The global ink additives market is projected to witness considerable growth during the forecast period owing to increasing demand from the packaging industry. Additives improve the performance, color, appearance, finish, printability, three-dimensional effect, and adhesion of ink. The type of additive used depends on the characteristics of the product and application. For instance, defoamers prevent foaming during the manufacturing process and are suitable for water-based flexographic and gravure printing.
Rheology modifiers, slip/rub materials, defoamers, and dispersants are the key product types in the ink additives market. Rheology modifiers hold a prominent share in the ink additives industry. They can be further divided into synthetic water-based and solvent-based, inorganic, and cellulosic. They are generally added to adjust the rheology profile of inks. Slip/rub materials are also anticipated to emerge highly lucrative owing to their widespread usage as polishes and growing demand from end-use applications, such as inkjet, graphic art, and publishing. Dispersants are used for stabilizing pigments, binder particles, and fillers whereas defoamers are added to reduce foam formation during the production process.
On the basis of process, the ink additives market can be segmented as flexography, gravure printing, and lithography. Flexography is leading the market owing to its growing popularity in North America and Europe, volatile organic compound emissions, increasing regulations, and odor issues. Gravure printing holds a prominent share than flexography in Asia Pacific.
The major applications in the ink additives market are packaging, publishing, and commercial printing. Packaging accounts for a share of approximately 40% in the industry owing to expansion in production capacities and increasing demand for packaged food. For instance, in 2017, Flint Group, a leading company serving the global printing, converting & colorant industries, opened a new facility in Turkey for its packaging division.
In addition, companies are involved in novel product introduction to meet growing demand from the end-use industries. For example, in June 2018, Toyo Ink Brasil Ltda. introduced new high-performance polyurethane-based surface and lamination inks for flexography and gravure printing.
Water-based and solvent-based are the two major technologies employed in the market. Water-based technology is anticipated to witness significant growth in the market due to regulations pertaining to VOC emissions, which has resulted in a shift from solvent-based to water-based technology among manufacturers.
The ink additives market can be segmented on the basis of geography as North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & South America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is a prominent region in the market due to high ink production in the region and the presence of leading manufacturers in countries, such as China, Japan, and India.
Despite increase in raw material prices and stringent regulations, manufacturers are increasing their production capacities. For example, in 2017, Sakata INX invested USD 21.6 million (150 million yuan) in a new plant in Maoming, Guangdong province, China to manufacture environment-friendly offset ink, and SPGPrints and expand its facility twice for supporting production of digital inks.
However, stringent regulations pertaining to food packaging have emerged as a major challenge in the industry. The products are required to meet several regulations such as REACH, California’s Proposition 65, and EPA that are established to maintain the safety of food and prevent the migration of toxic chemicals from inks into food. Hence, end-use restrictions such as Nestle compliance and low migration are also being considered during production of inks and their additives.
Key players operating in the ink additives market include ALTANA, BASF, Croda International Plc, Elementis plc, Evonik Industries AG, Huntsman International LLC, PolyOne, Solvay, and The Dow Chemical Company. Manufacturers are adopting various strategies, such as mergers & acquisitions in order to gain a competitive edge in the market. For instance, in January 2017, Evonik Industries AG, a leading specialty chemicals company, acquired the specialty additives business (Performance Materials Division) of Air Products, Inc. for USD 3.8 billion with an aim to increase profits and strengthen the market position in the specialty additives market.
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