Increasing global packaging demand and growing printing requirements for advertising and print media will drive the growth of the global flexographic printing machine market over the forecast timeline. Increasing trend of converting simple package formats to flexible packaging due to benefits such as shelf life extension, lightweight nature, and easy open/close has increased the demand for flexographic printing machines and the trend is expected to continue over the forecast timeline.

The adoption of e-books and internet has increased tremendously since the past decade. However, the demand for magazines, newspapers, and books is still relevant. The production of posters, flyers, and newspaper inserts also gets benefited from the flexographic machine’s ability to efficiently and quickly deal with larger print jobs. The printing capabilities of these printers are fairly flexible which can be used on other surfaces. The increasing demand for marketing and advertising flexes, billboards, and other media is expected to indirectly drive the demand for flexographic printing machines over the forecast period.

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Flexographic printing has a higher initial setup cost depending on the customization required. This increases the initial setup cost of the total printing equipment. The machine also has lower printing quality than lithographic printing and has trouble with printing smooth color gradients.  Moreover, it is difficult for flexographic printing to inherently print both process tones and solids within the same image carrier. All these factors are expected to restrict the growth of the flexographic printing machine market over the forecast timeline.

Gravure digital printing is emerging as a substitute to flexographic printing machines. Rotogravure printing equipment has premium print quality and can easily print photo images. The printing cylinder also lasts longer by printing high volumes with no deterioration in image quality. These printing benefits are expected to negatively impact the demand for flexographic printing equipment from 2018 to 2026. However, gravure printing machine also has disadvantages such as it does not have many coating options, requires high investment in tooling, and has larger minimums and longer lead times.

Technological advancements in ink quality is expected to offer potential growth opportunity for the flexographic printing machine market over the forecast time frame. Solvent based flexo inks tend to have a wider operation window which can be used for wider applications, particularly in the film structures. The industry has witnessed market shift from porous substrate printing to film printing within the folding carton, corrugated, and multi-walled bag market. This industry shift has benefited solvent-based inks and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast timeline.

The industry is expected to witness an opportunity to print on electronic circuits and solar cells via flexographic printing. The printing uses various equipment such as lithography, inkjet, screen printing, and flexography. In printed electronics, the optical inks and electronic functioning electronics are deposited on the substrate. Research and development is underway on the possibility of using flexographic printing for solar cells and electronic circuits.

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Asia Pacific accounted for a share of about 38% in the global flexographic printing machines market in 2016 at a CAGR of 4.7% from 2018 to 2026. Developments in the industrial sector in China and India are expected to fuel the usage of flexographic printing machines in Asia Pacific in the next few years. The region is experiencing steady growth in the packaging of consumer goods. Additionally, the low production cost of raw materials and supplies and the lower labor costs in China and India have led to an increase in the growth of local production of flexographic machines.

Manufacturers are focusing on technological advancements in the flexographic printing machine market. Some of the industry participants in this market are Aim Machintechnik Pvt. Ltd., Bobst Group SA, Comexi, Edale UK Limited, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, Koenig & Bauer, Mark Andy Inc., MPS Systems B.V., Nilpeter A/S, OMET, Palm Paper Machine, and Rotatek.

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