Chemical indicator inks are used for monitoring sterilization process, and form a key component of chemical indicators. They are of the type that change colour in order to indicate successful sterilization of surgical equipment/accessory. When exposed to a specific type of sterilant, at pre-defined temperature conditions, they experience a permanent colour change.
One of the most vital processes carried out in the healthcare industry is the sterilization process. It directly influences safety of the patient as apt sterilization of surgical instruments, equipment and supplies are applied in direct patient care and surgery. Chemical indicators happen to be primary products that are used to confirm effectiveness of the sterilization process. This not only ensures the effective sterilization of surgical instruments and devices, but also helps assess the level of sterilization achieved. The chemical indicator inks market is also expected to be driven by the application of chemical indicator inks in the growing food canning industry, where meat, fish and other perishable food items are processed. All these factors make the study of the chemical indicator inks market a vital need.
The rising incidences of nosocomial infections and diseases at a global level is expected to increase the importance of even more stringent sterilization needs than in the past. Besides, regulatory bodies worldwide including the EU and EPA have recently been imposing strict regulations for mandatory sterilization for a wide range of surgical products. These factors are expected to drive the demand for chemical indicator inks at a global level.
It is expected that the market share of water-based chemical indicator inks would rise as stringent environmental regulations pertaining to emission of volatile organic compounds are expected to be on the rise in the near future, and that water-based chemical indicator inks conform to the relevant norms, when compared to other product segments. It has also been observed that superior product properties including better surface appearance, flow behaviour, improved colour and ink performance have been dictating the rising demand for chemical indicator inks. Amongst the sterilization processes applicable to chemical indicator inks usage, steam sterilization is free from toxic content, thereby making the sterilization processes extremely safe for instruments used for surgery. Hence, it is one of the most preferred techniques in the sterilization applications and also on all critical objects that are resistant to moisture and heat.
The market share for flexographic printing is expected to increase over the next few years as it is expected that there would be preference for eco-friendly composition of chemical indicator inks through water-based formulation – a key aspect of flexographic printing. However, the market share for rotogravure printing may rise only negligibly or not rise although the formulation for rotogravure printing is very identical to that of flexographic printing, due to more expensive printing components. In the coming few years, effortlessness of usage and instant identification of completion of the sterilization process is expected to drive the demand for tapes in the chemical indicator inks market.
On the basis of sterilization process, the chemical indicator inks market is segmented as follows: Steam, Ethylene oxide, Vaporized hydrogen peroxide and plasma, Formaldehyde, Others; On the basis of product type, the chemical indicator inks market is segmented as follows: Solvent-based, Water-based, UV-cured; On the basis of printing process, the chemical indicator inks market is segmented as follows: Flexographic printing, Rotogravure printing, Screen printing; On the basis of application type, the chemical indicator inks market is segmented as follows: Sterilizing bags, Bottles, Pre-fillable syringes, IV & blood containers, Pouches, Thermoformed trays, Tags and labels, Others (such as blister packs)
Examples of some of the market participants in the global chemical indicator inks market are as follows: North American Science Associates Inc. (NAMSA), RIKEN CHEMICAL Co., Ltd, 3M, Tempil (LA-Co Industries), NiGK Corporation, SteriTec Products Inc, Propper Manufacturing Company, Inc, ETIGAM bv, Terragene SA, gke GmbH, STERIS Corporation, Crosstex International Inc. (subsidiary of Cantel Medical Corporation)
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