What is it that CERADROP manufactures?
We design Materials Deposition Digital Printers exclusively for Printed Electronics Industry and Smart 3D Printing. Based on a modular concept, CeraPrinter Series models present new opportunities of new products into the Printed Electronics market. Combining several materials deposition technologies Inkjet and Aerosol Jet® as well as the latest generation of curing modules, this equipment line reaches a wide range of application fields such as: membrane switch, antennas, sensors, passive components, interconnection, flexible solar cells (OPV), OLED Displays and others.
How long has CERADROP been in business?
We were established in 2006 so this year is our 10 year anniversary. This is a milestone, especially for functional inkjet!
Has the company changed much over the years?
We have many more customers today than we used to. Today we have 50 or so around the world and we became a subsidiary of MGI Group 3 years ago which has added more value into our business and enhanced our service.
Who is MGI Group?
The MGI Group is composed of MGI Digital Technology, headquartered in Fresnes, France, CERADROP, located in Limoges, France and KÖRA-PACKMAT, located in Villingendorf, Germany. Founded in 1982, MGI Digital Technology designs, manufactures and markets a full and innovative range of award-winning digital presses and finishing solutions.
So how has the MGI acquisition helped CERADROP develop?
For a start it adds resources to the business. We now have more than 60 engineers specialized in inkjet engine, mechanics, automation, software, chemistry, and ink management to supply the best materials deposition digital printing solution from advanced R&D up to 24/7 high performance manufacturing.
Additionally we have now become truly global as we have a network in 70 countries with 50 representatives. In 2015, we have 75% of our turnover from export which means that we are able to service and support customers worldwide which we think is essential for global businesses.
Printed electronics is mostly screen printed, so is inkjet still at an early stage?
Traditionally screen printing has dominated most printed electronics applications. But Inkjet has a great role to play here too. For example, the users of our digital technology highlight lots of advantages in terms of flexibility, reliability, accuracy, repeatability and materials costs saving for cutting-edge applications. Inkjet has a great future.
How are the components used?
They are used in specialised areas. For example RFID, flexible photovoltaics, OLED, printed memory’s, photo detectors, interconnection, ceramic thick films, ceramic capacitors and also magnetic components, fuel cells, etc. The processes can cover lots of applications but it is all about functional components that work within different electronic devices.
It sounds very scientific, so is the technology used for speciality research and development?
Yes our machines are dedicated for advanced research but they are also used for small batch production. So they are deployed within manufacturing but for smaller runs of high-added value products. And of course, they can be scaled up to high throughput 24/7 manufacturing equipment range.
Do you see growth here?
Yes anything that gives customers an advantage to develop new ideas is of course popular and growing. Research and development will also be a key area for any manufacturing business particularly within advanced technology so we expect to see continued growth here. We also see development in this space where labs are developing as well as industrial centres.
What new applications do you see developing?
We see the development of smart packaging for intelligent packaging as this type of print production process can print chip less antenna integrated into the design of the package. This gives manufacturers the chance to intelligently track their products but also to communicate with the customer. As the world continues to embrace smart technology we are sure this will only grow.
This kind of technology has a lot of potential for marketing. In the smart package the manufacturer can integrate a video code, and the customer can see what is inside. Also used for anti-theft devices to protect the product from counterfeiting. We see growth thanks to the smartphone by scanning the code and it makes a much more beautiful design compared with the QR code. It looks great, especially for luxury products.
Do you see this technology being used by packaging converters or the brands themselves?
This really depends on whether the brand has an in house manufacturing department. It is certainly of interest to the brands to be honest and for some forward thinking packaging converters as this provides them with something revolutionary to offer their customers.
What do you see in the future will grow in demand for your technology?
I think we will continue to see the growth of Smart 3-D Printing. What is smart 3-D printing? This is where we will see devices printed with multi-material functional inks in a smart device which may well fit inside eyewear, watches, and very clever, functional, smart interconnected, smart wear. As we continue to evolve this technology, smart technology can be created to fit anything and as such the potential to integrate further into our lives. Our technology enables this and as such we see a very positive future as demand and knowledge of what is possible continues to develop.