Wide format printing is a perfect example of the evolution of digital printing and ink. The wide format business had previously been dominated by screen, and when digital became financially advantageous, printers began to slowly move over to inkjet. Ink suppliers anticipated these changes, and as a result, Fujifilm Sericol, Nazdar and SunJet were among the early leaders in the inkjet ink market.
Today, inkjet inks are a major business. Early on, the business was divided between OEM suppliers such as DuPont Ink Jet, Sensient Technologies and Avecia; major ink companies such as Sun Chemical, Fujifilm Sericol and Markem; and entrepreneurs such as Collins Ink, Triangle Digital, Lyson, Squid Ink and many others. Flint Group formed Jetrion, and Markem formed its own subsidiary, Aellora Digital.
Now, other ink manufacturers are moving into digital. Triangle Digital LLC was acquired by Sakata Inx and merged into INX International Ink Co., to form Triangle Digital INX. Nazdar acquired Lyson, adding to its own inkjet offerings.
As our report on the inkjet ink market illustrates, beginning on page 20, there are tremendous opportunities for further growth in the digital ink field. One area of particular interest is commercial sheetfed. Currently, sheetfed and digital are being combined into hybrid systems, which can add personalization. However, as digital printing’s speed increases and the cost of printing comes down, it is reasonable to see how digital will take some share away from sheetfed in the future.
UV is another growth area, with estimates placing UV inkjet ink consumption at $250 million by the end of the decade as UV makes headway in wide format and packaging.
Knowing this, ink manufacturers are prudent in investing in the digital ink market. Inkjet will continue to be an area of growth in the coming years, and for the ink companies that are in the market, the digital field seems to be a good place to be.
Ink World Editor