In recent months, certain aspects of the printing ink industry have deservedly drawn much attention. The latter portion of 2005 featured an unprecedented wave of mergers and acquisitions, while the past year and a half witnessed skyrocketing raw material price increases.
These are certainly major trends impacting the ink industry. However, there are other critical trends that deserve notice.
One important trend of note is the changing nature of the printing industry, which is clearly seen in our reports on the sheetfed ink market, beginning on page 16, and our UV inkjet ink report, which starts on page 26.
These two articles illustrate the changing dynamics of the printing industry. The commercial sheetfed market is facing challenges brought on by overcapacity, consolidation, global production and the impact of digital technologies. The UV inkjet ink report shows strong growth, particularly in the wide format and label markets.
For ink manufacturers, realizing that these changes are occurring is a critical first step. However, being able to help your customers survive in today’s marketplace is essential. That help does not require putting prices so low as to not earn a living. Rather, it requires that ink manufacturers work together with their printing partners, developing technologies and offering services so that all will prosper.
Also in our issue, we have the privilege of publishing our 10th annual U.S. Ink Directory, the ink industry’s only comprehensive listing of addresses, products, personnel and contact information, which begins on page 30. Once again, I am pleased to report that we have found a variety of new companies to include.
In gathering the information for this report, I had the pleasure of speaking with many of the key leaders in the industry to see how business has been in 2005 and what they believe will occur in 2006. The good news is that, for the most part, 2005 offered some improvement.
The U.S. Ink Directory is one of our most popular features, and one of the articles that I greatly enjoy. I am deeply appreciative for the ink industry leaders who help me with this feature.