Now that 2018 is gone, it’s time to look at the most interesting developments in the ink industry. From raw material shortage, through UV inks and metallic inks, there’s no doubt that the ink industry had a lot going on this year.
UV inks certainly based a position in packaging, industrial and commercial printing. They can be used for many printing processes, including digital, screen, and offset. As UV inks dry very quickly, the printed material can be immediately processed when coming out of the press, saving printers time and money. Furthermore, UV inks can be used with almost any surface, offering a large selection of both inflexible and flexible print substrates.
The curable ink field is looking quite promising as well, and it’s already one of the dominating technologies used in narrow web and mid- web printing. The technology still needs to grow, but it’s a growing market with sustained future potential in the graphic arts market.
Metallic inks have captured everyone’s attention lately. The global metallic pigments market is expected to reach $1.86 billion by 2026. It comes in no surprise then, that printers continue to see a strong interest and demand in metallic inks and they are being used on a variety of printed merchandise.
The past year was really challenging regarding raw materials. In May 2018, the European Printing Ink Association warned of a “potential shortage of photoinitiators”. Also, TPO and TPO-L, important photoinitiators for inkjet inks, UV LED inks, automotive coatings, and wood coatings and flooring, were in short supply due to the shutdown of a key precursor.
This situation left only a handful of companies that produce this precursor, making the prices rise dramatically. Furthermore, intermediates, pigments and other materials are also experiencing challenges. Due to stricter environmental regulations, prices for pigments relating photoinitiators, intermediates and other additives, have also increased significantly during 2018.
It’s interesting to see what developments the upcoming year will bring to the ink industry. One thing is certain – it’s going to be colorful.