GLEN ALLEN, VA /PRNewswire/ -- State-of the-art inks and other materials are opening up new applications for inkjet as a manufacturing tool. As a result, the market for functional inkjet inks will reach $5.5 billion by 2016, according to the new report "Materials for Functional Inkjet Printing: A Market Forecast, 2009-2016" from NanoMarkets, an industry analyst firm based here.
- New materials provide inkjet with the ability to lower costs and increase performance in many areas of traditional electronics. For example, jetted tin/lead solders provide a less expensive way to fabricate interconnects for relatively simple devices, such as resistors and most photonic devices. Conversely, jetted silver and copper provide smaller features and enhanced conductivity compared with current screen-printing methods for printed circuit boards. Inkjet has also been a key fabrication tool for the emerging business of large-area electronics, which features displays, lighting, RFID tags, sensors, and photovoltaic panels often fabricated from organic conductors and semiconductors. By 2016, the market for jetted materials for display and signage applications alone should reach $1.2 billion.
- Inkjet is a non-contact process, which makes it more suitable than other functional printing systems for creating structures on delicate and difficult-to-work with substrates, such as textiles, board, and even human tissue. A broad range of conductive, photoactive, thermally sensitive, memory retentive, and chemically sensitive jettable inks is becoming available that will make inkjet a key fabrication approach for products from wearable electronics and smart packaging to drug delivery systems. However, this field is still searching for innovative new materials that are likely to involve interesting hybrids; nanoparticles of clay can be added to polymers and coated on textiles for greater penetration resistance, for example. By 2016, jettable materials for RFID, smart packaging, labels, and brand protection alone will account for almost $1.0 billion in revenues.
- Inkjet also offers new and better ways to create biomedical products from and to work with biological materials. The small size of the inkjet print head nozzle makes jetting ideal for engineering biological materials. Inkjet printing of diagnostic assays and the range of emerging applications in this sector is very broad. They include tissue engineering, drug delivery, drug screening, and applications in genomics, biotechnology, and biosensors. Some of these applications are revolutionary; organ printing, computer-aided jet-based tissue engineering, allows the building of a 3D object—a specific tissue or cell type—with living biological material. This sector has made great strides using off-the-shelf printers, but there are still plenty of opportunities to create improved inks, both in terms of novel biomaterials that go into the inks and in terms of ink formulations that speed up processing.
- Combined with novel photopolymers, ceramics, polymer-clay nanocomposites, and polymer blend inks, inkjet provides easier-to-use, more compact, and more affordable 3D modeling and rapid prototyping. This will enable designers and engineers to accelerate fabrication processes and time to market; the turnaround for prototypes can effectively be reduced from weeks to hours.
About the Report
The new NanoMarkets report "Materials for Functional Inkjet Printing: A Market Forecast, 2009-2016" provides a complete analysis of the commercial opportunities for jettable materials for functional printing. In addition to the applications mentioned above, other applications covered include automotive components, MEMS, security printing, photovoltaics, adhesive dispensing, and ceramics and glass dispensing. A full range of inks are covered, including the aqueous, solvent-based, UV/EB, hot-melt/phase-change, and oil-based varieties. The report contains detailed eight-year volume and value forecasts broken out by volume, value, and geographical region, and the report contains detailed discussion of both existing products and current R&D.
NanoMarkets tracks and analyzes emerging market opportunities in electronics created by developments in advanced materials. The firm has published numerous reports related to organic, thin-film, and printable electronics materials and applications. The firm also publishes a blog.