HARP 3D printing technology is going to be commercialized by Azul 3D. Developed at Northwestern University, HARP (high-area rapid printing) enables a record-breaking throughput that can manufacture products on demand.
To support this effort, Azul 3D completed its second stage of seed financing, totaling over $8 million. The most recent cash infusion exceeds $5.4 million and will be used to advance the company’s proprietary high area rapid printing (HARP) technology and to launch its first commercial printers. Azul 3D is scheduled to ship its first printers to beta partners in the first quarter of 2021, with a full launch of production-ready printers at the end of 2021.
The Skokie, IL-based company will also be expanding its operations to prepare for product launch, recruiting senior leadership, and building its manufacturing facility. Among the key figures that are joining Azul 3D is Harvard University Wyss Institute Professor Jennifer Lewis, one of the utmost 3D printing materials and technology experts in the US.
Over the last 30 years, most efforts in 3D printing have been aimed at pushing the limits of legacy technologies. Often, the pursuit of larger parts has come at the cost of speed, throughput and resolution. With HARP technology, this compromise is unnecessary, enabling it to compete with both the resolution and throughput of traditional manufacturing techniques.
The prototype HARP technology is 13-feet tall with a 2.5 square-foot print bed and can print about half a yard in an hour — a record throughput for the 3D printing field. This means it can print single, large parts or many different small parts at once.
“When you can print fast and large, it can really change the way we think about manufacturing,” said Azul 3D Chairman of the Board Chad Mirkin. “With HARP, you can build anything you want without molds and without a warehouse full of parts. You can print anything you can imagine on-demand.”
As a large-format 3D printer, HARP stands out for its ability to produce high-resolution parts that do not require extensive post-processing. That is, most large-format machines on the market print large parts with lower resolutions (for speed) and thus require extensive sanding or post-processing.
Because the 3D printer can produce robust components made from a variety of materials, it could have applications in a number of industries, including aerospace, automotive, dental, medical, fashion and more.
“Obviously there are many types of 3D printers out there—you see printers making buildings, bridges and car bodies, and conversely you see printers that can make small parts at very high resolutions,” said CTO David Walker. “We’re excited because this is the largest and highest throughput printer in its class.”