Nuburu awarded US Air Force contract to develop blue laser 3D printer

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Blue diode laser manufacturer Nuburu has been awarded a research contract by the US Air Force to develop an additive manufacturing solution with area printing technology.

The goal of the one-year project is to demonstrate a metal 3D printer with exceptional speed and accuracy based on Nuburu’s blue laser technology. 

According to the firm, this new class of 3D printer will aim to offer micron-level resolution, exceptional part size, metal density, and build speed, with minimal to zero post-processing and part shrinkage.

'We are honoured to bring the power of blue laser technology and next-generation 3D printing capabilities to the United States military through this contract,' said Dr Mark Zediker, CEO, co-founder and president of Nuburu. 'By combining the absorption advantages of blue lasers with area printing technology, we aim to create larger scale 3D printers that can offer up to 100x the printing speed of an infrared laser-based printer with full metal density. If we are successful, this could allow the military to build replacement parts for older aircraft that have been obsoleted by the original suppliers and can otherwise take months to procure. This would greatly diminish the time required to build and replace critical components and would allow aircraft to return to operational readiness more quickly.'

‘Nuburu has already pioneered metal welding applications within batteries, e-mobility and consumer electronics, and we are excited to continue expanding our capabilities into metal 3D printing, all with the same powerful blue laser technology,' said Ron Nicol, executive chairman of Nuburu. ‘This project will help to bring area printing, with its high throughput capabilities and cost advantages, to key markets such as aerospace, automotive and more.'

The awarded contract is an AFWERX Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract, with AFWERX being an innovation arm of the US Air Force that accelerates agile and affordable capability transitions by pairing innovative technology developers with airman and guardian (US Space-Force personnel) talent.

Nuburu to go public as a $350m company

Nuburu, founded in 2015, also recently announced that it plans to go public via a merger with Tailwind Acquisition Corp – a special purpose acquisition company.

Upon the completion of the transaction, which is expected to happen early next year,  the combined company will be named Nuburu, Inc. and will trade under the ticker symbol ‘BURU’.

The firm will initially be valued at $350 million, at a price of $10 per common share.

The combined company will continue to be based in Centennial, Colorado, and led by Zediker and other key executive leadership.

'As electrification and advances in manufacturing drive growth in our target markets, this capital infusion is intended to provide continued momentum for Nuburu,' said Zediker. 'Looking ahead, we are focused on growing our customer base, expanding our distribution channels, accelerating development of our ultra-high brightness product family and scaling our manufacturing operations to meet demand globally. Our partnership with TWND is expected to accelerate our expansion plans to allow us to benefit from a position of strength in the public markets.'

'Our goal at TWND is to partner with a founder-led company that has a large addressable market and is positioned for rapid and sustainable long-term growth based on its technology, innovation and industry leadership,' said Chris Hollod, CEO of TWND. 'We are pleased to have the opportunity to join forces with Nuburu, a business offering solutions in metal processing that are critical to 3D printing, aerospace, consumer electronics, and e-mobility in the same way that picks and shovels were critical to the gold rush. Mark is a visionary CEO who is pioneering innovation to expand Nuburu’s transformative laser technology for a broad, leading-edge range of applications and industries.'

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