3D micro-printing seems to be all the rage lately. After the acquisition of Nanofabrica by Nano Dimension, recent advances by BMF and, to an even lesser extent, the acquisition of Nanoscribe by BICO, μ-resolution 3D printing technologies are all the rage. AM Ventures, the AM-focused venture capital fund launched by industrial AM industry leader EOS, is not missing the opportunity to get in on this game, leading a 9 round of funding, $6 million Series A in Swiss micro 3D printing startup Scrona and its Electrostatic Multi-Nozzle Printing Technology – or EHD technology for those who like acronyms – for additive industrial microfabrication.
Scrona’s goal with EHD is to revolutionize ultra-high resolution 3D printing for a wide range of industries, such as semiconductor and display manufacturing by leveraging an iIndustry’s first multi-nozzle printhead that can scale down to 0.5μm for 100x higher resolution and deliver 10x higher throughput than its competitors mentioned above. This micro-version of material projection technology could lead to the printing of quantum dot RGB color filters for high-brightness color micro-LED displays in augmented reality glasses for gaming and other virtual applications.
“Scrona’s technology for additive manufacturing has enormous potential because it can process materials that simply cannot be processed with other printheads today,” said Johann Oberhofer, Managing Partner at AM ventures. “The combination of the highest resolution and the ability to overcome the high performance material limitations of today’s processes is unique. I expect Scrona’s technology to enable entirely new applications and we are happy to accompany them on their journey with a strong lineup of investors.
The Series A funding round for the Swiss startup, which among other things holds the world record for the smallest color image ever printed, was led by AM Ventures with union partners including TRUMPF Venture, Verve Ventures and Manz GmbH Management Consulting and Investment. The $9.6 million includes $6.7 million from Series A funding and $2.9 million from a grant from the Swiss Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation ( SERI). Scrona is the third Swiss startup in which AM Ventures has invested, after Sintratec (benchtop SLS) and Spectroplast (silicone stereolithography).
Dieter Kraft, Managing Director of TRUMPF Venture, added: “Scrona’s strong and complementary team has succeeded in creating disruptive technological innovation through the replacement of piezo printheads”.
Scrona has officially launched its EHD multi-nozzle electrostatic printhead for mass manufacturing to accelerate product invention in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way with sub-micrometer resolution. The new capital will allow Scrona to accelerate the industrialization and commercialization of this new printing technology and to develop new applications in multiple industries, including semiconductor manufacturing, high-end displays, electronics and PCBs. For example, the resolution and layer thickness control of Scrona’s technology enables the printing of quantum dot RGB color filters for high-brightness color micro-LED displays in augmented reality glasses for gaming and metaverse apps.
“A wide range of materials can be printed on an industrial scale with Scrona’s advantageous technology. This is a quantum leap for a wide range of industries, from semiconductors to molecular printing in biotechnology,” concluded Michael Blank, head of the investment team at Verve Ventures.
“Scrona enables customers to digitally print the impossible – on any material, at scale, improving the speed, accuracy and cost of manufacturing innovative products today and tomorrow,” said Dr. Patrick Galliker, co-founder and CEO of Scrona. “We are delighted to be backed by this syndicate of expert investors who understand the disruptive potential of Scrona’s scalable printing technology, which has the ability to reduce manufacturing steps by 10x, while dramatically reducing consumption. materials, energy and water. ”
The technology is based on the principle of electrostatic ejection which provides very fine printing and jetting at the submicron scale, while allowing the adoption of various ink materials, such as metals, dielectrics, organics and biomaterials, with inks more than 100 times more resistant. viscous than those compatible with conventional inkjet printheads, providing flexibility and cost efficiency in manufacturing. Until now, printing inks with different properties from a single printhead at high resolution and throughput was not possible.
In summary, Scrona’s EHD technology enables simultaneous printing from a wide range of nozzles, with the following advantages over conventional inkjet:
- Ultra-high resolution printing – 100 times higher resolution
- High speed printing – 10 times higher ejection frequency
- Smaller droplets not only for greater precision but also for faster drying
- 3D printing. Aspect ratios > 10:1 possible, nanometer layer thickness control
- Customization of the MEMS printhead, dynamically and fully programmable
- Nozzle clogging prevention with exclusive Environmental Control System (ECS)