The world market for bar code printers will grow to $1.9 billion in 2005, up 12% over 2004, forecasts Venture Development Corp. (VDC), a technology research firm based in Natick, Mass. Stationary thermal printers are the most commonly used technology, accounting for two-thirds of industry sales. Portable thermal printers currently make up 8.3% of the market, a proportion that VDC expects to climb slightly (to 10%) over the next 5 years.
The adoption of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is driving the growing use of high-end thermal bar code printers. RFID printer/encoder sales will grow 88% this year.
VDC expects growth of non-thermal printing to occur in specialized environments that require direct part marking operating in-line on a conveyor. Shipments of non-thermal printers are expected in office environments where ink-jet printers are becoming increasingly adopted to support bar code printing requirements.