UV roll to roll set to boom

The roll-to-roll UV printer has emerged over the past couple of years, and if IT Strategies is correct will become a gold mine for its users. IT Strategies expects that UV roll-to-roll printers (does not include hybrids) could grow from an installed base of 199 printers in the US in 2006 to 1,300 by 2011, a CAGR of 46 per cent, a figure that will be similar in Australia.

It predicts total manufacturer revenue from UV roll-to-roll printers (hardware, ink and media) is forecast to increase from US$121 million in 2006 to more than US$560 million by 2011, a CAGR of 36 per cent. (NB: Total manufacturer revenue from UV flatbed inkjet printers grew from US$58 million in 2003 to US$600 million in 2007.)

According to Liz Ziepniewski Logue, Senior Consultant at IT Strategies, "UV roll-to-roll inkjet 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 inkjet 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 inkjet 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 IT Strategies' research, many end users believe UV inkjet 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 inkjet printers in the near future, we do expect UV roll-to-roll inkjet 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."

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