Azul 3D adds ExOne CEO John Hartner & former GEICO executive Louis A. Simspon to Board of Directors

Azul 3D has announced 3D printing veteran John Hartner and renowned investor Louis A. Simpson are to join to its Board of Directors.

The pair have joined the likes of Wally Loewenbaum, former chairperson of 3D Systems; Joe Allison, former CEO of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing; and Hugh Evens, former Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for 3D Systems in investing in Azul 3D and will now advise the company as it prepares to enter its beta phase in 2021.

Simpson’s backing of Azul 3D came in the latest wave of investment that helped the company reach $12.5m in seed financing last month. He has prior board room experience at GEICO, being named Vice Chairman in 1985 after joining the company in 1979 as Senior Vice President and CIO. He retired in 2010 while President and CEO of capital operations of the company and spent time earlier in his career as President and CEO of Western Asset Management, as a partner at Princeton University and adjunct professor of finance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He joins the Azul Board with a pre-existing relationship with co-founder and Chair of the Board Chad Mirkin and a new-found confidence in the 3D printing market.

“I’m very excited to join the board of Azul 3D,” Simpson said. “After many false starts, the 3D printing market is on the verge of taking off. I’ve known Chad Mirkin for many years and have the utmost respect for his ability as one of the founders of this company.”

Hartner, meanwhile, has a more longstanding confidence in 3D printing as the current ExOne CEO and former COO of EnvisionTEC. He has more than 30 years’ worth of experience in automation, capital equipment and digital printing, and has a ‘career goal’ of ‘making 3D printing mainstream to help drive the next industrial revolution.’

“This is the first polymer additive manufacturing platform that has the scale, speed and material palette to truly move 3D printing into scale production,” commented Hartner. “It opens up countless new applications that are impossible with traditional technologies. I’m excited to advise a talented team to leverage this breakthrough technology for production customers around the world.”

Azul 3D is a Chicago-based 3D printing vendor, bringing to market a technology called High Area Rapid Printing (HARP). HARP is based on a continuous stereolithography process that uses a mobile liquid interface to reduce the adhesive forces between the interface and the part being printed. The technology was initially developed at Northwestern University with Azul hoping to commercialise the process by the end of next year, with a BETA phase set to commence in Q1 of 2021. 

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