MEMS technology is contributing to the inkjet printing industry revolution

Inkjet printing market is in transformation: “Not a revolution, but an evolution,” announces Yole Développement (Yole) in its latest MEMS report, Inkjet Printhead Market & Technology Trends report. And MEMS technology is largely contributing to that changes.

This new Yole’s inkjet printhead report, is gathering technology and market data collected during interviews with system and device manufacturers and equipment & materials suppliers. Under this new technology & market analysis, the consulting company proposes an overview of the MEMS inkjet printhead industry including applications trends, market quantification, list of key players and related market shares. Yole’s analysts detail the printhead industry ecosystem with a relevant competitive analysis and a detailed description of the supply chain. This report also includes a comprehensive technology roadmap.

With a market reaching US$ 1 billion in 2021 (CAGR : 1.8% between 2016 and 2021), the MEMS printhead is one of the most mature MEMS devices.

Without any doubts, MEMS technology is one of the key factor fostering access to new applications and markets. Yole highlights for example the introduction of thin film PZT deposition processes for better control and higher resolution. Industrial companies are also offering better accuracy and scalability of MEMS dies for higher integration first and then to allow single pass printing for high quality and throughput. At the end, the use of semiconductor serial processes directly impacts the printhead price compared to conventional printhead allowing significant cost reduction.
The transition is not only coming from the technology evolution and the MEMS printhead manufacturers (technology push) but also from the market with specific requirements (market pull):

“Today, MEMS technology is not only offering printing capabilities,” asserts Jérôme Mouly, Technology & Market Analyst, Yole. And he adds: “MEMS will create a new ecosystem including services and products around printing from manufacturing to dispensing and IoT.”

Amid this market (r)evolution, MEMS printhead manufacturer landscape has changed in the last 5 years due to high competitiveness in printing industry:
• The industry is today mainly made of large enterprise, led by HP Inc., representing 57% market share followed by Canon and Epson.
• Some companies are currently developing new MEMS-based products. They will give a new leverage to MEMS printead mature market. These companies including XAAR, Konica Minolta, Ricoh and Océ, are already players in conventional printheads sectors

According to Yole’s analysts, the MEMS printhead market is still expected to change in the next period. Yole already sees signs of changes:
• Lexmark sold its inkjet business to Funai in 2013.
• The major players HP Inc., Canon and Epson are diversifying activity from consumer to new printing opportunities.
• Most of the conventional piezo printhead players is more and more interested in MEMS technology to reach new markets

What are inkjet printheads writing in the future? MEMS printhead market will generate revenues combining flat sales coming from consumer market with relatively lower volume with high value printheads. From the technology side, emerging solutions will increase resolution, speed of ink to fire and suppress lead-based actuator materials to more and more environmental solutions. And companies will continue to invest in MEMS technologies using foundry services, to use the foundries’ technical knowledge and optimize manufacturing costs.

A detailed description of the MEMS printhead report is available on, MEMS & Sensors reports section.


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