Demand drives new products and refinements, as ink producers court expanded opportunities.
As a full line supplier, Kisner has insight into multiple categories. In aqueous inks for the graphic arts and textile markets, he sees solid growth and competitive prices. His company is also experiencing increased demand for its solvent inks worldwide, while launch of its eco-solvent EDX inks in 2011 “has led to explosive growth in the wide-format market.”
“Inkjet is growing in all markets – even in the more well-established sectors, such as wide-format graphics,” reports Peter Saunders, global sales and marketing manager for Sun Chemical. “SunJet, the inkjet division of Sun Chemical, grew strongly in the past year and widened its product and technology portfolio to meet the demands of existing and emerging markets,” he adds. “We’ve seen continued growth in wide and superwide formats in the graphics market.
“Most print shops are using a variety of inkjet technologies, and are looking for [an] ink supplier who can offer versatile solutions without compromising quality,” points out Dror Mualem, vice president of marketing for Bordeaux Digital Printink. “More customers and even OEM printer dealers are realizing that in order to increase their business they need to offer an option other than OEM inks. It will help them gain more business and open new opportunities on printers they haven't serviced before,” he continues.
For owners of Roland printers, “Specialty inks have proven to be real game changers,” says David Hawkes, Roland DGA group product manager. He reports that most Roland printers now ship with at least one of its specialty ink options.
Qualities and challenges
“There is a lot of interest in UV LED, latex, and aqueous inks,” says Bordeaux’s Dror Mualem. “However, we often feel the user doesn't always understand the pros and cons of all these technologies.” With these new ink technologies, he says, print providers are no longer solely concerned about ink price and durability. They’re also looking for inks that address environmental concerns, yet deliver “the ability to print digitally on new media and new applications that are expanding with the technology.”