Catch up with Beth Vasy, VP of Operations at Liquid X, as she discusses the evolution of Liquid X Printed Metals and the ever-changing Printed Electronics industry.
You have been with Liquid X since inception in 2010, how has the company evolved from that point to where it is now?
In 2010, the company was founded on the particle-free technology of one silver inkjet ink. Over the years, we have developed and refined, not only, other metal systems including alloys but also expanded beyond inkjet formulations into flexographic, gravure, extrusion, slot die and potentially screen inks. Because of our unique particle-free technology, we have been able to build a strong intellectual property portfolio which has begun to grant globally. Our focus now is to cultivate partnerships bringing new capabilities as we move from an ink supplier to a solution provider in functional electronics fabrication.
What changes have you seen in the Printed Electronics industry during your time at Liquid X?
Seven years ago when we started Liquid X, the printed electronics industry was nascent. Traditional applications were exploring solution based manufacturing. Today the industry is finally coming to maturity, and we are seeing more applications moving from prototype into production. We are partnering with manufacturers and academia to develop and print functional components. Bill Babe, Liquid X Sales and Marketing Manager, is actively building these worldwide partnerships to expand our capabilities and bring more applications to market.
From the initial particle-free ink formulation work the company was founded on, to actually developing prototypes of functional components for electronic devices, what has been the most exciting time at Liquid X that you have been part of?
As I mentioned, the printed electronics industry has taken longer than expected to mature. During this time, we have had to continually pivot while growing alongside the industry. I would have to say it is anytime that we have made a new discovery on the base technology or added a new capability whether through capital equipment, personnel additions or new partnerships. An example is that many applications within the industry began to require the use of low temperature substrates thus forcing Liquid X to develop and formulate a lower temperature cure ink. We explored alternative cure methods such as infrared and photonic curing systems, but ultimately, wanted to provide a lower thermally cured ink. Our current team of chemists (Chengeto, Robert and Christianna) have successfully developed new formulations that can be thermally cured on low temperature substrates and still meet our customers’ demanding performance requirements including low resistance, excellent adhesion and durable thin films.
When offered the opportunity to work at Liquid X, what was the main driver in your decision making process to join the company?
With my previous experience centering around the commercialization of new technologies and with my focus of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, joining Liquid X was a perfect fit. I was drawn to Liquid X since the underlying technology is unique and the market was just beginning to develop. Liquid X had also received strong backing from Newlin Investment Company who, not only provided capital, but also took an active role in strategic planning. We have continued to build a strong network of investors and strategic partners to accelerate our growth. I find that the path to developing a technology the market needs is an exciting challenge, but I also enjoy the operational side of my position that deals with intellectual property, investor relations and strategic planning.
For more about Beth, please visit our Team page.