Superior Printing Ink's Sal Moscuzza Receives NAPIM's Printing Ink Pioneer Award
By David Savastano
Sal Moscuzza, left, receives NAPIM’s Printing Ink Pioneer Award from NAPIM president Dave Frescoln
“I always wanted more to do,” Mr. Moscuzza said.
Mr. Moscuzza more than got his wish. Mr. Moscuzza, Superior Printing Ink’s senior vice president and principal ink technologist, has led his company’s efforts in numerous fields, including engineering, safety and the environment. He has also poured his efforts into education throughout the years. As a result, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) honored Mr. Moscuzza with itsprestigious Printing Ink Pioneer Award at its 2007 Annual Convention.
“Sal deserves all of the accolades,” said Harvey Brice, former owner of Superior Printing Ink. “I met Sal the first day I started at Superior, when he was still in the matching department. Sal gave all his efforts in learning the ink industry from the bottom up, and he became instrumental in helping us grow. I’m very proud of his achievements. He put us on the map in sheetfed offset in the U.S., and he excelled in everything we asked him to do.”
Joining the Ink Industry
In 1961, Mr. Moscuzza began his career in the ink industry at the age of 17 with Bernhard and Meiners, an ink company located on Canal Street in New York City. Even then, he took onevery opportunity for learning.
“During my six months at B&M, I learned a tremendous amount from its owner, Paul LoBianco, who was a great teacher,” Mr. Moscuzza recalled. “He gave me a choice between learning from him or sweeping the floors. I learned a lot about varnishes and chemistry during my six months there.”
When B&M was unionized, Mr. Moscuzza was let go. He took chemistry classes at Brooklyn College while working at his father’s hardware store, where a customer gave him a contact at Superior Printing Ink.
“I met a fellow from J.M. Huber, Joe Balotti, who asked me if I wanted to go to work for an ink company,” Mr. Moscuzza said. “When my future father-in-law told me I should start looking for another job, I went to see Harry Krieger at Superior. Harry couldn’t believe I had learned so much in such a short time, and he sent me to Lou Pascuzzi, the company’s technical director.”
Mr. Moscuzza joined Superior as a trainee and color matcher. He quickly sought out as much information as he could absorb, whether it was learning about inks or varnishes, and he had an innate ability to take what he learned and apply it successfully.
“I always wanted more challenges,” Mr. Moscuzza said.“We had a brilliant varnish guy, Ben O’Lederer, and I would sneak off and head to the back to learn from him. One day I told Lou I wanted to tackle creating a good overprint varnish on my own time, and I came up with what would become our best-selling OPV at the time.”
In 1965, the company started a formal R&D lab, led by Mr. Pascuzzi and Mr. Moscuzza.
“There was a lot of black magic in the inks in the early 1960s,” Mr. Moscuzza recalled. “You learned a lot from making inks from scratch; you had to be an ink chemist.Letterpress pressmen were semi-ink makers, adjusting their own inks themselves, and we started adding our own additives by the early 1960s.”
New challenges were quickly taken on by Mr. Moscuzza, such as when Joe Simons, one of Superior Printing Ink’s owners, wanted the company to develop process inks.
“I went to Lou to ask him to let me develop our own ink,” Mr. Moscuzza said. “Those inks became our successful Super Gloss process inks.”
By 1981, Mr. Moscuzza was Superior’s R&D manager, and when Mr. Pascuzzi passed away in 1982, Mr. Moscuzza became technical director, holding that post for the next decade.
Super Tech Inks
Mr. Moscuzza’s thirst to learn and try new approaches led to many innovations, but his colleagues point to the creation of Superior Printing Ink’s Super Tech line of sheetfed inks as a huge success. At the time that Super Tech was created, sheetfed inks from Germany and Japan were successfully entering the U.S. market. These inks were being made from dry pigment, and Mr. Moscuzza traveled to Europe to see for himself how Superior could adapt to these changes.
“Sal was our technical director when German and Japanese imports began coming in which were technically way ahead of us, and he was able to develop our Super Tech line, which made us competitive,” said Stan Hittman, Superior Printing Ink’s executive vice president. "If he did not develop those inks, we would most likely not be around today.”
“He was responsible for putting Super Tech on the map – he developed our first Super Tech ink, which allowed us to compete in the market,” Mr. Brice said.
“Sal was instrumental in driving us to adapt the European formulating approach of using dry grind for the benefit of American printers, which led to our Super Tech line,” Mr. Simpson said.
Engineering and the CMF
While Mr. Moscuzza excelled in R&D, Superior Printing Ink’s leaders also saw that he has an excellent eye for engineering. In 1992, as the company embarked on creating a central manufacturing facility (CMF) in Hamden, CT, that would centralize production,the company asked Mr. Moscuzza to take over engineering. His work was most successful, and he has taken the lead on a wide variety of products since then, including the company’s new Teterboro, NJ headquarters.
“In 1992, we were working on our central manufacturing facility (CMF), and needed to start automating it,” Mr. Moscuzza said. “Harvey Brice sent me to Europe, and I could see that we needed to get more control by selecting our individual raw materials. I helped develop the CMF, and engineered the varnish plant we built next to it. Considering the cost of drums alone, we saved $250,000 the first year alone, plus we are saving on pallets and shipping.”
“Sal was instrumental in designing our CMF,” Mr. Hittman said. “Prior to the CMF, our branches had been making process inks, and his vision was to centralize our manufacturing to develop consistency. As a result, our CMF is not like any plant that is out there. Sal was also responsible for designing our new centralized varnish plant in Hamden and our new headquarters in Teterboro, and, most recently, our new facility in Los Angeles.”
The Importance of Education
Aside from his engineering work, Mr. Moscuzza is also responsible for training, as Superior, keeping close watch on the inks being blended at the branches as well as ensuring Superior’s technical people are up-to-date on new technologies.
“For his final project, Sal is traveling to all of our branches, training all of our new technical people and retraining our experienced people up to date on new equipment and test methods,” Mr. Hittman said.
“I monitor the inks being made at our branches, making sure our customers get the best formulations for the job,” Mr. Moscuzza said. “I catch things others would shrug off in formulas. You have to learn the nuances and how the ink can run better.
“I think I grew up at the best time to learn the industry. You did everything: made service calls, saw all the presses, had to make process inks that performed on all of these presses,” Mr. Moscuzza added.
Mr. Moscuzza also has put a great emphasis on education. He also worked closely with the National Printing Ink Research Institute (NPIRI), NAPIM’s research arm, serving on its board of directors, and received its Technical Achievement Award in 1997.
“Working with NPIRI is great – I have served on a lot of task forces, and I love to do things that will make things better,” Mr. Moscuzza said.
He also taught courses for printers, as well as mentored so many people at Superior Printing Ink.
“I taught at Amalgamated Union 1 for 20 years, a 34-week course that printers had to take to get their journeyman’s card, and still, to this day, people in the printing industry remember me and ask how I’m doing,” Mr. Moscuzza said. “I also was an adjunct professor for graphic arts at New York City Community College for two years when I substituted for Lou Pascuzzi, and enjoyed that as well. There’s not enough training in the industry.Training is lacking in the ink industry, and we have to find a venue.”
“Sal has been a tremendous mentor for so many people, not just at Superior but throughout the industry,” said Steve Simpson, senior vice president and chief technical officer for Superior Printing Ink.
“For 25 years, Sal was involved in training pressroom people,” Mr. Hittman said. “He wrote a training manual that is easily three or four inches thick, but he also knew you had to train people to do things right. His knowledge is incredible,” Mr. Hittman added.
After 47 years in the industry, Mr. Moscuzza intends to retire at the end of this March. He and his wife Nancy are building a house just outside of Hilton Head, SC, and he also will enjoy spending time with his daughter Kris and two granddaughters, Tessa and Carly. Mr. Moscuzza is also looking forward to enjoying travel: he has flown more than 900,000 miles during his years at Superior.
As Mr. Moscuzza looks back on his years in the industry, he is happy with what he has accomplished.
“It’s been a good road for me, to go from color matching to engineering, manufacturing and safety as well as the NPIRI board,” Mr. Moscuzza said. “I feel content in what I contributed to the business.”