For anyone who remains uncertain about the possibilities of ink jet, a visit to Drupa 204 would have been the perfect cure. Digital technologies were on display throughout the 17 halls of Drupa, and it is amazing to see how far ink jet has come in just the last four years. It was also interesting to see how the more traditional areas of the market have responded by developing their own technological advances.
As can be read in our extensive Drupa 2004 review, beginning on page 31, many ink companies were also on hand at Drupa 2004, and the new technologies and services they showcased deserve recognition. The products that are being developed to meet the most demanding requirements of packaging and publication printers alike are extremely impressive, and leaves one waiting to see what will come next.
Increasing services was also a theme at Drupa 2004, as ink companies look for ways to help printers meet their own customers’ demands.
Many of the innovative new products that ink companies showcased are tailored for the ink jet market. Interestingly, a few leading ink manufacturers, including Sun Chemical, Flint Ink, Sericol and Aellora, exhibited systems featuring ink, hardware and software, thus offering complete solutions for their customers.
As is clear from our report on ink jet, “Ink Jet Inks are on the Rise,” beginning on page 22, quite a few ink companies are looking at ways to ensure the growth of their ink jet ink sales. Some of these companies have decided that offering full solutions will both help meet customer demand and ensure that their inks will be utilized. Ultimately, if the equipment is indeed accepted by the marketplace, it’s a win-win proposition for these companies.
The ink jet ink market is a fascinating one. Having made major inroads into the wide format market traditionally dominated by screen, it is interesting to watch where ink jet will go next. In our report, leading ink executives speculate that narrow web and packaging are the next significant growth areas for ink jet, and that the ability to add personalization to conventional presses is another potentially strong area.
There are tremendous opportunities ahead for ink companies, whether it is in ink jet or conventional markets, and the ink companies that work with their customers to develop new solutions will be the ones that will succeed in the coming years.