UV inkjet printing is gathering momentum and growing across the world, according to a new market report from Smithers Pira. The instant curing and durability offers significant technical, economic and environmental advantages for many applications.
The Future of UV Inkjet Printing to 2018, a new study from Smithers Pira, provides quantitative market forecasts for the next five years, by region for all major end-use markets, with specific focus on equipment, inks and substrates.
UV inkjet printing has a variety of uses, including signage, labels, commercial print, security and packaging. It is also used in textile printing on canvas, in the promotional item sector, decoration and industrial manufacturing. Of these, packaging and labels are the fastest growing, with security and signage at the bottom of the list, yet still exhibiting strong growth. Signage was one of the first applications for UV inkjet and was well established, while many security print applications are being subsumed into labels and packaging rather than as standalone products.
The volume of labels, which includes overprinting, is forecast to increase significantly over the next five years. As metallic inks come onto the digital labels market, more brands can be printed digitally, opening more opportunities.
Technology is developing rapidly on both the printing and ink fronts. Quality has greatly improved through better design and integration with the inkjet artifacts of lines. Equipment suppliers are taking advantage of improvements in heads and making a very broad range of printing systems for specific applications. Technology developments have enabled the success of new applications, including spot UV varnish, new digital embossing and braille printing sectors. There are also many bespoke printing and decorating systems used in packaging lines and as part of manufacturing processes to decorate and identify components and products.
Figure E.1 Global print value of UV inkjet printing by application 2008-18 ($ million constant 2011)
source: Smithers Pira
According to Smithers Pira, stable inks are performing well in the print heads and providing excellent final print properties. Pigmented inks offer good lightfastness, and durable films can be directly printed, eliminating some finishing processes like lamination or coating that may be necessary with solvent-based ink systems. Inks can be formulated to provide excellent adhesion and flexibility on a wide range of substrates, with good resistance to many chemicals, water and solvents, making them good for durable applications.
In 2013 the value of all UV inkjet printed output in Western Europe will be almost $2.4 billion, with future growth at an average CAGR of 13.6% predicted to 2018. The UK is the biggest country market in Europe, ahead of Germany and France. It is home to many pioneering print companies who were early adopters of the technology in direct mail and transactional, signage and labels, and one of the leading exponents of inkjet technology and it represents the largest market for UV in Europe.
According to Smithers Pira, UV inkjet has taken off in North America as printers grasped the environmental and production advantages of the technology, with the instant drying and durability saving additional coating and lamination stages and good lightfast performance useful in outdoor signage applications. Growth is forecast at 16.2% to 2018 in this region.
The Future of UV Inkjet Printing to 2018 is available as a bound copy, electronic version, and global usage license. It is available for immediate download for £3950/$6300. For more information, please contact: Heather Adams (US) T: +1 207 781 9632, Stephen Hill (UK) T: +44 (0) 1372 802025