As we continue into 2009, the economic news remains sluggish at best for most business sectors, and the printing ink industry is no exception. With printing levels declining in the past year, ink manufacturers have been impacted as well.
Naturally, that means that suppliers to the ink industry have also faced difficult times in the past six months. Pigment and additive manufacturers tell similar stories when it comes to sales and pricing.
This issue, we focus on pigments and additives, and look closer at these critical markets. In “The Pigment Report,” which starts on page 26, industry leaders generally agree that 2008 began with serious concerns about pricing, and ended with even more concerns over the global recession.
There are some similarities in terms of concerns in “The Additives Market,” starting on page 33, but it is interesting to also note that there are some key differences. Most notably, there is a sense that additives manufacturers see some opportunities as well, as their products can enhance ink formulations that may be changing due to pricing concerns. One thing that is consistent, though, is the need to provide service to customers in these challenging times.
In the past few years, there have been a few bright spots for the ink industry, most notably energy-curable technologies and printed electronics (PE). Interestingly enough, these two fields came together during uv.eb West 2009, a recent conference held by RadTech International NA.
The key to printed electronics is relatively simple: By using the printing process to create simple electronic systems, manufacturers will be able to reduce their cost while increasing throughput. By utilizing conductive inks, PE manufacturers will be able to eliminate silicon, which is a costlier and more time-consuming process.
During uv.eb West 2009, energy-curable industry leaders showcased the potential benefits of their technologies for PE, including the photovoltaic market. UV already has gained a foothold in this burgeoning field, and is likely to make further gains in the coming years.
For more information on uv.eb West 2009 and UV/EB’s growing role in printed electronics, please check out my stories on page 37 and page 39, respectively, as well as our new website, www.printedelectronicsnow.com, which offers weekly feature articles as well as breaking news, white papers and much more.