Ultraviolet curing (UV curing) is a photochemical process wherein high intensity UV light is used to cure or dry inks, adhesives or coatings. UV curable inks speed up the printing process by reducing the drying time while facilitating superior bonding. UV curable inks do not employ the use of environmentally harmful solvents, additionally; they do not cause loss of coating thickness and volume loss in final prints. This causes a reduction in waste, pollutant emissions and energy use. UV curable inks are being increasingly used in printing applications as they offer higher productivity and increased printing throughput.
Based on product types, UV curable inks can be segmented as free radical and cationic. Free radical UV curable inks are most widely used on a commercial scale. UV curable inks do not get absorbed inside the substrate and get dried very rapidly on exposure to UV light. This translates into high pigment saturation and quick drying time.
Furthermore, energy costs, floor space and capital investments can be saved as drying equipments are not necessary to bring about drying of prints. UV curable inks can be used directly on rigid substrates owing to which the necessity to print on flexible media is eliminated, this reduces overall printing costs. The cost of UV curable inks is high however very little amount of ink is required due to their low viscosity. This reduces ink consumption and further drives down the printing costs. UV curable inks are used extensively in polyethylene billboards as they offer exceptional performance for outdoor signage. Additionally, they are used for 2D fleet graphics which can be applied on curved or flat surfaces. Retail POP (point of purchase) makes use of UV curable inks in order to eliminate pigment odors in retail stores.
The increasing demand of inks & pigments for printing applications is the key driver for the UV curable inks market. UV curable inks impart numerous features and functionalities which make them suited for specialized printing needs. For instance, UV curable inks are used to print directly on rigid surfaces and on polyethylene billboards. They can also be used on metal, glass, ceramics, PVC, synthetic paper and other substrates. The quick drying and high ink saturation feature of UV curable inks makes them suited for these niche applications which has been driving this market. This trend is expected to continue within the forecast period. However, high cost of UV curable inks is expected to restrain the growth of this market in the near future. Technological advancements to produce UV curable inks for application on acrylics and polypropylene are expected to open new areas of opportunity for the UV curable inks market.
Publication and printing sectors are mature markets in the U.S. and Western Europe but are witnessing an upwards trend in China, India, Middle East and Africa. Consumption of UV curable inks has been increasing in Asian countries with Japan and Republic of Korea as exception. In terms of global demand, China and India are forecast to be the largest consumers of UV curable inks within the forecast period. Central and Eastern Europe are expected to show moderate growth, while North America and Western European market are expected to grow at a steady rate within the forecast period.
Some of the key players profiled in the UV Curable Inks market research report include companies such as APV Engineered Coatings, Dartronics Inc, Eastern Marking Machine Corp, Hewlett Packard, ITW Trans Tech, Leibinger Inkjet, Ruco USA and Ricoh among others.
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