The Future of Inkjet Printing

inkjet market valueMost consumers are familiar with inkjet technology in the form of their home or office printer, but the basic technology behind your HP or Canon printer is used in many different industries. As you might expect, inkjet printing is used for printing on paper and card in a wide variety of scenarios, including printing product labels, packaging, and paper media, but inkjet technology is also applied to printing tasks that you might not be aware of.

A recent study from Smithers Pira reveals that with recent and coming advances in inkjet technology, the global market value for inkjet printing is expected to more than double in the next five years, and the proportion of printing tasks utilising inkjet printing as opposed to other methods is set to increase from 4 percent to 7 percent of the market value of the printing industry.

Where is inkjet printing used currently?

In addition to consumer-grade desktop printers and industrial-grade inkjet printers in the paper and packaging industries, a number of other industries also employ inkjet technologies.

Textile Printing

Inkjet printing technology is the digitally controlled placement of small drops of liquid onto a surface, and it works just as well with dyes as inks. Inkjet printing on textiles is widely used in the fabrics industry, but it’s also possible to use a consumer inkjet printer to print your own fabric designs. Take a look at the video below for a great demonstration of how to do this with your own printer.

Glass and Ceramics

Inkjet printing is also frequently used for printing onto glass and ceramics to  create decorative tiles and other interior decorating and architectural objects. Take a look at this article for a more detailed explanation of this process, and the video below to see it in action.

Photovoltaic Cells

Solar cells are an important part of building a sustainable energy infrastructure, and by using inkjet technology to lay down the components onto a substrate, photovoltaics can be produced more quickly and cheaply. Using inkjet printing techniques is significantly more efficient than traditional methods, and reduces wastage of expensive and environmentally-damaging chemical components by 90 percent.

Where is Inkjet Printing headed?


Digital nanoprinting uses newly developed technology to produce droplets that are much smaller than ever before, smaller than bacteria. Using drops this small results in radically more precise and high-resolution images.

Scent Printing

Since inkjet printing is basically just shooting fluids at a surface, there’s no reason they have to be inks or dyes. Japanese scientists have been working on printers that can print long-lasting scents onto documents. Soon the rose on your Valentine’s card really might smell as sweet.


Many people have to take carefully-dosed regimens of multiple medications and precise times during the day. Imagine if instead they could take exact, personally-tailored combinations and doses printed onto one pill with inkjet technology.

If you have any other cool uses for inkjet printing, let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Corey Northcutt

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