Inks are the liquid or paste like semi-liquid materials used in printing, writing, or drawing applications. Inks in general are colloidal systems that principally include a colorant, a binder, a solvent, and additives. Ink solvents are one of the key raw materials used for colloidal suspension of dyes or pigments. Ink solvents can be classified into two types based on the raw materials used in the manufacturing of solvent, namely petroleum-based/organic or bio-based (derived from bio-based materials such as methyl soyate, ethyl lactate, bio-ethanol, and others). Petroleum-based or organic solvents presently dominate the market in terms of volume while the growth rate of bio-based solvents is anticipated to increase faster than organic solvents considering the several environmental regulations related to organic solvents used in printing inks. The market for bio-based ink solvents is expected to increase in the near future as they do not contain any hazardous chemicals, making these solvents completely safe for usage. The current applications of ink solvents majorly include packaging, paper printing, cardboard printing, etc. Flexographic printing which uses flexible printing plates made of plastic is one of the most lucrative markets for ink solvents. The market for ink solvents is mainly dominated by Asia Pacific, typically by countries such as China, Japan, and others, followed by North America and Western Europe.
Ink solvents are primarily used in printing applications which involve paper printing, cardboard printing, and textile printing. Significant growth in the printing inks market is likely to propel the demand for ink solvents in the next few years especially in flexible and rigid packaging applications. Applications in packaging printing, cardboard printing, and other paper based printing are expected to dominate the ink solvents market in the next eight years.
Presently, the ink solvents market is largely dominated by solvents such as toluene, methyl ethyl ketone, xylene, mineral spirits, acetone, and numerous other organic solvents. However, the growth of organic ink solvents is expected to be restrained considering the stringent environmental regulations likely to be imposed on them in the next few years. This in turn is likely to propel the need for substitutes based on bio-based materials. Moreover, various printing ink manufacturers are shifting toward water-based inks (water as a solvent) considering the advantages such as lower flammability ratings, making them better than their solvent based counterparts. Overall, the market for ink solvents is predicted to experience a shift from conventional organic solvent formulations to water-based or bio-based solutions in the next few years.
The mature market for commercial printing in developed countries poses a challenge for ink solvents in developed regions; however, the demand from packaging as well as commercial printing is expected to remain high in developing countries like India, Brazil, and Africa, making this market extremely lucrative in the next few years. Developing nations across Asia Pacific are anticipated to be the highest growing markets for ink solvents in the next eight years. Major players operating in the ink solvents market are primarily focusing on emerging countries to tap their immense market potential. With increase in environmental regulations set forth by agencies in developed countries, key companies operating in the organic ink solvents market are anticipated to shift production toward bio-based ink solvents.
The key players operating in the ink solvents market are Ineos AG, Eastman Chemical Company, Ashland Inc. Evonik Industries AG, Vertec Biosolvents Inc., ExxonMobil Chemical, Sasol Solvents, Arkema S.A., Shell Chemicals, and Celanese Corporation.
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