Scrona to bring ultra-precise electronics 3D printing technology to market after raising $9.6M

ETH Zurich Scrona AG has raised $ 9.6 million to develop a new high-resolution approach to electronic 3D printing devices.

Unlike conventional inkjet printing, the firm’s multi-nozzle electrostatic printing process uses a piezoelectric field generated directly behind the tip of the print nozzle to direct multiple materials onto submicron-precision substrates, potentially creating semiconductor PCBs. and displays 100 times the resolution than before.

With support for the A Series from AM Ventures, TRUMPF Venture, Verve Ventures and Manz Management Consulting and Investment, Scrona is now looking to “accelerate the industrialization” of its technology to bring it to market.

“Scrona allows customers to print the impossible in digital form – on any material, on a scale, improving speed, accuracy and cost of production,” said Dr. Patrick Halicker, CEO of Scrona. “We are delighted to be supported by this syndicate of expert investors who understand the destructive potential of Scrona’s scalable printing technology, which can reduce production steps tenfold and significantly reduce the use of materials, energy and water.”

Scrona technology can be capable of 3D printing everything from printed circuit boards to high-resolution displays. Photo via Magnascan, Pixabay.

Electrostatic printing with multiple nozzles

Although 3D printing in electronics has gone sharply in recent years, Skrona says existing technologies are still “facing limitations” when it comes to meeting the growing demand for multi-feature devices with small features. The company largely blames the shortcomings of current jet approaches in that they depend on a nozzle-based jet nozzle that allows only narrow droplets to be deposited.

To overcome this apparent shortcoming, Scrona has developed electrostatic printing with multiple nozzles, a process that instead uses a piezoelectric field to “pull” ink out of the nozzle. At the same time, the technology effectively focuses all the energy of the jet at the very tip of the nozzle, which allows ten times faster to apply small droplets with a resolution of up to 0.5 μm, layer by layer.

The company believes that as a result of further research and development, thousands of such sludges can be condensed into MEMS systems capable of applying metals, dielectrics, biomaterials and organic inks that existing processes simply cannot handle. The programmable nature of the microproduction technology behind these nozzles also allows them to be fully customized, giving them several potential applications.

“There is a huge potential for Scrona technology in additive manufacturing, because its technology allows you to process materials that today simply cannot be processed by other printheads,” said Johann Oberhofer, managing partner of AM Ventures. “The combination of superior separation and the ability to overcome the constraints around high-performance materials of ongoing processes is unique.”

“I expect Scrona technology to enable the use of completely new applications, and we are excited to accompany them on their journey along with a strong line of investors.”

Scrona 3D printing attachment integrated in the MEMS module.
Scrona believes that thousands of 3D printing nozzles can be integrated into thousands of MEMS systems. Image via Scrona.

Increase Scrona’s funding by $ 9.6 million

Much of Scrona’s recently raised funding came from a $ 6.7 million Series A funding round led by AM Ventures, a company with experience in helping emerging companies bring their technology to market. In the past, the firm has supported the now-sustainable DyeMansion industry and, by setting up a € 100 million venture fund last year, it continues to support startups across the sector.

Similarly, TRUMPF Venture is keen on new technologies, as it recently acquired TRUMPF SISMA, a joint venture it co-founded with SISMA in 2014 to hone the Laser Metal Fusion process, while the Swiss Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (or SERI) also supported Scrona, promising to provide the remaining $ 2.9 million in grants.

Using the capital raised through these investment channels, Scrona believes it will be able to bring its technology to market much faster and test its effectiveness in new applications such as the creation of micro-LED displays and AR glasses. Although the company has not set a deadline for its commercialization, it is reported that it is looking for cooperation with Tier 1 equipment manufacturers until 2024.

“A wide range of materials can be printed on an industrial scale using cost-effective Scrona technology,” adds Michael Blank, head of Verve Ventures investment group. “It’s a quantum leap for a wide range of industries from semiconductors to molecular printing in biotechnology.”

3D CU500 printer from Q5D Technology.
The potential of electronic 3D printers, such as Q5D Technology’s CU500, is increasingly attracting investors. Photo using Q5D technology.

A surge of interest in 3D printing electronics

Due to the fact that 3D printing is becoming a real alternative to the traditional process of electronics production, those who develop such technologies are also beginning to attract investors. Earlier this month, Q5D Technology provided $ 2.5 million in funding to support the development of the CU500 5-axis 3D printer and electronics.

Similarly, on the military front, BotFactory received funding from the U.S. Air Force to develop a fully automated 3D printer for desktop electronics. It is estimated that once the system is ready for 3D printing and assembly of printed circuit boards (printed circuit boards) on site and on demand, it can save millions of U.S. troops on procurement.

As one of the first leaders in the electronic 3D printing sector, Nano Dimension has also infused a huge amount of funding into research and development of related technologies. As part of one such initiative, in June 2021, the company co-founded JAMES for $ 6 million with HENSOLDT sensor specialist, which created a community of designers working to promote additive electronics (AME).

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The recommended image shows a set of integrated circuits. Photo via Magnascan, Pixabay.

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