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 a new report from NanoMarkets,
an industry analyst firm based here. Additional details about the report can
be found on the firm's website at www.nanomarkets.net.
- 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 (PCBs.)
Inkjet has also been a key fabrication tool for the emerging business of "large
area" electronics that 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, to smart packaging
to drug delivery systems. However, this field is still searching for innovative
new materials which 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
- Inkjet offers 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 3-D 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 include 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.