AM Ventures invests in micro 3D printing startup Scrona AG
EOS's venture fund leads $9.6 million round for micro material jetting EHD technology
Micro 3D printing seems to be all the rage lately. After Nano Dimension’s acquisition of Nanofabrica, BMF’s recent advancements and – to an even smaller degree – BICO’s acquisition of Nanoscribe, μ-resolution 3D printing technologies are hot. AM Ventures, the AM-centric venture fund launched by industrial AM industry leader EOS is not missing the opportunity to get involved in this game, by leading a $9.6 million in Series A funding round in the Swiss micro 3D printing startup Scrona and its Electrostatic Multi-Nozzle Printing Technology – or EHD technology for those of us 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 leveraging an industry-first multi-nozzle printhead that can reportedly scale to 0.5 μm for 100X higher resolution and offer 10X higher throughput than its above-mentioned competition. This micro-version of material jetting technology could lead to the printing of quantum dot RGB color filters for high-brightness, full-color micro-LED displays in augmented reality glasses for gaming and other virtual applications.
“There is enormous potential in Scrona’s technology for additive manufacturing because it can process materials that are simply not processable with other printheads today, “ said Johann Oberhofer, Managing Partner at AM Ventures. “The combination of the highest resolution and the ability to overcome restrictions around high-performance materials of current processes is unique. I expect that Scrona’s technology will enable completely new applications and we are glad to accompany them on their journey together with a strong investor line-up.”
The Series A financing round for the Swiss startup, which among other things holds the world record for the smallest color picture ever printed, was led by AM Ventures with syndicate 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 by the Swiss Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). Scrona is the third Swiss startup that AM Ventures has invested in, after Sintratec (benchtop SLS) and Spectroplast (silicone stereolithography).
Dieter Kraft, Managing Director at TRUMPF Venture, added: “Scrona’s solid and complementary team managed to create a breakthrough technological innovation via the replacement of the piezo print heads.”
Scrona officially released its EHD multi-nozzle electrostatic printhead for mass manufacturing to speed product invention in an economical and eco-friendly way, with resolution in the sub-micrometer range. The new capital will allow Scrona to accelerate the industrialization and commercialization of this novel printing technology and develop new applications across multiple industries including semiconductor manufacturing, high-end displays, electronics, and PCB. For example, the resolution and layer thickness control of Scrona’s technology enables printing of quantum dot RGB color filters for high-brightness, full-color micro-LED displays in augmented reality glasses for gaming and metaverse applications.
“A broad spectrum of materials can be printed at 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 Verve Ventures’ investment team.
“Scrona is enabling customers to digitally print the impossible – on any material, at scale, improving the speed, accuracy and cost of manufacturing today and tomorrow’s innovative products,” said Dr. Patrick Galliker, co-founder and CEO of Scrona. “We are very excited to be supported 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 10-fold, while also significantly reducing material, energy and water usage. ”
The technology is based on the electrostatic ejection principle which provides very fine, submicron- scale printing and jetting, while allowing the adoption of various ink materials—such as metals, dielectrics, organic, and biomaterials, with inks that are more than 100 times more viscous than those compatible with conventional inkjet printheads, delivering flexibility and cost-effectiveness in manufacturing. Until now, the printing of inks with unlike properties from one and the same printhead with high resolution and throughput has not been possible.
To summarize, Scrona’s EHD technology enables simultaneous printing from a large nozzle array, with the following advantages compared to conventional inkjet:
- Ultra-high-resolution printing – 100x higher resolution
- High-speed printing – 10x higher ejection frequency
- Smaller droplets not only for higher precision but also for fast drying
- 3D printing. Aspect ratios >10:1 possible, nanometer layer thickness control
- MEMS printhead customization, dynamically and fully programmable
- Prevention of nozzle clogging by proprietary Environmental Control System (ECS)