MGI Digital Graphic Technology has announced the acquisition of 100% stake in CERADROP, a company specializing in the design and manufacturing of high-end professional inkjet printing systems for the printed electronics industry. With this operation, MGI Digital Graphic Technology positions itself in a new high growth market, where it will deploy the same innovation that has led to its current international success in the graphic arts industry.
CERADROP is a cutting-edge French company based in Limoges, France, founded in 2006, by members of the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique) the world-renowned laboratory, and in under just seven years has become the French leader in inkjet equipment for printed electronics market and the printing of 3D components.
A unique technology coupled with very specific inks, CERADROP has developed advanced equipment for printing both 2D and 3D-ceramic and organic electronic components with high added-value, such as antennas, OLED display screens, electronic chip cards, solar cells, RFID tags, printed batteries and biomedical sensors. These components can be printed onto a wide variety of materials such as glass, metals, polymers, plastics, paper and others to open up a wealth of applications that outperforms many conventional manufacturing processes.
CERADROP’s product lineup is capable of adapting to itself to print very complex component designs and overcome constraints linked to the type of materials being deposited via inkjet with an exclusive patented software suite. Ceradrop currently counts among their customers advanced scientific laboratories such as the CEA and Centre National d' Etudes Spatiales in Fraunhofer Germany, industrial groups such as Gemalto, DisaSolar and Thales, as well as American universities such as Northwestern.
Another important high growth market includes printed OLED displays for the industrial and third generation printed solar panels.
The equipment manufactured and marketed by CERADROP has been developed from applied research in the field of nanotechnology. CERADROP solutions are able to print from 50μ wide conductive track to multilayer ceramic components such as 3D-printing.
CERADROP counts on a team of 15 doctors, engineers and technicians and integrates the entire value chain at the Limoges site in France. The company is currently involved in several major research programs, illustrating its recognized technological expertise:
• SPrinTronics to equip Europeans players in the electronics and solar industry disruptive technology in areas such as medical, aerospace, digital security and electric vehicles;
• ASTRIJE managed by CEA on the implementation of printed fuel cells using inkjet printing;
• CerMJet developed with the DGA in the field of printed ceramic magnetic components;
The advantages of printed electronics over traditional methods are numerous: lower investments, mass customization, performance, integration of components on substrates of any size and complexity.
These benefits are at the heart of the projected market boom in printed electronics. According to IDTechEx market research, the market for printed electronics was estimated at $9.4 billion in 2012, and is forecasted to grow to more than $40 billion in 2020 and $300 billion by 2030.
In the 1990s, digital printing technologies shook the world of conventional offset printing processes in the graphic arts industry. A new revolution is now underway in the world of electronics with the launch of printed electronics and 3D printing.
The fusion of CERADROP’s advanced technologies and MGI’s hardware and software expertise will provide multi-material, high precision and scalable equipment to fit the needs of a new industry that is primed for massive growth. The technological expertise and know- how around inkjet printing housed at CERADROP will also have an immediate impact on MGI’s enhanced future product line.
From a manufacturing standpoint, CERADROP will benefit from significant purchasing synergies and industry expertise acquired by MGI over the years, especially when coupled with the 2011 acquisition of KÖRA-PACKMAT, German automation specialist, which reinforced MGI’s expertise in the fabrication of precision mechanical systems.
The final combination of these three different areas of expertise gives rise to a group which has all the necessary know-how needed to take full advantage of the announced revolution in printed electronics and 3D-printing.
"With the acquisition of CERADROP, a new promising area of growth emerges for the MGI Group,” Edmond Abergel, president of MGI Digital Graphic Technology, said. “Twenty years ago, we were pioneers in the world of digital printing for professionals in the graphic arts industry. Through our innovation and setting our sights since the very beginning on the international markets, we have become a recognized player in this market. Today, with the explosion of printed electronics and 3D-printing, new opportunities are available to us.
“Our technological advantages allow us to be a leader in this new business segment,” added Abergel. “With the team from CERADROP at our side, we can establish a center of excellence with exceptional and global expertise the field of inkjet. Integrating CERADROP will thus enable us not only to accelerate innovation in our current markets but also to position ourselves in these new markets for printed electronics and 3D-printing, which has been widely forecasted to become mass market in the next five years.”