During the second half of 2004, two themes – one good and the other one troublesome – were consistently were heard from printing ink manufacturers. The good news was that sales were picking up for most ink manufacturers, which was the first time we have heard this since 2000.
The bad news was that raw material prices were increasing faster than sales. Key ingredients were either impacted by rapidly rising energy costs or are in short supply, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.
In another piece of good news for the ink industry, the leading ink manufacturers realized that there wasn’t much left to cut out of their operations to become more cost efficient, and decided that the time had come to raise prices. It also seems that the ink companies are generally holding fast on these increases.
These are just a few of the key trends that appear in our 2005 U.S. Top 20 Ink Companies, which begins on page 24, and Companies to Watch, starting on page 67. In our report, ink industry leaders discuss the past year and look ahead to the future. As always, these reports, the most comprehensive in the ink industry, are packed with essential information.
Another theme that comes up frequently is the international nature of the ink business, a topic that I go into in much greater depth on page 24. It is a particularly salient point this month, as the European Coatings Show is being held April 25-28 in Nurnberg, Germany. In addition to the hundreds of ink industry leaders who attend the show, there is the Ink Makers’ Forum, 3rd European Congress on Printing Inks, scheduled for April 27, featuring a number of excellent talks.
Also on the international scene, the Asia-Pacific Coatings Show, May 10-12 in Singapore, promises to be a draw for ink manufacturers.The National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) is holding its annual convention in Bonita Springs, FL. The Color Pigments Manufacturers Association (CPMA) is hosting its International Color Pigments Conference, focusing on Innovation in Color Technology, in Baltimore, MD from April 20-22. It is indeed a busy time for the industry, and Ink World will be at each of these important events.
Finally, you may have noticed the front cover we have prepared for this unique issue. Ink World worked with Colour Innovations, a high-end sheetfed printer based in Toronto, Canada, which designed this cover utilizing MetalFX technology. Colour Innovations used Eckart and Hostmann-Steinberg inks to create our cover. For more information on how it was produced, please see our story on page 81.