HP commits US$ 200 million to sustainable water-based ink innovation

Creating sustainable digital print solutions

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HP has committed US$ 200 million over five or more years to develop water-based ink technologies for printing digitally on corrugated packaging and textiles. The company’s commitment complements its ongoing investments in other printing technologies and markets aimed at creating sustainable digital print solutions. Traditional textile coloration makes use of technologies that can be problematic from the water emission perspective. World Resources Institute estimates that about 20% of industrial water pollution comes from garment manufacturing.

“Investing in the water-based solutions that meet market needs and the increasing sustainability requirements of graphics customers is expected to propel the business growth for HP,” said Santi Morera, general manager and global head of Graphics Solutions, HP. “We will be dedicating resources toward continued innovation and industry disruption to accelerate safer, simpler, and more sustainable water-based printing technologies that meet the quality, performance, and economics needed by these markets.”

Future of the market

HP’s water-based inks for corrugated packaging include applications such as food packaging. The company is investing in the production of inks, printheads and press technology, with improved quality, performance and sustainability, with the belief that water-based solutions are the future of this market.

This announcement builds on HP’s existing innovation in water-based ink technology, such as for the sign and display market. Water-based HP Latex Inks, for example, have established a durable, versatile and safer alternative for existing inks used for signage and displays.

“HP’s continuing investment in advancing water-based ink technology gives DS Smith the confidence that we will meet the health and safety demands of our customers, along with our high standards for the work environment for our employees,” said Ruediger Lindner, general manager, DS Smith.

Robert Seay, general manager, Georgia-Pacific Hummingbird said, “Water-based inkjet inks are a technology differentiator in corrugated packaging, enabling us to confidently address a broader range of applications from food and beverage to personal care products.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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