This week, the 3D printing industry joins the world of additive manufacturing in Frankfurt for the return of one of the major events on the calendar – Formnext.

A staple of the exhibit is the annual start-up challenge, with winners selected for free participation in the show, including a pitch event on day one. Throughout the week, we will profile the winners. In this article, Azul 3D CEO Cody Petersen provides more information about Azul 3D.

3DPI: When was your company founded and where are the operations based?

Cody Petersen: Our company grew out of the lab of Chad Mirkin, professor of chemistry at Northwestern University, in 2017. Co-founder James Hedrick, Ph.D., was a graduate student of the lab and co-founder David Walker. , Ph.D., was a postdoctoral fellow. Together, they developed the Rapid Large Area Printing (HARP) technology that formed the basis of the Azul 3D technology stack. Today we are based in Skokie, Illinois.

3DPI: Can you tell us more about your team’s background and experience with AF?

CP: We have a diverse group of experiences that make up our team. We combine traditional manufacturing expertise with industrial 3D printing and add a little ingenuity and creativity to make the impossible possible.

The Azul 3D LAKE 3D printer. Photo via Azul 3D.

As CEO, I bring operations and product development leadership experience to manufacturing. Our Revenue Director, Tuan TranPham, has over 18 years of experience in additive manufacturing and has been recognized with the Distinguished Innovator Operators (DINO) award from the Additive Manufacturing Users Group. Our CFO, Shane Glenn, has over 16 years of experience in additive manufacturing. Members of our Board of Directors, John Hartner (CEO of metal additive manufacturing company ExOne) and Vince Anewenter (Director of the Rapid Prototyping Consortium at the Milwaukee School of Engineering) complement our experience in additive manufacturing.

The team draws on the scientific expertise of co-founders David Walker and James Hedrick. Together, our goal is to revolutionize manufacturing to deliver on the promises of 3D printing.

3DPI: What is your company doing?

CP: We offer our customers a complete solution to their manufacturing needs, partnering with them on design, materials, printing and post-processing. This fall we launched our first commercial product: the LAKE printer, which can print large, complex geometries at incredible speeds, using proprietary materials suitable for a wide range of products. LAKE’s unique interface dissipates heat, allowing continuous printing at high speed over large areas.

In addition to LAKE, our chemistry group designs proprietary resins that are strong, durable, customizable and compatible with high throughput printing in a wide range of material families.

3DPI: How does your company fit into the additive manufacturing ecosystem?

CP: Our technology helps manufacturers consolidate parts, create new geometries, secure digital inventory, support localized manufacturing, and design fully customizable products. Our printers, LAKE and future printers, will represent a new paradigm in the industry. We will be the go-to solution for manufacturers of industrial, consumer and automotive goods.

Azul 3D will bridge the gap between traditional additive manufacturing (prototyping, molds and tooling, and limited production runs) and traditional mass manufacturing of plastic products. Our technology and product portfolio address this unmet need in today’s manufacturing ecosystem.

3DPI: How would you describe your company’s roadmap for the years to come?

CP: We will continue to develop our material library to create a true continuum of materials through several families that can be printed with our printers. We will rapidly expand the capabilities of our printers to increase production throughput and increase the spectrum of parts that can be printed on our system.

3DPI: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

CP: Our technology bridges the fundamental gap in today’s market between prototyping and injection molding. Filling this gap is to take advantage of the inherent advantages of additive manufacturing while offering our customers the throughput, economy, quality of parts and diversity of materials that traditional manufacturing allows.

We believe that the new geometries enabled by additive manufacturing must be combined with bespoke materials to create a product ready for industrial and consumer use. We create fully customizable polymers that can be as flexible, stiff, soft or tough as needed, and can be formulated to exactly match colors and tints. We’re excited to show the world our material innovations.

Meet the winners of the Formnext Start-up Challenge 2021

If you are participating in Formnext, be sure to visit the start area (Hall 12.0, B81). The official award ceremony will take place on Tuesday 16 November 2021 from 3:00 p.m. on the AM4U stage of Formnext (Hall 11.0, E72).

The 3D printing industry will be in Frankfurt all week, so be sure to say hi if you see us!

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