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ISA, InfoTrends Explore New Potential for Wide-Format

Data projects a CAGR of 13 percent.

Big Picture

ISA has released a white paper prepared in conjunction with InfoTrends: “Wide-Format Print Trends, Opportunities & Challenges: Identifying Areas of Untapped Potential in the Wide-Format Market.” With almost 73 percent of ISA Expo survey respondents saying their wide-format volumes had increased in the past year, InfoTrends projects a CAGR of 13 percent for print volumes of wide-format production graphics in North America. The report sets out to examine key drivers behind this growth as well as highlight areas of opportunity for PSPs.

Growth in Non-Solvent Ink Volumes The CAGR for aqueous (33 percent), sublimation (26 percent), latex (15 percent), and UV (11 percent) ink usage is easily offsetting the decline in solvent-based ink volumes (-19 percent). InfoTrends expects latex shipments alone to see a CAGR of nearly 13 percent between 2015 and 2020. More than half of survey respondents expected their UV-curing devices to grow in importance as time goes on.

Diversification “Specialty products like soft signage textile printers and direct-to-garment printers are helping to re-energize the market,” the report states. “It’s not uncommon for today’s sign shops or digital printing businesses to offer ad specialty products or the ability to print on non-standard wide-format substrates.” Other new applications are growing thanks to UV-curable inks and a widening variety of compatible substrates such as glass, foamcore, wood, acrylic, Sintra, specialty items, and more. Survey respondents pointed to construction, healthcare, and food services as top areas for growth in the next 2 to 4 years. And, InfoTrends calls packaging a “very hot topic,” pointing to advancements in flexible and thermoforming inkjet inks that “were once the domain of silk screeners.”

Print Speeds “A throughput of 1000 square feet per hour is expected by many of these businesses, and speed is a requirement regardless of ink technology,” the report continues. “The good news is that prices are dropping even as technologies improve, so the opportunities that this market presents are now available to an even wider range of service providers.” Meanwhile, single-pass technology, while there are still fewer than 2000 machines operating worldwide, is looming closer. “This segment has the potential to broaden the production graphics market and drive down the cost per print,” the report adds.

One-Stop Shop Roughly two-thirds of survey respondents said they finish all of their wide-format output in house. It appears that more PSPs are migrating toward the “one-stop shop” model, but the report says “there is still room for additional growth in this area.”

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