Prof. Fritz Bircher
iPrint Institute - HES-SO Fribourg


Advanced manufacturing by inkjet


Inkjet is known for decades to be used in graphical applications. In recent time, the use of inkjet technology for functional applications as printed electronics, additive manufacturing and bio printing started to evolve into emerging markets of digital production. Alone or in hybrid combination with other digital manufacturing processes, it will play an important role in advanced manufacturing and digital production. Inkjet is digital by its nature offering the deposition of tiny droplets as single material units. With several print heads jetting different materials each, inkjet technology represents a digital 3D construction kit with very versatile potential. With the increasing offer of new materials, especially when they are developed for the use with inkjet, the technology becomes even more relevant for advanced manufacturing. One of the major challenges is the solidifying of the deposited multi material structures, where post-treatment is a key part of it and – when becoming digital as well – is opening up even broader opportunities.


Fritz Bircher studied electrical engineering at ETH Zurich. After graduating he worked as an R&D engineer for different companies developing mechatronic system solutions. In 1993 he was appointed professor at Berne University of Applied Sciences, where he started his research in inkjet printing, studying and exploring all possible jetting and dispensing principles with all kinds of materials in a wide range of applications. In 2012 he joined the School of Engineering and Architecture Fribourg, member of the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland, where he founded the iPrint Institute for Printing located on the Marly Innovation Center. Fritz’s main research interests based on inkjet printing include packaging printing, direct-to-shape printing, material printing including 3D printing and bio printing.

Fritz is the founder of the world’s most important inkjet training center in Marly. He is also at the origin of TheIJC – the international inkjet conference - held annually in Düsseldorf and Chicago, where he is the chair of the scientific committee.