Inkjet – looking to the future for the next big thing

Inkjet technology is evolving fast, and with it the markets and applications it can satisfy.  We’ve seen inkjet dominate the large format graphics market, and more recently the very rapid growth of ceramic tile printing. In both cases traditional press sales have fallen dramatically once inkjet gained a foothold in the market.

 Listening to visionaries at an IMI Europe Inkjet Conference

Listening to visionaries at an IMI Europe Inkjet Conference

In the case of graphics, hardly any of the traditional screen press manufacturers had the vision to react sufficiently to the change of technology and retain a significant market share with inkjet products. But with ceramic tile printing it was different. Visionary companies led the way, others followed and many of the inkjet tile printing systems and inks are produced by long-term industry players.

So what about other applications? The big question is what is the next inkjet market? Candidates include commercial printing, packaging – specifically labels and ‘direct to shape’, industrial and textile printing. Even though inkjet entered all of these markets many years ago it has only had a significant effect in specific parts of each market. You can’t predict from the initial impact of products whether there will be rapid growth and disruption. It’s much more subtle than that.

With this in mind we have put together an annual Inkjet Conference; now in its 22nd year, this year it’s being held in Barcelona on 5-7th November. Although we always welcome companies to approach us with new developments, we use our expertise to identify and invite representatives of what we consider to be hot news and the latest developments. We are proud of the great speakers and programmes we are able to offer you each year.

This year is no exception; we have market overviews, new technology, new companies, and new products being announced.  You can hear Landa Digital talk about the commercialisation of Nanography, and why Heidelberg is going digital. Konica Minolta will be talking about their B2 press development with Komori, and FFEI about the requirements for label printing. Fujifilm Dimatix’s CEO will be reviewing where industrial printing markets are heading and Xennia the status of textile printing.

What about new printheads? We have STMicroelectronics describing their thin film piezo MEMS developments and Alchemie will disclose their plans for digital decorating. Inks are not forgotten with presentations from FFIC on aqueous inks and colorants for commercial and packaging markets, and Toyo Ink on advances in ink formulations. This is just a glimpse of the 20 presentations we have over 2 days. As well as inviting these industry visionaries to speak we make sure you have time to meet and network with them too, at our full lunch and two complimentary receptions. The full programme can be found at www.imieurope.com.

We strive to put on the best conference programmes possible, and at IMI Europe we are truly independent and don’t have to follow the interests of a membership. What we do is keep a finger on the pulse and invite the best speakers who represent emerging technologies and markets.  We hope you will join us in Barcelona this year and benefit from the outstanding programme we have to offer.

Mike Willis, IMI Europe