Andreottola’s forecasts are along the same lines of increased environmental consciousness. He foresees improvements in UV-curable inks as they take more of the solvent market in wide-format. “I also think we’ll see a big decline in general in both solvent and eco-solvent inks,” he says.
“I see UV and latex inks taking over a portion of that market. And there may be a movement on the part of some states to ban solvent inks.”
As American Ink Jet Corporation loses OEM business, it’s focusing more on manufacturing. His company will serve others that want to enter the inkjet market, have marketing and R&D skills, but lack manufacturing capacity. “We, in turn, are manufacturing inks for some of our competitors,“ Andreottola reports.
Salomon believes that the future may shine brightest on UV inks.
“UV-curable has the greatest potential to be a universal ink, if they can solve the problems of the ink flexibility, but not lose the benefit of adhering to rigid substrates,” he says. “It has so many benefits because it’s essentially a liquid plastic that hardens quickly in a chemical reaction on the substrate under UV-curable lights. And it’s the most environmentally friendly product.”
Klostermann observes that 3M continues to have strong partnerships with many printer OEMs that are developing more efficient high-speed and sustainable machines offering exceptional print quality. “Offering ink and leading ink development efforts that enable printer owners and graphic manufacturers to increase output, offer robust solutions for several types of application and uses, while being cost effective will continue to fuel growth in this market,” he says.
At Van Son, where they have been making ink for more than 140 years, there’s a quote from founder Philip van Son that could serve as an inspiration to the entire industry as it continues perfecting ink for wide- and grand-format.
“I believe in the power of creating technology, not borrowing it,” he is quoted as saying. “I believe in what the future of the printing industry holds, and I will endeavor tirelessly to create a product that will not only improve my customer’s business, but the entire trade as well.”