Vorbeck’s Commercially Available Graphene Products
According to a report by IDTechX, electronic smart packaging devices, also known as “e-packaging,” will grow rapidly from $28 million in 2012 to $1.7 billion in 2022. Most of this growth will come from consumer packaged goods with 35 billion units having electronic functionality by 2022. One company with a graphene ink product looking to address this potential market is Vorbeck Materials.
About Vorbeck Materials
Founded in 2006, Maryland based Vorbeck Materials launched what they claim to be the world’s first commercial graphene-based product, Vor-ink™, in 2009. The Company has taken in just over $20 million so far from Fairbridge Venture Partners, Stoneham Partners, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Vorbeck’s patented graphene material was developed by University of Princeton chemical engineers Ilhan Aksay and Robert K. Prud’homme with which Vorbeck still collaborates with. Vorbeck is the first and only company to receive EPA approval for the commercial production and sale of graphene-based products.
Vor-x® is Vorbeck’s proprietary graphene material which is used in various Vor-ink™ formulations. Vor-ink™ is a graphene-based conductive ink that can be used for a large number of applications including printed electronics.
As of late 2012, Vorbeck had increased the annual production capacity of Vor-ink™ to over 40 tons. Vorbeck’s online store has various conductive graphene inks for sale ranging from $87.5 to $140 for 500 grams or 1.1 pounds. Taking an average price of $116 per ink can, at 40 tons capacity this would bring in revenues of $8.4 million per year for Vorbeck provided the entire inventory was sold.
Vorbeck partnered with MeadWestvaco Corp.(NYSE:MWV), a $6.5 billion global packaging company, to bring their first commercially available graphene product to market. The product is an anti-theft retail package product called Siren™, which is part of MWV’s Natralock™ product packaging line. The packaging design prevents theft or tampering by setting off an alarm on an individual package if it is torn open or upon attempted theft.
Vorbek’s Vor-ink™ provides the package with a sensor that can detect when the package has been moved, taken out of the building or cut open. According to an article in February of last year by GigaOm, Vorbeck’s Director of Development Christy Martin, stated that “graphene is cheap enough that it adds just a couple of pennies to the packaging cost. According to Packaging World, products with Natralock and Siren technology were launched on store shelves at major retailers including Home Depot in early 2012.
While being first to market with a graphene product may be a significant achievement, earning revenues with that product will be the most important accomplishment that will help validate how graphene adds value to Vorbeck’s products. Dupont offers a broad assortment of conductive inks for printed electronics including silver ink, conductive carbon ink, silver chloride ink, and dielectric ink. What advantage does Vor-ink have over the DuPont inks?
UK graphene company Haydale can produce 20 tons of their graphene ink product at the moment and is planning to raise up to $16.6 million via an IPO on the UK’s AIM. As soon as Haydale’s financials come available they should provide some good insight into whether or not HDPlas graphene conductive inks have a competitive advantage. Vorbeck no doubt will be watching the coming Haydale IPO very closely.
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