iPrint was founded in 2013 by Professor Fritz Bircher, electrical engineer from ETH Zurich. It is part of the School of Engineering and Architecture Fribourg (HEIA-FR) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO). Benefitting a support from HEIA-FR and a substantial fund from the Ursula Wirz Foundation, iPrint started its applied research in printing processes studying and exploring all possible jetting and dispensing principles.
With a focus on inkjet technology, iPrint successfully conducted from the very beginning government funded research projects on national and international levels as well as many feasibility studies, printing a very broad spectrum of materials for a wide range of applications.
The institute managed to build an excellent team and very fast grew into an internationally recognized institution. With the need of developing more space for new laboratories and research facilities, it moved twice ending up finally at the Marly Innovation Center in 2017, where it is installed currently on 1’500 m2.
It is worth mentioning that this site has a long and successful history related to the printing industry (see also MIC history). Already in the middle age, people were using the hydraulic power of the Gerine river, flowing 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 then 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 photographic films Cibachrome and Ilfochrome 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 continue writing the printing history of this site.