MIT Spinoff RLP Secures $7M to Scale and Accelerate Gel Suspension 3D Printing

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Leading the charge in innovative manufacturing, MIT spinout Rapid Liquid Print (RLP) has shattered traditional barriers with its unique gravity-free fabrication technology. This cutting-edge approach can produce complex, large-scale items in minutes—a dramatic shift from the traditional weeks-long process. Bolstered by a recent $7 million in Series A funding, RLP is getting ready to scale its production, expand the team of experts behind the technology, and build additional business areas.

The potential of RLP’s technology caught the eye of top-tier investors. Led by Germany’s HZG Group, the investment also saw continued support from initial backers BMW i Ventures, the venture capital arm of BMW Group, and MassMutual’s MM Catalyst Fund, which played a pivotal role in the company’s early development phase. In 2021, BMW i Ventures and MassMutual first backed RLP, boosting the startup’s efforts to innovate in 3D printing. Their support led to new applications and materials now being used in a wide range of applications.

The RLP Team. Image courtesy of Rapid Liquid Print.

With a technology that sounds like science fiction, this isn’t your standard 3D printer; it’s a leap into what could be the future of how we create everything from car parts to medical devices. The technology can rapidly produce large-scale, flexible, and robust products using a method where a liquid material mixture is injected into a specially engineered gel. This gel supports the object, eliminating the need for additional structures that other 3D printers would need to build simultaneously. After the object is formed, it simply cures within the gel and is ready for use almost immediately—no further processing is required.

RLP’s technology is already making waves across various sectors,  including healthcare, automotive, and art, bringing unique solutions to life through its patented process. A great example of a standout application is the production of custom prosthetic silicone liners manufactured directly from patient scans at just $250 per liner. Considering that similar prosthetic liners typically range between $360 to over $500 and take much longer to produce, the fact that these liners are made in just minutes at RLP’s facilities greatly improves patient comfort and accessibility.

RLP helped make this patient-specific myo-electric i-digit prosthesis for Monique Van den Boom and the team at ProMotion Prosthetics.

One of the companies leveraging RLP’s technology for 3D printed silicone liners is Australia’s ProMotion Prosthetics. In fact, ProMotion’s director, Monique Van den Boom, discussed the groundbreaking work on 3D printed silicone solutions at last year’s Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association (AOPA) Congress in Melbourne, where she presented a case study on tailored 3D-printed custom cushion liners and how they offer unmatched comfort, durability, and the perfect fit even for the unique cases. Van den Boom used RLP’s printing process to create an advanced device designed specifically for individuals who have lost fingers or partial hands called a myoelectric i-digit prosthesis for one of her patients, and it turned out to be a success.

Hyundai presented its mobility technologies, such as SPACE (Spatial Curated Experience), at CES 2024. This product uses RLP 3D printing tech. Image courtesy of RLP and Hyundai via LinkedIn.

In automotive, RLP’s collaboration with Hyundai showed the technology’s versatility. At CES 2024, Hyundai introduced the innovative SPACE (Spatial Curated Experience) project, which features adaptive seating with functional, latticed cushions 3D printed to scale within minutes by RLP. The company had previously demonstrated the potential of its technology to create a lattice car seat with embedded bladders for the BMW group. One of the big draws here is that it doesn’t need tooling, mold, toxic post-processing, or support structures to create the part.

RLP prints parts for Hyundai’s mobility technologies. Image courtesy of RLP and Hyundai via LinkedIn.

RLP’s influence also extends into the realm of art. An early experiment with designer Christophe Guberan, conducted at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab before RLP’s official spinout, has been recognized by the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

According to RLP, the work “exemplifies the extraordinary potential of our Gravity-Free Fabrication process in creating end-use products. What’s truly remarkable is that this piece is over five years old, and it looks just as impeccable as the day it was printed. This speaks volumes about the longevity and resilience of the 3D printed parts crafted with our cutting-edge technology.”

RLP printed art piece at the MOMA. Image courtesy of RLP.

With the Series A funding, RLP is gearing up to expand its operations and market reach. The company’s goal is to set a new standard in the 3D printing industry by providing faster, more flexible, and environmentally sustainable production options. This investment not only provides capital but also brings invaluable industry expertise and networks since the partners are committed to supporting RLP’s vision of transforming manufacturing with its technology.

RLP Co-founder and CEO Schendy Kernizan remarked, “In the HZG Group, we have found an investor who recognizes the full potential of our technology and has its own track record of setting standards with the introduction of metal 3D printing on an industrial scale. Together, we will take RLP’s technology to the next level. RLP will benefit greatly from the HZG Group’s engineering expertise and network at its high-tech location in Bavaria.”

Similarly, HZG Group’s CTO Florian Bechmann highlighted how RLP’s technology redefines the traditional layer-based manufacturing process, and its approach is like introducing a “new coding language to manufacturing.”

Fueling RLP’s future, the latest funding not only highlights the unique potential of RLP’s technology to produce large-scale, flexible products rapidly but also strengthens the strategic partnerships that will propel the company forward in the 3D printing arena.

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