The demand for innovative printing practices has been on a high in recent times. Printing ink is a mixture of colouring matter dispersed or dissolved in a vehicle or carrier, to form a fluid or paste which is used for printing on a substrate and then dried. Depending on the process and end use, inks are classified into letterpress, lithographic, flexographic, rotogravure, and others.
Ink is a complex medium composed of solvents, pigments, dyes, resins, lubricants, solubilizers, surfactants, particulate matter, fluorescers, and other materials. The components of inks serve many purposes; the ink’s carrier, colorants, and other additives are used to control flow and thickness of the ink and its appearance when dry.
Today's inks are divided into two classes: printing inks and writing inks. Printing inks are further broken down into two subclasses: ink for conventional printing, in which a mechanical plate comes in contact with or transfers an image to the paper or object being printed on; and ink for digital nonimpact printing, which includes ink-jet and electrophotographic technologies.
Printing ink industry is seen augmenting its turnover on the back of a strong growth in its user industries such as newspaper, flexible packaging and publishing. The Indian print industry will be worth around $27 billion by 2012. All products and services that cater to banking, telecom, education, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods segments in the Indian market have grown. Today, India is increasingly viewed as a print outsource destination which means that the exports in the publishing business have also grown.
The Main Segments of the Indian Printing Inks Industry includesNewspaper Inks, Sheet fed offset, Flexographic & Gravure Inks, Can Coatings & Inks, Screen Printing Inks, Speciality Inks, Inkjet Inks, Marking & Coding Inks, UV Coatings inks, etc.The Market leaders in the ink industry includes:Seigwerk, Huber, DIC, Organic Coatings, Fujifilm, Sakata, Flint, etc.
The printing ink industry in India is dominated by multinational companies. Besides DIC, Flint and Sakata of Japan specialize in the manufacture of inks.
Among the domestic players, Hindustan Inks has large capacities in India and now in the US as well.
Currently, the printing ink market in India is worth Rs.16 billion and is growing at the rate of 15-18 percent yearly. There are around 25 – 35 ink makers in the medium size category and an estimated 200 ink makers in the small scale segment. In terms of tonnage of ink manufactured in India, it is estimated to be 110 million tonnes. The ink demand in the Newspaper Industry grew rapidly over the past 3 – 4 years by nearly 20%. In spite of the global meltdown, the newspaper industry has grown nearly 25% in readership. The Packaging Industry which is another main consumer of printing ink, has witnessed a growth of approximately 12.5% and the corrugated packing industry grew by over 8%.The flexible packaging growth is in excess of 15% with the expansion of the food and retail industry.Another area of high growth driver is expected in the Can Coating segment which is presently at 3 – 4% growth but is expected to show an increase when more food products like meats and seafood are increasingly packaged and the beverage industry expands with increase in consumption of Sodas, Soft Drinks, Tea,Coffee and Beer. Other segment of Ink consumption in screen printing is also showing steady growth trends. The Electronic Industry has special demands for inks for PCBs, Membranes and Touch Panels, etc.The Inkjet ink requirement in the country is expanding rapidly. Though the majority of inks for this industry are presently imported, there is a large scope for new players. There is a great opportunity and demand for Indian inks makers as well as International Brands in Indian markets.