The National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) 2013 Annual State of the Industry Report, presented last month, showed thatl flexo solvent-based and water-based inks enjoyed growth. Overall, NAPIM estimates that more than $1 billion in liquid packaging inks were sold in 2013, a growth of 1.3%; flexo inks make up a large majority of those sales.
“Many gravure printers now also have flexo presses/plants, allowing them to compete in any arena,” said Grant Shouldice, vice president, marketing & technology packaging inks north America, Flint Group. “ Advances with high definition and expanded gamut printing have brought forth advances that have enabled flexo to grow and retain growth.”
“We see the flexo and packaging markets growing in the U.S.,” said Darren Oakes, sales manager, packing inks, Toyo Ink America. “We feel very positive about this market. Toyo has committed our technical resources in and outside of the U.S. to improve products and technology for the flexo industry.”
“Flexo inks are growing, especially the water-based technology – this segment will continue to grow, eating away from offset and solvent-based products,” said Thomas Griebel, product and key account manager, packing inks, Hostmann-Steinberg Limited.
BCM Inks saw positive growth in 2013 and are continuing to experience a carryover into 2014.
“Our customers feel good about their growth prospects and therefore, we feel good about our growth, too,” said Rob Callif, vice president, BCM Inks
Although the trends continue to move towards flexo inks, it does not necessary mean that gravure inks are becoming obsolete.
“Most of the growth we are seeing in the liquid ink segment can be attributed to flexo inks and I expect that trend to continue into the foreseeable future,” said Mark Hill, vice president, research & development, INX International Ink Co. “It’s not to say that gravure will be dead; on the contrary, I think gravure is still needed and very viable. It’s just that more opportunity exists in the flexo area right now.”
The trends also continue to move towards functional and sensory packaging.
"Overall, the flexo market saw continued growth during the past year, and we expect to see a similar level of growth throughout 2014,” said Tony Renzi, vice president, product management packing, north American inks, Sun Chemical. “The packaging market segment continues to be where we see the most growth for flexo, especially as the trend in the market continues to move towards functional and sensory packaging.“