Big Picture - March 2017 - 30
MILLIONS OF DOLL ARS
Comparing Ink Technologies
the company's LUS-350 UV inks that the company launched at
last year's SGIA show can be elongated 350 percent. Similarly,
EFI has invested in the large-format UV-curable inkjet ink
market in North America, which is expected to grow from $330
million in 2015 to more than $710 million in 2020. One area that
we'll be watching closely in 2017 is Canon's announcement of
its UVgel ink. The early presentations of this new technology
indicated that it would be a competitor to HP's Latex series.
printers for dye sublimation. But most of these are low-end
systems that typically require separate finishing systems such
as an unwinder/rewinder, heat press, and calendering devices.
The dye sublimation market is impacted by one of the major
market trends toward fast fashion. Large retail organizations
built around the fast fashion trend, such as H&M, Zara, and
Uniqlo, are driving a transformation in the textile and garment
supply chain that is resulting in higher volumes of digital textile
printing. What's pretty exciting now is the range of machines
that have come to market that are designed for one-step dye
sublimation printing. IDC expects these production systems to
drive much higher volumes of dye sublimation inkjet printing
over the next few years, and that the large-format dye sublimation inkjet ink market will basically double over the forecast
period, from more than $190 million to more than $320 million
by 2021. Within that growth, those high-speed digital textile
printing systems in North America are expected to grow at a
rate nearly twice as fast as the rest of the dye sub market.
Similar to the eco-solvent segment, there's quite an active set of
third-party ink manufacturers in the dye sublimation business.
The digital graphics market is obviously changing, and the
ability to turn jobs around quickly is one of the biggest reasons
IDC expects UV-curable inkjet to play a big role going forward.
Within the large-format UV market there is a trend towards
LED curing, which provides several key advantages. LED
curing produces less heat, which means a wider variety of
substrates can be printed on, including thinner materials, which
have been challenging for traditional mercury curing systems.
IDC expects LED curing inks to grow about four times faster
than conventional mercury curing inks from 2016 to 2021. The
use of thinner materials saves PSPs money, as does the lower
cost of powering LED curing systems. The UV inkjet ink
market is very interesting because there is a growing set of
products that are developed to accommodate the flexible
media market. Just as an example, according to Ken VanHorn,
director of marketing and business development for Mimaki,
Whereas we're expecting continued growth of UV-curable
inkjet ink in the graphics market, there's an adjacent market
that's just getting started for high-speed inkjet printing in
packaging. There are two types of inks used in these types of
printers: One is water-based, and the other is a hybrid ink that's
water-based but also has a photo-initiator component similar to
UV-curable inkjet inks. As of drupa, Durst, EFI, HP, and others
have launched high-speed inkjet printers aimed at the corrugated packaging segment, joining previously announced systems
from companies like Bobst and Sun. These high-speed systems
are in some early stages, but they're expected to produce tens
of thousands of square feet of print on a daily basis, creating
another segment for inkjet inks printed across a wide array.
Several companies are working on low-migration UV-curable
inkjet inks, but generally it's fair to say that the market would
prefer a water-based ink for packaging, especially for production of packaging applications where food is involved. IDC is
projecting the ink in this category of equipment to grow from
almost nothing in 2016 to more than $15 million by 2020.
In the large-format digital printing market, the single biggest
ink segment from a revenue standpoint is the aqueous ink
market. Aqueous ink, utilized in HP DesignJet, Epson Stylus
Pro, and Canon imageProGraf printers, was valued at more
than $675 million in 2015 and is expected to grow modestly:
less than 1 percent per year over the forecast period. That
growth, which is driven by the emergence of single-pass
aqueous inkjet printers like the PageWide XL series from HP,
is largely offset by the decline of low-end aqueous inkjet
graphics printing systems and single-function CAD printers
that are being retired in favor of multifunction devices. These
PageWide single-pass printers, which are primarily found in
CAD/technical markets, offer speed and running cost
advantages over traditional toner-based printing. IDC expects
the ink revenue from single-pass aqueous inkjet printers will
grow at close to a 60-percent CAGR from 2016 to 2021.
IDC notes that manufacturers have taken important steps
to protect the sale of inks for their printers by constantly
developing new inks that perform better and are more efficient
(covering more area with the same or less ink). Developing inks
that perform better across a wider range of substrates, extending the warranty, and offering larger ink cartridges helps PSPs
because they're able to operate the printer for a longer period of
time without interruption. There's so much happening in each
segment of the large-format inkjet ink market that users and
dealers seeking operational and sales advantages have to
closely monitor these developments.
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.