The manufacturers of wide-format aqueous inkjet printers all recognize the need for continuously improving these printers in order to sustain year-on-year business. Even factoring in a lot of these improvements we can’t get away from one key factor related to aqueous inkjet and that is running cost. Conventional graphics printers have a higher running cost than, for example, eco-solvent inkjet, especially for printing outdoor graphics. We think this factor limits the future growth of conventional inkjet, but is a major factor for the growth of durable aqueous inkjet printers. As noted, HP’s Latex inkjet printers have a running cost lower than conventional aqueous inkjet with comparable environmental characteristics. This combination makes Latex a very attractive proposition. As the chart below illustrates, InfoTrends expects the creative market segment to rebound somewhat as the economy improves and more company’s take wide-format proofing and printing in-house. We also expect the durable aqueous segment to grow from just a few hundred units placed in these early years to several thousand in the out years of the forecast. Conventional inkjet graphics devices are being “squeezed” by those two segments and the ever-improving image quality achievable on eco-solvent inkjet printers.
When it comes to wide-format printing equipment, aqueous inkjet certainly has a strong value proposition, and one that is getting better all the time. Aqueous inkjet has proven to be a staple of the wide format industry, and through continuous improvement, will remain so for the foreseeable future.