“The second LED technology is the use of LED lights that emit in the UV range and can be used for curing UV curable inkjet inks. These lights have become more powerful and can cure inkjet inks readily. Although LED curing lights are expensive, they emit a constant amount of energy over a very long lifespan, whereas other technologies tend to have a shorter life cycle. This advantage has caused many integrators and OEMs to adopt the technology. INX Digital has a strong selection of LED curable inks for a variety of different applications.
“The other constant change which impacts us is legislation. Companies that have a global presence, as we do, may have a slight advantage because of the many different things we must be aware of and respond to.
“For example, look at the REACH legislation in Europe which will continue to be implemented over years to come. In its early stages REACH was a moving target when it came to its rules and guidelines, but we’ve been successful in being compliant due to the strong team we have in our Environmental Health and Safety department and their dedication to this and all regulatory and environmental initiatives. With this framework in place, INX Digital is better prepared to meet similar challenges down the road.”
Q. What will be the next inkjet inkbreakthrough?
A: “This is a very good question and of course, the marketplace will be the determining factor. However, I like the position we are in for several reasons.
“At the time when the economy took a hit, we had the resources to refocus our R&D group and we went ahead and hired more chemists. The sales chain may have slowed, but our R&D efforts were working overtime, so when the economy did bounce back we’d be able to take advantage of it. Our R&D group did a phenomenal job in a relatively short period of time, and we are launching very strong technologies that are providing benefits to our customers.”
“Because of these efforts, our inkjet technology is primed to take off. UV inkjet inks are more robust in a variety of applications. Pigment inks are growing mainly because of the durability factor compared to dye technology.
“By the end of 2012 I expect to see consistent growth with water-based UV and solvent technologies. These types of inks will be replacing some of the products one can find on the eco-solvent market. I think INX Digital is well positioned to leverage our water-based inkjet technology because of our history and success with water-based traditional inks.
“Latex and UV LED inks will continue to be in demand. LED curing technology has come a long way in recent years and that’s why it’s very attractive. It uses less energy in comparison to other light sources, and that’s why we have developed the fastest curing LED cure inks on the market. Latex resin is water soluble in the ink, but during the drying process it coalesces. Once that happens, it can’t dissolve in water and that makes it perfect for outdoor use.”
Q. What are some of the trends affecting the ink market?
A: “Besides the LED technology I mentioned earlier, digital inkjet inks are having an impact on the market. It remains our core business and with INX Digital having a select number of aftermarket brands, people will continue to explore quality replacement products that can save them over 20 percent compared to their current consumables.
“This is proving to be very attractive to a wide range of clients, involving everyone from the large-format market to commercial printers who are exploring different markets in a bid to create new revenue streams. We certainly have the products for them to consider, and our R&D group continues to funnel more product into the pipeline. That’s why I’m excited to see how the rest of this year plays out and what 2012 will bring us.”