CONSTANCE, Germany - According to a new report by research firm Ceresana, Constance, Germany, the printing inks industry generated revenues of more than $20 billion in 2011. The report is titled Market Study: Printing Inks - World.

Development in modern information technology has produced a challenge for the printing ink industry. The increasing popularity of electronic media has meant that newspapers and books are read on e-readers, and information and correspondence are exchanged via the Internet. Marketing expenses are increasingly redirected towards TV, radio or Internet ads, which also contributes to the substitution of traditional print media.

Package printing, on the other hand, is becoming more important to the printing industry. "Goods still have to be packed, and consumers need information about the product when they are holding the package. Trade conducted via the Internet supports mail-order trade and, consequently, increases the need for packaging material," said Oliver Kutsch, CEO of Ceresana.

Demographic changes in industrialized countries and socio-economic changes on many emerging markets result in a change of consumer behavior in regard to packaged foodstuffs. This influences demand for packaging material accordingly.

As print-run sizes fall and demand for customized printing products rises, digital printing is in the best position to substitute other printing processes and to expand into new application areas. Continuing development further reduces production costs while quality rises. Another printing process to currently profit at above-average growth rates is flexography. Given its dominance in the package printing market, this segment is able to capitalize on the expanding market for packaging products and may also replace other printing processes in various printing applications.

One reason to substitute printing processes is the reduced environmental impact that a new process may have. Regulation authorities and consumers are demanding the replacement of processes that use hazardous chemicals in the production of printing plates or that utilize solvent-based printing inks with high-VOC emissions. Printing processes such as offset, gravure, flexographic and screen printing, as well as the inks used, have to be refined. Progress has been made in radiation-cured printing inks and in mixtures with natural resins.

Printing inks are customized products that have been developed to fit specific printing processes and applications. The diversity of media to print on and of application areas for the finished products make a high degree of flexibility indispensable. New application areas emerge that offer the opportunity for printing technologies to establish themselves. A current example is electronic printing, a process that creates complete electronic parts utilizing conductive printing inks. These parts are often used in RFID-chips, displays or solar cells.

The study includes analysis of the printing inks market with forecasts up to 2019; an examination of the 16 largest countries in the market with data on demand, revenues, production, import and export; an analysis of the processing technologies of printing inks and the influences of different areas of application; and profiles of the largest manufacturers of printing inks, arranged by contact details, turnover, profit, product range, production sites and profile summaries.

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