Pioneering ink-jet press developer Inca has been snapped up by Screen.
The Japanese imaging giant has paid 30m for the Cambridge-based firm, a deal which positions it to access new markets including industrial printing and packaging.
"This is a highly strategic investment for us," said Screen chairman and president Akira Ishida. "The impact of digital ink-jet technologies on the conventional print market is accelerating and Inca's technology complements our digital imaging and printing products perfectly."
Screen also highlighted the firm's ink-jet expertise as being important to its semi-conductor and flat panel display products.
Inca will operate as a standalone division of the firm operating from Cambridge under the existing management team. Its existing partnerships with Fujifilm Sericol, which sells its flatbed machines, and Sun Chemical, with which it is developing the FastJet corrugated packaging press, will continue.
"I'm very happy to be with Screen, they're people like us, they're engineers," said Inca managing director Bill Baxter. "They also support our ideas for other things in industrial printers beyond corrugated...We're getting let loose on all those lovely techy things we love."
The deal was sealed in the middle of a landmark Fespa dominated by digital ink-jet developments, which included Inca showing its Spyder 320 high-quality 3.2x1.6m flatbed for the first time as well as launching a materials handling system for the Columbia Turbo, which it claimed boosted its productivity by a further 20%.
The system, which costs 90,000 consists of a manual loading table and automated unloading, which the firm said was the best compromise in terms of speed and cost.
Story by Barney Cox