A firm with one of graphic electronics’ longest heritages has merged with its long-time collaborator.
FFEI – which started life as colour scanner inventor Crosfield Electronics – has been bought by inkjet technology group Xaar for a reported GBP£9.1 million (A$16.9 million).
The deal includes an initial £3.7 million with £5.4 million more over three years.
Based in Hemel Hempstead, UK, FFEI became an integrator and manufacturer of industrial digital inkjet systems and digital life science technology. It was founded in 1947 John Crosfield and Dennis Bent, and earned fame in 1958 for the first drum scanners, launching the Magnascan (pictured) ten years later. It introduced a ground-breaking electronic page composition system in 1975.
Crosfield also developed the Autotron register control for insetting preprinted newspaper webs – advertising the product in 1949 – as well as pioneering systems for phototypesetting, colour registration and density control.
A joint venture between then owners DuPont and Fujifilm in 1989 was followed by the 2006 MBO by Andy Cook, Julian Payne and Bob Wilson as FFEI.
A 2015 collaboration with Xaar created the company’s print bar system.
In a statement, Xaar said the deal would accelerate its existing growth strategy, enabling it to “capture additional opportunities in vertically integrated solutions”.
“This additional capability will enable our customers to reduce their development timescales and shorten their time to market.
FFEI generated revenue of £9.9 million in the year just past, with an operating margin of nine per cent. It employs more than 60 people who will remain with the business.
Xaar chief executive John Mills says he has known the FFEI team personally for many years and has “long admired” their capabilities.
FFEI chief executive Andy Cook says becoming part of Xaar represents “a fantastic opportunity for the business to develop and grow” with a long-term market leader “with great technology and great people”.