NPIRI Conference Examines Sustainability and the Environment
Ink manufacturers, suppliers, printers and print buyers were on hand to discuss the sustainability and environmental issues during NPIRI’s annual technical conference.
By David Savastano
Sustainability, “green” technologies and the environment are of tremendous interest throughout the
Among the notables at the NPIRI Awards Dinner were, from left, past TAA award winner Andrew Matthews, Hexion Lecture honoree Tim Klots, past TAA award recipients Sal Moscuzza and Lisa Fine, 2008 TAA award honoree Danny Rich, 2008 TAM award recipient Dan DeLegge and his wife Christie; and TAA honorees Joe Cichon and Pete Notti.
In keeping with this interest, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) tailored the National Printing Ink Research Institute’s (NPIRI) 52nd Annual Technical Conference around the theme, “Ink – Materials and Technologies for a Sustainable Future.” The conference, held at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, AZ, from Sept. 23-25, featured complete sessions on sustainability as well as talks by printers and print buyers. In addition, the closing session examined some future opportunities for growth.
The conference opened with a trio of well-attended short courses: “Rheology – Theory and Application,” a brief account of rheology principles, conducted by Dr. Saeid Savarmand of Sun Chemical; “Pigment Dispersion Technology,” a discussion of the important technical aspects related to creating successful pigment dispersion, presented by Christopher Rueb of Aveka; and “Eco-Efficiency Analysis,” led by Christopher Bradlee of BASF, an overview of the BASF eco-efficiency analysis, which is a strategic lifecycle tool that compares the relative ecological and economic efficiencies of alternative products, production processes and technologies.
Immediately following lunch, the opening session began with Jeff Koppelman, president of Gans Ink & Supply and recipient of the 2008 Ault Award, NAPIM’s highest honor, who discussed “Technology’s Role in the Business Plan.”
“The role of technology can be summed up in one word – huge,” Mr. Koppelman said. “Since 1980, I have seen waves of gradual technical improvements by companies of all sizes. We are by nature an industry of tweakers.”
The opening session speakers included, from left, George Casper of Dopaco, Diane Parisi of Flint Group, Jeff Koppelman of Gans Ink & Supply, moderator Gerald Napiecek of Colorcon, No-Tox Products, and Allen Marquardt of Kimberly-Clark.
“The perception in packaging is that water-based inks are best, but to me, I’d rather have a very well controlled solvent-based ink system,” Mr. Marquardt said. In terms of inks, Mr. Marquardt also noted that Kimberly-Clark seeks inks that pop out on the shelf, including specialty inks like high opacity, matte and gloss, metallics or pearlized.
George Casper of Dopaco followed that talk with “A Converter’s View on Green Packaging.” Diane Parisi, Flint Group’s vice president supply chain management – North America, closed the session with an overview of the “Global Printing and Ink Markets,” analyzing what has occurred in the printing and printing ink markets from a volume and dollars perspective from 2006 and projections through 2011, with a detailed look at which market segments are growing as well as shrinking.
According to Ms. Parisi, the global printing market in 2006 was $610 billion, and is projected to be $721 billion in 2011. Asia is expected to grow by 29 percent; North America, by contrast, is anticipated to grow by 6.3 percent.
In particular, Ms. Parisi noted that the developing markets will outperform mature markets, with India anticipated to be the leader with more than 70 percent growth.
In terms of ink, it is expected that the market will grow from $20.2 billion in 2006 to $26 billion in 2011.
The speakers during the concurrent session on sustainability included, from left, Jos de Wit of Eastman Chemical, Jo Grosemans of Cytec Industries, Tim Fontana of Arizona Chemical, Christopher Bradlee of BASF, Jeanine Snyder of Air Products and Chemicals and Rick Krause of BASF Resins. Graham Battersby is not pictured.
Meanwhile, raw material prices will continue to have a major impact.
“Prior to 2005, ink companies drove raw material costs down, but gave away their gains to customers,” Ms. Parisi said. “As a result, now there are razor-thin margins, and printers in general don’t believe that price increases are justified. Meanwhile, refinery capacity is shifting to higher-margin products. Continued consolidation, the VAT fiasco and REACH are also having a significant impact on our business.”
The tabletop and poster board sessions followed the talks.
Sustainability and Raw Materials
The second day featured concurrent morning sessions on sustainability and new developments.
Graham Battersby opened the sustainability session with his “Raw Material Volatility Report.” Mr. Battersby said that the changes in VAT by China were implemented with two weeks’ notice, a major problem as China produces two-thirds of the world’s organic pigments. “Now we are facing the consequences of all the pigment plants that have shut down,” he noted.
He detailed some of the individual impacts that are involved. For example, coal tar, a key ingredient in napthalene for bon acid, is now being burned for fuel. In phthalo blue, copper is being used for building in China, while urea is being used as a fertilizer. A number of benzene plants, a key ingredient in yellow pigments, are being closed in China for wastewater violations. These plant shutdowns have reduced capacity.
“The pigment price increases were immediate,” Mr. Battersby said. “Pigment costs had dropped 50 percent during the previous years, and pigment companies want to make money. Who can blame them?”
Mr. Battersby was followed by Tim Fontana of Arizona Chemical, who presented the “Offset Report.” Rick Krause of BASF Resins then discussed “Water-Based Resins for Printing and Packaging.” Mr. Krause noted that 300 million pounds of flexo inks were sold in 2007, and considering the average solvent-based ink contains 60 percent VOCs compared to 3 percent VOCs in a water-based ink, it equates to 170 million fewer pounds of VOCs emitted annually.
The raw materials session included, from left, Tim Klots of BASF, Lisa Fine of Flexo Tech, Ros Waldo of Cytec, moderator Pete Notti of Ink Systems, Ros Allen of Hewlett-Packard, and John MacPhee of Baldwin Technologies.
“Sustainable Development of Raw Materials for Ink,” presented by Jos de Wit of Eastman Chemical, discussed the use of renewable raw materials such as cellulose to make polymers used in inks and coatings, as well as how solvents can be used to reduce ozone generated from ink and coating applications.
Mr. Bradlee of BASF closed the sustainability session with “Eco-Efficiency Analysis,” a shortened version of his short course session.
On the raw material side, Lisa Fine of Flexo Tech led off with “Stability and Coalescence of Emulsion Polymers,” focusing on the important role emulsion polymers play in the printing and drying of ink films. “Hidden Errors in Density Measurements Created by Local Spatial Validations,” by John MacPhee of Baldwin Technologies, followed Ms. Fine’s talk.
Ros Allen of Hewlett-Packard then gave a presentation on “Latex Ink Technologies.” The polymer used in HP’s Latex Inks is synthetic, and the ink itself is water-based. Mr. Allen said that these latex inks provide the benefits of solvent-based technology, such as outdoor durability, without the environmental, health and safety concerns.
“Advances in Energy Curable Technologies: Acrylates for Green Printing,” presented by Ros Waldo of Cytec Industries, discussed bioligomers, a new class of fully acrylated oligomers partially based on renewable resources. “Engineering Ink Color via Emulsion Design,” by Timothy Klots of BASF, analyzed chromatically selective scattering emulsions (CSSE), in which particle size is controlled to generate a range of scattering behavior.
Following the afternoon golf outing and off-site trips, the evening featured the annual NPIRI Awards Dinner & Reception. The highlights were Dan DeLegge, vice president of Inksolutions LLC, being presented with the Technical Associate Member (TAM) Service Award, and Dr. Danny Rich, color physicist for Sun Chemical, receiving the prestigious Award for Technical Achievement (TAA). Timothy Klots and David Schatz of BASF Resins received top honors in the Hexion Paper Award, followed by Mr. Baldwin and Ms. Hahn. Four people shared in the Lubrizol Poster Board competition: Bemly Randeniya of Arizona State University, Cytec’s Andrew Seecharan, Anthony Cieri of Superior Printing Ink and Jeff Buchman of Lubrizol Advanced Materials.
A Look to the Future
The final day of the conference featured a series of talks centered around the future for the ink industry. Joel Zlotnick of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement opened the session with “The Role of Forensic Ink Analysis in Questioned Document Examination,” a look at counterfeiting, and how ink can help investigators determine the validity of a document. Mr. Zlotnick offered numerous examples of counterfeiting in his talk, and welcomed the opportunity to work with ink manufacturers to develop a complete ink library.
Denise Olson of UPM-Kymmene then discussed “What is the Environmental Footprint of Paper?” I then
The closing session featured talks by, from left, Joel Zlotnick of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Jan Sumerel of Fujifilm Dimatix, moderator Ron Tarewicz of Colorcon, No-Tox Products, David Savastano of Ink World, Denise Olson of UPM-Kymmene, Kerstin Grosse of Buhler, and Mark Ortalano of Sun Chemical.
“Nanotechnology Applications to Pigments and Inks,” presented by Mark Ortalano of Sun Chemical, examined some of the novel applications for nanotechnology, and how ink and pigments may benefit. Pointing to areas such as self-cleaning fibers and odor-resistant textiles, Mr. Ortalano said, “There are a lot of cool things going on.”
“Printing Light Harvesting Biological ‘Devices’ and Other Functional Materials Applicable to Organic Photovoltaics,” presented by Jan Sumerel of Fujifilm Dimatix, presented a look at the promising new area of conductive inks. Kerstin Grosse of Buhler closed the session with “Grinding and Dispersing Technologies through the Eyes of an Equipment Supplier.”
NAPIM and NPIRI leaders said that the feedback on the conference, from the presentations to the hotel itself, was uniformly excellent.
“We had a good turnout,” said Jim Coleman, NAPIM’s executive director. “We got a lot of good feedback on our program, which responses said was current and meaningful. One benefit was that we were able to give the perspective of both the printer and print buyer. Our short courses were outstanding, and received excellent ratings.”
“I have gotten nothing but positive feedback,” said Pete Notti, Ink Systems’ vice president and chair of the conference. “The talks were timely, as our attendees are interested in discussing the environment, green chemistries and sustainability, and they’ve told me that the presentations were very good. Quite a few people came up to me and said that these talks have gotten them thinking, and that’s the best thing I can hear.”
Next year, NAPIM will hold the NPIRI Technical Conference at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, FL. For more information, contact NAPIM at (732) 855-1525 or on the web at www.napim.org.