Update: 3D Printing Media Network has learned that unlike previously speculated, and although linked by management, Copprint and Velo3D are not directly related. The previously mentioned, upcoming IMTS announcement concerns Velo3D only and it focuses on the company’s goal of disrupting metal additive manufacturing.
Speculation in this article is thus limited to Copprint’s own technology and the possibilities it may offer to 3D printing in future. Upcoming Velo3D technology will be discussed after the company’s website goes live next August 20th. Velo3D is a California-based, very well funded startup that has set for itself the goal of disrupting metal additive manufacturing. Although the company has been around for a few years, it has not yet presented a product.
On the other hand, Copprint – an Israeli startup that developed a unique type of printable copper ink – just added HP to Henkel as its newest large investor. It is no secret that HP – while listing Henkel as a material development partner and supplier for 3D printing – has been very outspoken about its interest in 3D printable embedded electronics.
Separate companies, separate technologies
Copprint is connected to Velo3D by the fact that Mr. Ofer Shochet, the founder and CEO at Copprint, is also a member of the board at Velo3D. However, 3D Printing Media Network has learned that no connection between the companies and their relative technologies exists today.
Nevertheless, Mr. Shochet does has extensive experience in additive manufacturing, having been Executive VP of products at Stratasys for five years (2009-2014). Contacted by 3D Printing Media Network, Mr. Shochet said that he “[We] cannot comment about our activities apart from what is on the website. Conductive copper ink – he added – was the holy grail in printed electronics for years and given our solution will become the basic building block for many applications.” He also added that “3D printed electronics requires conductive patterns similar to 2D printed electronics.”
Many clues make evidence
In 2017 Henkel – a partner of HP for 3D printing materials and global reseller of HP 3D printing systems – invested in Copprint to strengthen its expertise for printed electronics. “As a leading materials and solutions provider in the electronics business, printed electronics is one of our key search fields for innovations,” explained Paolo Bavaj, Head of Corporate Venturing at Henkel Adhesive Technologies. “Copprint has developed a superior copper-based ink technology that has the potential to replace silver-based ink methods and to enable new cost sensitive applications. We aim to closely collaborate and support Copprint to successfully access new markets.”
Copprint was founded in 2016 with the goal to disrupt the conductive ink market. The start-up has demonstrated that its copper ink can be applied in a simplified sintering process without oxidation. The technology has already achieved technical product qualifications for printed RFID antennas. Copprint’s printed RFID antennas on a paper substrate offer significant advantages in costs and sustainability compared to other existing methods Thus the novel technology has the potential to be used in a broad variety of applications such as next-generation photovoltaics, 3D printed electronics, RFID and NFC antennas, wearables and smart clothing.
Copprint’s founder and CTO, Michael Grouchko is a world expert in nano-conductive inks. Michael’s PhD thesis was on Conductive Nano-Silver ink. Based on his academic work, nano-silver ink was commercialized for Xjet Solar (which later moved into 3D printing and became XJet) and Nano-Dimension, a leader in electronics 3D printing.
Running with hypotheses
HP is involved and HP has announced a metal 3D printing technology. HP is also working on 3D printable embedded electronics. Could the two projects be related? Could HP have invested in Copprint for its polymer 3D printing technology?
Could Henkel become a supplier of 3D printable conductive copper nanoparticle inks for HP’s multijet fusion technology? Many of these questions will very much find their answers soon and we will be sure to keep you posted.