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EFI sees opportunities with addition of Polymeric Imaging's digital thermoformable IP: hires key Polymeric Imaging employees responsible for technical and market development of digital ink and coatings.

Thermoforming is an area that is drawing some interest from printers and ink manufacturers alike. The ability to print a product that can then be formed by heat into the required shape can be advantageous for the end user. The key is developing leading-edge ink durability and flexibility for thermoforming and high-elongation applications.

EFI has been active in this field recently, adding thermoformable capabilities to its VUTEk printers. In a move that will add more momentum to its efforts to grow its thermoformable business, EFI acquired important intellectual property (IP) assets for digital inkjet printing of thermoformed products from Polymeric Imaging.

In addition to acquiring the IP, EFI reported that it has hired key Polymeric Imaging employees responsible for technical and market development of digital ink and coating products.

Polymeric Imaging is best known for its UV and LED inks for industrial and graphic arts applications. Aside from the digital thermoformable inks, Polymeric Imaging offers ThermoForm TF an extremely flexible UV curable screen printing ink specially formulated for printing plastics used in vacuum forming.

"They are more advanced in this technology than anyone in the field," said Stephen Emery, vice president of EFI's ink business, adding that EFI had previously been reselling Polymeric Imaging's digital thermoformable inks. "We want to continue to innovate."

Emery noted that the opportunity to utilize Polymeric Imaging's IP will be a boost for EFI.

"We see thermoformable printing as a growth opportunity, a niche we haven't focused on," Emery said. "The technology we are acquiring will allow EFI to continue expanding our efficient, high-quality inkjet platforms into new markets. This acquisition will allow us to make gains. We will also leverage this technology to develop other new inks as well, and bring this over to LED curing.

"There are quite a few interesting markets for thermoformable products, including automotive and architectural applications, "just about anywhere there is a formed component that has been screenprinted," Emery noted. "There are certain manufactured components that have to be thermoformed."

By David Savastano, Editor

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Title Annotation:fresh INK
Author:Savastano, David
Publication:Ink World
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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