From Commercial to Functional & Industrial Printing: MGI Acquires Ceradrop

Arianna Valentini
Oct 1, 2013

Recently, MGI, a French company known for its digital printing & finishing technologies, announced that it was going to acquire Ceradrop, a French company specializing in the printing of electronics and 3D microelectronic components. With this acquisition, MGI now enters the printed electronics market.

Founded by members of the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) as a spin-off project in 2006, the first Cera printer was sold in 2008. Since then, Ceradrop has developed ceramic and organic printed electronic materials in 2D and 3D. Many of the printed electronics that are produced using Ceradrop technology become parts of products such as flexible solar cells (OPV), OLED displays, smart cards, and antennas. Ceradrop currently serves aerospace, defense, energy and medical industries.

This strategic acquisition by MGI is part of an expansion strategy into adjacent markets and technologies.  The purchase of Ceradrop builds upon MGI’s existing portfolio. MGI’s current product line up already includes capabilities that allow for UV inkjet, dimensional, UV coating, and printing on plastic. Just like their acquisition of Köra-Packmat in 2012, which helped to the further MGI’s offerings around packaging and feeding systems, Ceradrop opens up the digitally printed electronics market to MGI.

The technology acquired from Ceradrop allows MGI to combine their skills in material transport, imaging, and now also microelectronics and develop new solutions for digitally printed electronics. According to IDTechEx, the worldwide printed electronics market was estimated to be worth $9.4 billion USD in 2012 and will continue to grow to $300 billion by 2030, MGI is now well positioned to make its mark on this industry.

MGI JETvarnish 3D

Ceradrop X Series Printer

With this acquisition, InfoTrends believes that MGI has positioned itself to enter a new market that is currently being served by companies, such as Applied Materials, Orbotech, Orc Imaging, MicroCraft, Screen, and others. With Ceradrop, MGI has the ability not only to become active in the printed electronics market, but also to bring to market a device that has the potential to combines their skills and intellectual property in two areas, digital printing and printed electronics, toward future innovations. An example of this could be integrated production of membranes and circuit boards used in many common devices such as appliances, industrial manufacturing devices. These traditionally have been two separate processes.  The graphic part of a membrane switch is usually printed, and then the circuit board underneath is created separately. Later, both of these components were combined together. Combining the two technologies could conceivably yield a solutions for printing the functional, graphics and circuitry in the same system.

This acquisition positions MGI for an expansion from the graphic arts towards the functional and industrial market. This expansion helps to reinforce InfoTrends’ observation that producer demands and innovations tend to migrate across markets. Solutions that initially had commercial success in the graphic communications market such as inkjet printing are migrating into primary packaging, decorative printing while development in material science enable the migration from document into functional to products as illustrated below.

Evolution of Material Science to Functional Industrial Printing

For more information on the research that InfoTrends is doing around functional and industrial printing, we encourage you visit the InfoTrends Functional & Industrial Printing Service web site.

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