iPrint was founded in 2013 by Professor Fritz Bircher, an electrical engineer from ETH Zurich. The institute is part of the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg (HEIA-FR), which is itself a member of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO). With funding from the HEIA-FR and a substantial grant from the Ursula Wirz Foundation, iPrint started its applied research activities in the field of printing by studying and exploring all possible jetting and dispensing principles.
Focusing on inkjet technology, iPrint was able from the very beginning to successfully conduct research projects on national and international levels as well as many feasibility studies. These activities covered a very broad spectrum of materials for a wide range of printing applications. Acknowledging the fact that today’s inkjet technology still has some limitations, iPrint started work on the development of innovative technologies, under the lead of Yoshinori Domae.
The institute managed to build an excellent team and quickly grew into an internationally recognized institution. With the constant need to have more space for new laboratories and research facilities, iPrint changed locations twiceuntil it finally found a home at the Marly Innovation Center in 2017, where it currently occupies a 1’500 m2 building.
It is worth mentioning that this site has a long and successful history in connection with the printing industry (see MIC history). As far back as the Middle Ages, people were using the hydraulic power of the Gérine river, which flows just behind iPrint’s building, to manufacture paper. Nearby, the city of Fribourg itself played an important role for the printing industry in Switzerland. In the 20th century, CIBA created its R&D center for the photographic domain on the site where iPrint is today. Ilford Ltd continued the R&D and production activities for photographic papers and films. Important innovations took place during these years in Marly, as for instance the Ferrari red pigment, the famous Cibachrome and Ilfochrome photographic films, or the resin for 3D printing. Today, several other companies related to the printing industry are located at the Marly Innovation Center. We are proud to be writing the next chapter in the history of printing on this site.