Ink industry suppliers have faced their own set of pressures during the past few years, and they, too, are seeing signs of change. In The Pigment Report, pigment executives note for the most part that sales improved in 2012, while raw material costs stabilized. While there are concerns as to what 2013 holds, pigment manufacturers are emphasizing developing new products, which could be key to their own future growth.
Pigment executives and ink manufacturers alike also noted that the markets for packaging ink and digital printing remain the strongest growth areas. In The European Ink Report, European Editor Sean Milmo notes similar trends, as European ink companies diversify into new markets and services.
One area of great interest for some printers and ink manufacturers is the printed and flexible electronics field. If electronic circuits can be printed on paper, plastic or other substrate, costs can be reduced dramatically, which would allow these circuits to be used in numerous applications where price is a factor.
There are literally billions of these systems already being printed today. Glucose test strips are just one example, and Bemis is working with Thin Film Electronics, a printed electronics specialist, to develop temperature sensors for packaging by 2014.
To make these sensors a reality, conductive inks are an essential ingredient, and small entrepreneurs, as well as international corporations such as Sun Chemical and DuPont, are developing new technologies for the printed electronics market. For more on this promising field, please see my story, The Conductive Ink Market,as well as our website, www.printedelectronicsnow.com.
There are opportunities for entrepreneurs in any industry, and the same is true for the ink industry and its suppliers. Companies that can develop innovative technologies in their field will likely have an advantage going forward in an increasingly complex and competitive market.