Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crane Acquires Nanotechnology Firm

You'll be seeing this news in fairly short order, so I thought this would be a good place to break it.

Crane has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Visual Physics, a subsidiary of Nanoventions, based in Atlanta, Ga. The transaction gives Crane exclusive control and management of MOTION® (the micro-optic security technology used in the manufacture of banknotes), and ownership of the entire suite of Unison® anti-counterfeiting technologies.

The Visual Physics acquisition represents a major step for Crane and its Currency Division, adding significantly to the services it offers its global clientele. Crane has made a string of substantial investments in recent years, including the purchase and complete refurbishment of the banknote paper-making facility in Tumba, Sweden in 2001 and the creation of the world’s most modern banknote design and printing facility at the same site in 2007.

“The strategic investment in this standard-setting technology for the future of banknote security is a strong symbol of our long-term commitment to the currency market,” said Charles Kittredge, Crane CEO. “It also demonstrates our determination to become the clear market-leader in banknote quality and innovation.”

Crane Currency pioneered the use of micro-optics in banknotes in 2006 with the introduction of the MOTION technology to create a unique and innovative range of security features. Crane’s research has found that micro-optic security features not only appeal to the public because of their striking and engaging optical effects, they also provide a new standard in counterfeit resistance.

According to Bill Westervelt, division president of Crane Currency, the acquisition of Visual Physics will enable Crane to control key proprietary technology, expertise, materials and intellectual property rights. “This means we can guarantee supply chain integrity and ensure that the range of security features emanating from the Unison and MOTION technologies will be controlled and managed by us,” he said. “By controlling the complete technology and supply chain, we can assure central banks and issuing authorities of absolute process, materials, and feature security and integrity.”

The central banks of the United States, Mexico, Sweden, Denmark and Paraguay have selected MOTION as their primary security feature both for new banknote designs and upgraded banknotes.

Here's how Doug Crane explained the new technology to Bob Siegel in an interview with National Public Radio last year. Doug is vice president and general manager of U.S. currency products, and is a seventh-generation Crane papermaker.

According to Brian Martin, president & CEO of Nanoventions, “Crane & Co., Nanoventions, and Visual Physics have enjoyed a very close working relationship since 2004. Crane’s global presence, combined with a leadership position in the banknote industry, will allow the controlled and strategic introduction of an entire suite of micro-optic and micro-structure technologies. The good news for our employees and the entire community is that Crane will maintain a presence in the Atlanta area. Additionally, the planned acquisition of Visual Physics represents a first step toward the realization of Nanoventions’ Corporate Vision. Nanoventions will continue to develop new technologies for use in other industries such as life sciences, solar, and telecommunications.”

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