Printed Electronics Offers Exciting New Possibilities for Printing, Ink

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 08.09.06

Printed Electronics Offers Exciting New Possibilities for Printing, Ink

For the most part, the printing and ink industries have not grown much in recent years. Conventional ink manufacturers have seen their best opportunities come in the field of packaging, particularly from the energy-curing and digital segments.

The term “conventional” is critical here. Interestingly, there is tremendous potential for growth in the area of printed electronics, which some experts predict could be a $300 billion market within two decades.

The printed electronics field covers many segments, ranging from radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and smart labels to printed circuits. The basis for the large sales estimates is that there is a much lower cost for printing these circuits as opposed to affixing a chip to a label.

We are seeing a similar pattern to the inkjet market in terms of ink industry interest. When inkjet debuted, some start-up ink companies as well as a few large ink manufacturers, particularly Sun Chemical, Sericol and Markem, showed interest, along with major chemical and printing corporations. As time passed, more ink companies became involved. We are in the early stages of printed electronics, and Sun Chemical, Flint Group and Markem are involved, along with major chemical manufacturers.

European Editor Sean Milmo was on hand at two key European printed electronics conferences held by IDTechEx and Pira recently, and he reports on the latest trends beginning on page 12.

Speaking of areas of growth, the European printing ink industry remains vibrant, featuring a mix of large international ink manufacturers and smaller local ink companies. In October 2004, Ink World introduced our European Ink Directory, featuring 145 ink companies in 26 countries throughout Europe.

This month, Ink World offers our updated European Ink Directory, the industry’s most comprehensive listing of European ink manufacturers. Our staff conducted extensive research, and compiled a list of 215 ink manufacturers in 30 countries, ranging from major branches of international companies to family-owned regional businesses, complete with addresses, contact information and product listings. Compiling such a list is a challenge, and should we have overlooked a company, I certainly welcome you to send me an e-mail. Meanwhile, it is a pleasure to be able to offer this listing to our readers.

David Savastano
Ink World Editor