Kao Collins explores 5 trends for industrial inkjet printing in 2022
Kao Collins Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of industrial inkjet inks, released “5 Trends for Industrial Inkjet Printing in 2022” to help production managers plan and take advantage business opportunities.
Stephen Buchanan, Commercial Director of Kao Collins Inkjet, said: “Companies are struggling to meet pent-up consumer demand due to labor shortages and supply chain fragility. Industrial inkjet printing is experiencing rapid growth fueled by the need for fast and flexible printing options.
Several trends in particular have emerged, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by inkjet printing, Buchanan said.
Medical UDI coding: Global standards for the unique identification of medical devices and equipment have become urgent as more countries adopt or plan to implement regulations and requirements similar to those in Japan and the United States. Global standards for unique device identification (UDI) of medical devices and equipment have simmered on the back burner for years since Japan introduced the first requirements in 1999. The United States passed legislation requiring coding in 2007 .
Most countries have adopted similar regulations or are expected to be implemented within the next few years. These regulations mandate UDI coding on medical devices, labels and packaging for products ranging from bandages and tongue depressors to hospital beds and implants.
With a wide range of inks suitable for digital printing and many medical products, inkjet printing promises to be a winner as the industry promotes its many benefits.
LED curing inks: The e-commerce boom has accelerated the adoption of versatile eco-friendly inks due to their weather resistance, fast drying, excellent adhesion and wider color gamut. E-commerce is a clear winner in 2021, offering consumers a convenient alternative to traditional in-store shopping. As retailers navigate this new normal, they face the challenge of building relationships with customers.
Digital printing offers personalization, personalization, and the ability to create a branded experience with packaging that enhances the e-commerce experience and strengthens the brand’s bond with the end consumer. Look for environmentally friendly LED-curable inkjet inks to fill this void for large format board printing due to its many advantages over water-based inks.
“While already well established for printing on flexible packaging, we are seeing more and more companies choosing LED curable inks for carton packaging,” Buchanan notes.
Security inks: Increased regulatory requirements for product tracking and supply chain security have combined with the need to combat fraud to fuel the growth and interest in security inks. The major driver for the growth of the global security inks market is increasing regulatory requirements related to product tracking and supply chain.
Pharmaceutical companies are facing increasing pressure to adopt security practices in line with changing regulations, in addition to combating fraud and counterfeiting, and they are not alone. Many industries are in an ongoing battle against counterfeiters. The cost of counterfeit products in the United States alone is $600 billion, according to Steve Shapiro of the FBI’s Intellectual Property Rights Division.
Coding and marking with visible and hidden security inks makes it easier for brand managers and regulators to identify counterfeit products. Overt or Level 1 security printing on packages or labels is visible to the eye or to the touch. Visible fluorescent inks can be used for direct coding or incorporated into complex label designs.
For a higher level of security, covert or Level 2 printing uses invisible inks or inks with unique formulations. Verification and validation involve ultraviolet lights, infrared readers or calibrated readers, in the case of marking inks.
Compromised products endanger and deceive consumers and brands. Look for growth in inkjet printing technology and inks to increase security.
Quick-drying inks: Interest in fast-drying ink exceeds other production priorities for industrial inkjet ink users with over 36% of users on Kao Collins substrate and match database ink looking for fast drying inks. Fade resistance attracts about 20%. Solving downtime issues with inks attracts less than 10% of searches.
“Advanced inkjet printing systems are running faster than just a few years ago, and inks need to dry or harden quickly to keep up,” Buchanan says.
Matching inks with suitable substrates results in faster drying time. Most inks can achieve a relatively fast drying time when applied to the appropriate materials. “Our solvent-based and curable inks already dry or cure quickly – in a second or less,” Buchanan said. “We are always looking to improve our formulations to improve the assisted and unassisted drying time of all our inks,” he said.
Private Label Foods: The private label food industry is increasingly gaining market share as consumers seek quality alternatives to national brands, and industrial inkjet printing offers producers the ability to segment SKUs with efficiency and flexibility.
The expanding private label food industry is expected to gain more market share in 2022 as consumers seek quality alternatives to more expensive national brands to help manage their grocery costs. In November, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that prices had jumped almost 7% over the previous 12 months. According to the Consumer Price Index, food prices rose just over 6% for the period.
Competing on the price of staple foods alone is not enough to drive sales of private label products. Consumers want premium products and a variety of flavors and package sizes. Brands like Aldi, HEB, Whole Foods, Kroger, Trader Joe’s and others know this. Niche brands and thriving home delivery services.
Industrial inkjet printing offers private label food manufacturers the ability to produce segmented SKUs with efficiency and flexibility for branded packaging and the necessary marking and coding on shorter production runs.
In 2020, grocery brands saw three groups of consumers attracted to their private label products: Gen Z, Millennials and parents. While the big brands have regained market share in 2021, the interest of these three groups reflects the elasticity of price and demand.
Combining high-end food products with eye-catching packaging can elevate private label brands during times of inflation and beyond.
“All of these trends have led industrial printers to embrace digital printing because it allows companies to take advantage of the versatility of industrial inkjet inks that print on many materials, combined with other benefits well-known,” says Buchanan.