Microlight3D, a specialty manufacturer of ultra hi-resolution 3D-microprinting systems for industrial and scientific applications, today announces the acquisition of French firm Smart Force Technologies (SFT), an award-winning manufacturer of a maskless lithography system for micro-scale 2D-printing and a spin-off from LTM, a leading French research center focused on miniaturizing micro- and nano-electronics devices.
The addition of SFT allows Microlight3D, whose 3D printing systems create objects with a resolution 100x smaller than a strand of hair, to extend its product portfolio to include 2D microprinting. It also enlarges Microlight3D’s capacity to address new needs of customers in microfluidics, microoptics, microsensors and microelectronics.
“Microlight3D’s acquisition of Smart Force Technologies is an ideal fit. We gain expertise in high-resolution 2D-printing, that, combined with our 3D microprinting know-how, will lead us to develop new micro-fabrication systems,” said Denis Barbier, CEO of Microlight3D. “These future 2D-3D microprinting systems will respond to customer needs for faster, larger and more complex printing capabilities. Microlight3D is now in a stronger position to support a range of customer developments in the life sciences and increasingly in industrial applications.”
Microfluidics applications are examples where researchers who wish to 3D-print micro-channels, as well as produce some micro-features directly inside of these channels, will be able to do so using a single piece of equipment. The channels can be printed using the maskless lithography technology, while the micro-features require 3D printing technology. The advantage of using a single piece of equipment is that it improves accuracy and the ability to create more sophisticated devices.
“SFT is delighted to merge with Microlight3D, whose 3D microprinting technology based on two-photon polymerization is opening up new possibilities in science and industry,” said Julien Cordiero, CEO and co-founder of SFT. “By adding our 2D microstructuring technology to Microlight3D’s portfolio means that customers who are seeking new ways to solve design challenges can greatly benefit from the quality and efficiency of sourcing from a single supplier."
Microlight3D has acquired 100 per cent shares in SFT. This covers SFT’s headcount of three, a highly competent team, whose technical and commercial skills will strengthen the company’s R&D capacities, while facilitating sales and future growth. It includes SFT’s flagship product SmartPrint, an innovative maskless lithography system, and other techniques and IP.
Prior to the merger, Microlight3D and SFT previously worked together on providing combined 3D and 2D micron-scale printing solutions. With the help of a joint shareholder, SATT Linksium in Grenoble, France, the two teams decided to merge operations. Since its founding in late 2016, Microlight3D has self-financed its operations. Microlight3D, which has already sold systems in Europe, Asia and America, anticipates selling more than 15 systems this year.