joe Allison, whose 3D Ventures went from investing in Evolve before Allison became its CEO.

A representative from Azul 3D told 3DPrint.com that the company had planned to formally announce the appointment of Hartner as interim CEO later this summer, as well as some of the specific plans the firm has in store. The representative reassured us that the company is financially solid and may unveil new customers in the summer, as well. In that way, the appointment is meant to signal a new period of evolution for Azul 3D.

Given the current economic environment, in which companies may be struggling to find new investments or customers willing to take risks on new technologies, it’s necessary for small businesses like Azul to take important steps to keep up. Even some of the industry’s largest players have found themselves in unique situations financially. Hopefully the appointment of Hartner is just such a step for Azul.

Share this Article

Recent News

MELD Partners with Sumitomo to Expand Large-format Metal 3D Printing in Japan

3D Printing in Auto Repair Task Force Issues Final Report


3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns

You May Also Like

3D Printing Webinar and Event Roundup: October 1, 2023

Things are slowing down a little this week, but there are still plenty of events and webinars to attend in the additive manufacturing industry! Stratasys, and 3D Systems continue their...

Deutsche Bahn Certifies Essentium’s 3D Printing Platform for Rail Parts

Essentium, the Austin-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of additive manufacturing (AM) platforms, announced that its High Speed Extrusion (HSE) printer has been certified for use by Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany’s...

US Army Looks to Ramp up 3D Printed Auto Parts

At the 15th Annual Ground Vehicle Systems (GVS) Engineering & Technology Symposium, held this week in Novi, Michigan, Eric Wetzel of the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) announced that the...

Spanish OEM Meltio Enters Indian Market to Distribute Metal 3D Printers

Meltio, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of metal wire directed energy deposition (DED) platforms, has made IRTI Robotics its first official sales partner in India. IRTI (Iconics Research & Training...