Sheetfed Ink Manufacturers Remain
Optimistic About the Future
In many ways, the sheetfed ink market serves as a microcosm of the state of the ink industry today. In North America alone, the sheetfed ink market is estimated to be $750 million, split between commercial and packaging printing. As is the case with printing in general, the packaging sheetfed side appears to have more growth, and UV technologies are enjoying solid gains.
Much as is the case with other printing technologies, the sheetfed market has been impacted by consolidation among printers, higher raw material costs and the continued emergence of digital technologies. Consolidation and digital printing have cut sharply into the number of smaller printing businesses, and many printers have chosen to offer both conventional and digital printing. Higher raw material costs have led to printing ink price increases being issued, although the tight market for printers is making these increases harder to implement. Transportation costs are also dramatically rising, which is having an impact on regional ink manufacturers.
Still, ink manufacturers are cautiously optimistic about the sheetfed market. The past year was relatively steady, and new technologies are helping printers become more efficient. With the increasing emphasis on sustainability, there is a thought that folding cartons will make some gains at the expense of flexible packaging.
There are plenty of challenges ahead, but as I note in my article on the sheetfed ink market beginning on page 41, ink industry leaders are relatively upbeat heading into 2008, which is hopefully a good sign of things to come.
For the past 12 years, our January issue features our U.S. Ink Directory, which begins on page 16. The U.S. Ink Directory is the ink industry’s only comprehensive listing of addresses, products, personnel and contact information, and once again, I am happy to note that we have found a wide variety of companies to add to our directory.
For me, the highlights of the U.S. Ink Directory are the calls to many of the entrepreneurs who are growing their companies during these challenging times. The U.S. Ink Directory remains one of our most popular features, and I am deeply appreciative to the ink industry leaders who help me with this feature.