Hanover, MA - July 2007 - Over the last few years, a new type of wide format UV ink jet printer has come on the market: the wide format UV roll-to-roll printer. (Definition of UV ink jet printer: An ink jet printer where the inks are cured by UV light.) The question being asked by many today is: Will UV roll-to-roll printers experience as much success as the UV flatbed or are these printers being pushed into the market because of vendor need rather than user demand? I.T. Strategies expects that UV roll-to-roll printers (does not include hybrids) could grow from an installed base of 199 printers in 2006 to 1,300 by 2011, a CAGR of 46%. Total manufacturer revenue from UV roll-to-roll printers (hardware, ink and media) is forecast to increase from $121 million in 2006 to more than $560 million by 2011, a CAGR of 36%. (NB: Total manufacturer revenue from UV flatbed ink jet printers grew from $58 million in 2003 to $600 million in 2007.)
According to Liz Ziepniewski Logue, Senior Consultant at I.T. Strategies, “UV roll-to-roll ink jet printers could negatively impact the solvent market over the next five years, as users move some output from solvent printers to UV printers and more importantly, as users decide to spend their dollars on UV printers rather than solvent printers. Perhaps though, the biggest impact will be felt in the screen printing market as highly productive UV roll-to-roll printers begin to go head to head with screen printed products.”
UV roll-to-roll printers offer a number of advantages over solvent ink jet printers including increased productivity, fewer environmental issues, versatility of substrates, less vendor competition and white inks.
According to Logue, “It is still too early to tell what the exact impact of UV roll-to-roll ink jet printers will be on the solvent and screen printing markets, but it is clear that there will be one. There is vendor motivation to move to UV roll-to-roll and according to I.T. Strategies research, many end users believe UV ink jet printers will be the future of the wide format graphics market. While we do not expect that UV roll-to-roll printers will replace solvent ink jet printers in the near future, we do expect UV roll-to-roll ink jet printers to impact solvent printer sales and output over the next three years. How much will depend on how quickly vendors continue to develop UV products.