Large format ink jet market business opportunities

Large format inkjet printer types and features

Large-format inkjet printers have the characteristics of good image quality, short delivery time, and the ability to print on a variety of substrates. They are popular with users and have been rapidly applied in many fields in recent years. According to the different inks used, large-format inkjet printers can be divided into water-based inkjet printers, solvent-based inkjet printers, and UV inkjet printers. The following describes briefly the features and applications of these printers.

Water-based ink jet

The large-format water-based ink jet printer has excellent image quality, is suitable for printing outdoor products and indoor products, and has the lowest initial investment cost. Therefore, its application in digital proofing, art reproduction, photography and other market applications has grown rapidly. According to the forecast of CAP, the retail sales of large-format water-based ink jet printers in the world will increase from 18 billion US dollars in 2004 to 21 billion US dollars in 2009.

Leading suppliers for large-format water-based ink jet printers include: Canon, Kodak, Epson, and HP. In the past two years, the price of large-format water-based ink jet systems has dropped significantly, and even at a cost of $1,000, a low-end product can be purchased. In the high-end market of water-based ink jet printers, printing service providers have invested in the purchase of 42, 44 and 60-inch wide presses. For example, Allegra Networks and FedEx and Kinko's are fast-growing print service providers in the large format printing market.

2. Solvent-based inkjet

Solvent-based and environmentally-friendly solvent-based inkjet printers are hot topics that people talk about. Companies that are more active in this area include Mimaki, Wu Teng, Océ, Roland and others. Solvent-type inkjet printers have the advantage of being able to print durable outdoor prints at low cost. Solvent-based inks are cheaper than water-based inks, and solvent-based inkjets are relatively inexpensive. Printed products using solvent-based inkjet printers do not have to be recoated, which saves time and reduces costs. With the development of eco-solvent-based large-format inkjet printing systems, many printing service providers (from photo studios to screen printers) have invested in large-format solvent-based inkjet printing systems. According to CAP's forecast, the retail sales of large-format solvent inkjet printers worldwide will increase from 9 billion U.S. dollars in 2004 to 18 billion U.S. dollars in 2009, with an average annual growth rate of approximately 16.9%.

3. UV inkjet

According to statistics, in 2004 alone, more than 20 suppliers launched large-format UV inkjet printers. Among them, there are products with a speed of 75 square feet per hour and a price of 50,000 US dollars, and products with a speed of 1700 square feet per hour and a price of more than 500,000 US dollars. Large-format UV ink jet printers not only have excellent image print quality, but also can print white ink. Like solvent-based inkjet printers, UV inkjet printers have the same ink prices as water-based inkjet printers, and printed outdoor images have excellent durability without the need for overlaminating. In particular, since some manufacturers have introduced large-format platform UV inkjet printing systems, users can directly print on wood, metal, ceramic, glass and other products. According to CAP's forecast, the retail sales of large-format UV inkjet printing systems will increase from 2.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2004 to 10 billion U.S. dollars in 2009.

At present, Inca Digital is a leading manufacturer in the large-format UV inkjet market (acquired by Japan Screen Corporation for 30 million pounds in June 2005 and is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Screen), NUR Macroprinters, VUTEk, and ZUND et al. In addition, companies such as MacDermid ColorSpan and Mimaki have also launched new products.

Some experts predict that the retail sales of large-format digital printing in the world will be more than US$29 billion, and the annual growth rate will be around 10%. It can be seen that the large-format inkjet printing market is undoubtedly a profitable big market and has a good development prospect. Otherwise, Hewlett-Packard will not complete the acquisition of Scitex Vision Company with US$230 million in November 2005.

Capture large business opportunities for large format inkjet

At present, the large-format inkjet printing market is booming and the competition is fierce. So, how do investors choose the appropriate large format printing press? How to capture new business opportunities in the ever-changing market?

From the experience of foreign printers, we must be in an invincible position in the highly competitive economy and society. We must do everything we can to meet customers' printing needs, and strive to enhance their capabilities and expand the market.

When it comes to expanding the scope of business, for large-format printers, it does not necessarily mean investing in a new printing press, dare to innovate boldly, and adopt new printing materials (eg, vinyl, canvas, self-adhesive). Materials, stickers, wood, glass and metals, etc., can also be the key to business growth. Foreign large-format printers have made many attempts in this area.

According to Bruce Butler, marketing manager at MacDermid ColorSpan, vinyl and paper materials are the two most used materials for DisplayMaker large-format printers. The most commonly used presses over 72 inches wide are the flag vinyls. Some customers print temporary vehicle signs on magnetic materials, while others print canvas tents, parasols, etc. for major events such as golf tournaments. Larsen Sails, based in California, has produced giant tents and parasols for the famous Budweiser companies, FedEx Express, MCI, SAAB, and Toyota.

Many printers can break the routine and try new materials. According to Gandynovations' global sales president Gandy, some people used the Jetti 3150 UV inkjet printer to print the sky pattern on the ceiling of the office. People walked into his office and felt like they were still outdoors.

L&P's Virtu TX inkjet printer can print a variety of flexible and rigid materials with a print width of 138 inches. According to Richard Codos, executive manager of the North American Development Division at L&P, the users of the most used materials are non-coated fibers, mainly polyester fibers, denim, and twill fabrics. Pictographics, which purchased a Virtu inkjet printer, prints indoor or outdoor advertising products on many fabric materials. For example, an awning was printed for an event at JLG Industries (16,000 square feet outside the canopy and 6000 square feet inside the canopy). The machine can not only print on fabrics, but also can print wall decorations, backlight materials and other hard materials. In addition, it is also possible to print coated materials for furniture decoration, clothing, flags, table mats, textiles, tapestries, and metal and glass plastic products.

Speaking of considerations when purchasing large-format presses, Butler emphasized that first consideration should be given to the compatibility of printing materials. Whether it is to develop a new market or to meet the needs of customers, it is important to have a wide range of printing materials. Second, users should also pay attention to some limitations of the existing technologies. For example, environmentally-friendly solvent-based ink jet printers generally use only a limited variety of non-coating materials. If coating materials are used, the cost is too high. In short, when considering technical details, you must clearly understand the target requirements and new business. Once the target is determined, the printer model can be determined based on the printing materials to be used.

At present, UV inkjet printers are considered to be the best in the compatibility of printing materials. It is reported that the UV inkjet printer Anapurna, which Agfa plans to introduce, can print on any material. In addition, L&P's Virtu TX, VUTEK's Press Vu, and MacDermid ColorSpan's DisplayMaker 98uvx all have the flexibility to print on a variety of substrates, allowing printers to capture new opportunities without investing in new printers.

In summary, the continuous development of technology has made the range of printing materials for large format ink jet printers increasingly widespread. It can be printed not only on paper, plastics, and textiles, but also on wood, metal, glass, and other materials. Enables print service providers to provide their customers with more comprehensive services and help their customers gain a foothold in the competition. If you want to develop new business, what are you waiting for? Quickly join the big format printing market!

Information Source: Digital Printing

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