Aug 18, 2016 | By Alec

3D printing is becoming huge in Australia. Though not exactly known as a 3D printing hotspot a few years ago, in part thanks to shipping limitations, the country is quickly catching up. Among others, Aussie researchers are at the forefront of 3D bioprinting innovation (with the Aussie government supporting those efforts with a forthcoming research center), while Australian industries have become an important target for 3D printing companies as well. But it’s not just about importation, as Aussie 3D printing specialists are also making a name for themselves. This is perfectly illustrated by Aurora Labs, who commenced its first day of trading on the ASX on Aug 16, raising $2.8m AUD in its initial public offering.

This is not that surprising, as Aurora Labs has been a bright light in the Australian metal 3D printing sector since its foundation. Based in Perth, Western Australia, they have been working on a very promising large-format and hugely fast metal 3D printing system for some time now – which even caught NASA’s eye about a year ago. The company itself was started when CEO and co-founder David Budge was tinkering with rocket systems. “The company started two years ago when some friends and I were building rocket motors and we decided to make a 3D metal printer,” Budge explains. “After that I said to co-founders Jess Snelling and Wil Crisp, ‘would you guys be interested in creating a start-up company’, and they said yes.” Fast forward two years, and they’re ready to take over the global metal 3D printing market.

What’s more, they are receiving a lot of attention. According to Budge, NASA is just one of many companies who have expressed interest in using the company’s 3D metal printing technology – including rocketry startups (with an eye on micro-satellites, rocket engines and rocket vehicles) and mining companies. Aurora Labs’ appeal, he says, comes from the fact that their system is both cheaper (less than $50,000 US) and much faster than competing hardware. “And the world market in metal 3D printing has heated up significantly from our perspective,” he said. “I think that’s been shown in the strong interest we’re getting. We consider this a world’s best product now.”

While the company has only just completed their beta testing phase, their confidence is reflected by their move to the ASX stock market earlier this week. And there, they were a quite a big success. 14 million shares were offered during the initial public offering (IPO), with a prospectus price of 20 cents. Opening at 54 cents per share, the value dropped to a low of 44 cent before closing at 49.5. Through this IPO, they managed to raise $2.8m AUD – much to the surprise of Budge who has a 43 per cent stake in the company. "We did investigate other avenues for raising capital which were not successful so we decided to go down the IPO route to successfully raise capital as a small company of Australia," he says. "Certainly everyone was very surprised at how well it has done. I think we have a very interesting production and an enormous blue sky as far as the company is concerned."

This could mean that a very bright future is ahead of them. Aurora Labs is currently valued at about $4.8 million AUD, and enjoy a lot of interest from clients as far away as US universities. Not bad for a company that won’t go into production until the end of this year. So far, the company has only built nine machines (with the final models retailing for under $50,000 US), but Aurora Labs is clearly ready for a huge step forward.

 

 

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Andrew Holden wrote at 11/28/2016 3:00:33 PM:

David Budge, I read your company web site and your article in the Western Australian couple of weeks ago, well done. I am restoring a 1963 NSU PRINZ 3 sedan and the front emblem is damaged at one end and I am wondering if 3D metal printing can fab me a new one, only other option is trying to get a second hand one from Germany. If your company reply's to my email I will email photo and give the diamentions of chrome ornament strip.It's not bulky or large. Kind reghards Andrew Holden andola@bigpond.com 0438 983 013 Retired Engineer.

smarter lol wrote at 8/21/2016 11:39:25 PM:

Buy!

lol wrote at 8/19/2016 3:03:21 AM:

short!



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