3D Printing

Aurora Labs goes public and delves into 3D printing in agriculture

After first releasing competitively low cost 3D printers and then teasing audiences with a potentially larger printing system which wold use novel technologies, Aurora Labs is now suggesting that their printers could have practical applications in the agriculture industry. Coupled with the latest news of the company’s listing on the ASX on Tuesday morning, Aurora Labs seems to be accelerating towards a dominating position in their field.

Private to public means wider applications

Perth-based Aurora Labs raised an impressive $2.8 million through an IPO, opened at 54 cents on its first day of trading and closed at 70 cents. The startup’s jump from the private to public sector means big opportunities on the horizon. Specifically, in industry applications they propose that their metal 3D printers would offer agriculture players the opportunity to print parts on demand when the supply chain is limited – as it often is in the rural and remote areas where most agribusiness takes place.

Below is a video in which University of Western Australia student Samuel Peasly gives a simple walkthrough of how to use the university’s onsite 3D metal printer. “It’s not too hard to use,” said Peasly as he gave the demonstration.

According to a recent interview with University of Western Australia professor Tim Sercombe, who has been working closely with Aurora Labs as they develop their printers, “The skill set that farmers have in the machinery and the mechanical side of things will lend itself very nicely to operate the [Aurora Labs] machine.” As seen in the demonstration video, the learning curve for these kinds of machines is not very high, allowing for easy application for those who possess minimal skills in the area.

Can this solve key issues in the industry?

Aurora Labs’ printers have the ability to print using DED (directed energy deposition) processes with metals such as aluminum, titanium and stainless steel. As metals are readily accessible, this can potentially solve key logistic issues in the agricultural sector, giving farmers the opportunity to directly take control of their own supply chain when necessary.

Additionally, the implications of Aurora Labs’ printers in agribusiness go even further when one considers what this means for food security. Once farmers are guaranteed a way to ensure the stability of their business, food markets would be granted the potential to provide sustainable food sources on a global scale. If this is the case, we’ll be sure to keep tabs on how Aurora Labs plans to further implement their machines into the agriculture industry.

Featured Image courtesy of Tyne Logan for ABC Rural