Flexo Ink Market Analysis 1

There is no doubt that flexographic printing is a mainstream printing method. At the same time, flexographic printing is increasingly affecting the ink market. The quality of ink is a major concern for ink and printing equipment manufacturers. As a result, more and more ink manufacturers are developing better-quality inks and seeking to establish a business-competitive approach, creating more opportunities for flexographic printing.

Just look at the various technologies used by flexographic printers and you will understand that flexographic printing has a bright future. UV (ultraviolet) curing, EB (electron beam) curing, and water-based ink technology are new faces in other printing methods. However, in flexo printing, such inks have been widely used. According to the report of “Ink World” of the United States, the ink market share of flexographic printing in 2002 was US$936 million, which is now close to US$1 billion. This news is absolutely good news for flexographic printing ink manufacturers.

In the past few years, flexographic printing has developed rapidly worldwide. Sustained growth includes the development of flexographic printing itself, and this growth has also come from the market share of flexographic printing in the grab gravure printing market and traditional offset printing. In order to gain greater market share, flexographic printing will, as always, enhance the ability of four-color printing, so that each print fully reflects the technical progress of flexographic printing. At the same time, other printing methods will continue to develop, making the competition of several printing methods more fierce. Printing customers will be the biggest winners in the outcome of competition. The demand for a large amount of flexo ink will also be the driving force for the continuous development of printing equipment. We have noticed that, especially for the narrow web four-color rotary press, an obvious development is the use of finer textured ink rollers, which can now reach 600 lines/cm2. Therefore, ink manufacturers must target such technology. Progressively improving the performance of the ink, allowing the ink to be transferred from the anilox ink roller to the plate and the substrate more stably and reliably. This is also the direction in which ink production will continue to improve and develop in the future. Due to the development of digital media, flexo printing can print higher quality images that are almost comparable to gravure printing. Therefore, more and more printing manufacturers have turned from gravure printing to flexo printing. The speed of development of flexographic printing depends on the quality of the print. If the print quality of flexographic printing can achieve offset printing quality, the printing market's demand for flexo printing will soar.

An expanding market

Packaging remains the largest market for flexo printing. In the packaging printing market, there is a growing demand for stand-up pouch packaging, fresh produce packaging, and pharmaceutical packaging. In the corrugated packaging market, the demand for images is getting higher and higher. In the folding cartons market, there is also an increased opportunity for flexo inks. With the ever-increasing demand for cardboard boxes, many traditional offset printers have also turned to flexo printing in the narrow web rotary label printing and packaging market. Reasonable price and high quality image printing have become wise choices for businesses.

Food contact packaging is another potential market for flexo printing. With the improvement of the quality of flexo printing images, especially the faster the printing speed, the food contact packaging company found that flexo printing is a good complement to offset printing. If the ingredients of the flexo ink are properly combined and the ink is dried properly after printing, the effect on the taste and odor of the food is less likely than with offset printing.

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