The Recession Takes a Toll on the Ink Industry
The global recession has obviously had a major impact on printing ink manufacturers, particularly on the publication and commercial ink side. As is clear from our annual North American Top 20 Report, most ink manufacturers reported a decline in sales during 2009. In particular, the publication and commercial markets were much more heavily affected, while the packaging ink side remained relatively steady during 2009.
One of the side effects of the recession is the increased rise in merger and acquisition activity among printers. There are major consolidation efforts underway, headlined by Quad/Graphics planned acquisition of World Color Press Inc., formerly Quebecor World, which was announced in January. Once approved by authorities, the combined company will be the second-largest printer in the Americas. Although not of the same magnitude, R.R. Donnelley, the largest printer in the Americas, made its own sizable acquisition when it announced plans to purchase Bowne & Co.
On the packaging side, Bemis acquired Alcan Packaging Food Americas, while Amcor acquired Alcan Packaging Food Europe and Food Asia, Global Pharmaceutical and Global Tobacco.
In the last two years, we have seen consolidation on the supplier side as well, most notably the major acquisitions made by BASF (Ciba Specialty Chemicals) and Dow Chemical (Rohm & Haas) more than a year ago.
Surprisingly, this M&A activity has yet to occur in the North American ink industry, with the exception of Sun Chemical’s acquisition of Handschy Industries in May 2009. Even though the customer base is shrinking on the publication and commercial side, ink companies are continuing to make a go of it. They are relying on service and innovation to see them through this economic crisis, although, as a result of the increased use of the internet as well as digital technologies, it is likely that the publication printing industry will not recover to past levels.
Most of the ink industry executives I spoke with said they saw some improvement near the end of2009, and they are cautiously optimistic that the worst is behind them. Time will tell if 2010 will bring better news to the industry.
Ink World Editor
Sun Chemical Corporation
35 Waterview Blvd.
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Phone: (973) 404-6000
Fax: (973) 404-6001
Sales: Sun Chemical had annual sales of $3.5 billion in printing inks and colorants worldwide. North American Sales: $1.6 billion (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: Broad product portfolio with capabilities in web heatset and sheetfed offset; publication and packaging gravure; news ink and publication coldset; flexographic packaging inks; corrugated packaging inks; energy curable inks and coatings; screen inks, label and narrow web inks, toner, inkjet materials, adhesives for packaging, overprint varnishes, specialty coatings, effect inks, color software and brand color management, printed electronics, security inks and coatings, and organic colorants for inks, plastics, paints, coatings and cosmetics.
Key Personnel: Rudi Lenz, president and CEO, Sun Chemical and Board member.
Key Leaders in alphabetical order: Cynthia Arnold, chief technology officer; Martin Cellerier, VP, corporate strategy; Eric Finkelman, VP, general counsel and secretary; Robert Fitzka, group managing director Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Eastern Europe, Russia, France and Benelux; John Gowlett, VP, global operations; Gregory Lawson, president, Sun Chemical Latin America; Brian Leen, president, Sun Chemical North America; John McKeown, senior VP, chief administration officer; Felipe Mellado, chief marketing officer; Charles Murray, group managing director UK, Ireland, Scandinavia and Finland; Carlo Musso, group managing director Italy, Iberia, Turkey and the Middle East; Myron Petruch, president, Performance Pigments; Edward Pruitt, chief procurement officer.
Number of Employees: More than 10,000 worldwide.
Operating Facilities: Sun Chemical has more than 250 manufacturing and service locations worldwide and more than 200 customer in-plant locations in the U.S. alone.
Comments: The printing industry has suffered a decline in recent years, as the global recession and fundamental changes on the publication and commercial side of the industry have combined to heavily impact printing, and the ink industry has felt the impact as well. Brian Leen, president, Sun Chemical North America, noted that 2009 presented tremendous challenges for Sun Chemical and for the ink industry in general.
“The commercial sheetfed market in particular suffered as print buyers reigned in on discretionary spending,” Mr. Leen said. “The publication printing market, including newspapers worldwide, also struggled considerably in 2009. In both of these cases, the effect of the general economic downturn has been exacerbated by a movement to Internet and other electronic alternatives.
“The net impact can be seen in the closure of companies and discontinuation of a variety of publications including several well-recognized names,” Mr. Leen added. “Those publications that have continued to operate have reduced the number of printed pages in a further effort to manage costs. Some segments of the packaging industry, particularly those that focus on staple goods and snack foods, have performed much more favorably.”
“In response to the economic environment, we have revisited our operating plans for this year and recast them in view of more recent volume projections,” Mr. Leen said. “We will have to intensify our cost reduction efforts by tightening our belts even further. Simultaneously, we are raising our focus on the customers by helping them grow their businesses and succeed. We are also investing in other key growth areas including the packaging, digital and printed electronics markets. That means working for our customers everyday to further improve our performance on the essentials of our business such as quality, service and innovation in ways that drive productivity or enhance value.”
The past year saw a number of important moves for Sun Chemical. In January, Sun Chemical agreed to name the Pitman Company, a distribution company focused on the commercial graphic arts printing market in the U.S., as its national distributor for the commercial marketplace. The new distributor relationship allows Sun Chemical to reach customers faster and more effectively. The Pitman Company carries Sun Chemical’s full line of commercial inks and, jointly with Sun Chemical, provides customers with technical and product support.
To build further on its market-leading position in the inkjet business, Sun Chemical and its parent company, DIC Corporation, announced the creation of a new single, coordinated global structure for the inkjet market under the name SunJet. The new structure will add significant value to partners and customers and offer a unified product range for graphics and industrial inkjet applications, which will allow the SunJet division to fully leverage both organizations’ technical expertise in pigments, dispersions, polymers and formulation chemistry.
In June, Sun Chemical acquired certain assets and liabilities of Handschy’s inks, coatings and varnishes business from its parent company, Graphic Packaging International, Inc. Handschy’s customer lists, formulations and trademarks were included in the acquisition.
Sun Chemical unveiled new global brand names to describe its sheetfed conventional inks for commercial, packaging and plastics printing. The global brand names, SunLit for commercial, SunPak for packaging, and SunTec for plastics printing, were developed to help sheetfed customers better recognize the Sun Chemical brand and easily identify the inks that they need.
Sun Chemical’s current existing products in the commercial sheetfed market, Triumph and Liberty inks for example, will now be known as SunLit Triumph inks and SunLit Liberty inks. The adoption of these global brand names will reduce the large number of brand name trademarks and eliminate any possible confusion about what brand Sun Chemical has that meets its customers’ needs.
Similar global brand names have already been created for Sun Chemical’s packaging water and solvent-based, and energy curable businesses. In the area of energy curing, Sun Chemical has the recognizable global brand names of SunCure and SunBeam. Also introduced were the global brand names of SunSpectro for flexible packaging surface printing inks, SunStrato for lamination inks, and SunVisto for corrugated inks.
At Print ‘09, Sun Chemical introduced SunLit Diamond sheetfed offset inks formulated to meet the stringent demands for improving productivity for commercial printers in North America printing with high-speed presses. The fast-setting properties of SunLit Diamond inks compared to other systems on the market show significant reduction in cylinder build up, cleaning frequency and improved sheet guide marking, saving customers money by avoiding waste print, increasing uptime, and eliminating the challenges of the perfecting printing process at high speeds.
SunPak Diamond inks, Sun Chemical’s line of sheetfed offset inks for folding carton package printing enhance productivity and print at high standards. SunPak Diamond inks can be used on all offset sheetfed presses, including high speed and wide format presses, and provide “high definition” print resolution, low misting at the highest printing speeds, and fast setting properties that reduce printing waste. The fast setting properties of SunPak Diamond inks accelerate post-production and significantly reduce waste print, saving customers money and increasing uptime.
Commercial printers responsible for the printing of corporate brochures, annual reports, POP displays, packaging and other printed materials that require exact specifications for global brand colors will be introduced to SmartColour Global Shade Library (GSL), Sun Chemical’s database of more than 100,000 formulations of real ink colors for the print marketplace.
SmartColour was first introduced to the prepress and design markets to allow brand owners and designers the ability to predict how their brand spot colors will reproduce on a wide variety of print processes and substrates.
Visitors at Labelexpo learned more about an upgraded line of core products within the Solaris system which offer increased productivity, added value and versatility to narrow web printers.
SolarFlex Nova inks provide maximum cure efficiency and trouble-free printing. The ColorSat dispense system and its associated software will automatically deliver accurate on-demand color. The silicone-free technology will also allow for easier post-print enhancements. All of this will improve production efficiency throughout the printing process and beyond. The high color strength will allow the use of finer aniloxes for higher print definition, improved ink mileage and greater color matching flexibility.
Suncure Starluxe inks are the latest UV offset product line designed to meet the requirements of the most demanding brand owners and end users. The upgraded system offers reliable and robust press performance on a range of papers, plastics and metalized substrates at the highest print quality.
SolarScreen Whites ink have new silicone-free and silicone-containing products added to the range, making use of the latest technology to further enhance the performance characteristics of these market-leading products. They offer faster cure speeds for increased productivity, greater flexibility to meet the extra demands set by thinner gauge substrates and greater receptivity to flexo, letterpress or offset inks when printed in combination.
Raw materials remain a concern for all ink companies, and Sun Chemical was no exception. Ed Pruitt, chief procurement officer, Sun Chemical, noted that despite a recent respite in the pace of volatility, there are a number of areas of concern.
“First, oil industry experts would say that the crude market will continue to be highly volatile with an expectation that prices will eventually return to the very high levels of recent years due to the inability of new production to offset the gradual depletion of existing supply and the growth of demand in developing nations,” Mr. Pruitt said. “Secondly, the petrochemicals market has risen sharply recently due to actions taken by producers to shut down high cost production. Third, there are individual products today in a variety of categories including pigments, base chemicals, and resins that are still at very high levels and are not expected to decline to 2008 average price levels.
“As a general rule, raw materials suppliers are actively shuttering plants, rationalizing product lines and taking the steps that companies must take in extraordinarily difficult times, but steps that could lead to interruptions or tightening supply despite the overall weakness of the global markets,” Mr. Pruitt added. “At Sun Chemical, we continue to work on controlling our own costs closely with our supply chain partners, to improve our internal operations, and to develop new value oriented products that can help customers grow their business. We will continue to invest in those areas that provide our customers with innovative products and services allowing them to be more competitive and present the best value propositions in the market.”
Even with all of these concerns, Felipe Mellado, chief marketing office for Sun Chemical, said that Sun Chemical is prepared to help customers in 2010 and beyond.
“2010 will continue to be a challenging year for Sun Chemical and the ink industry as a whole,” Mr. Mellado said. “Although the cost of raw materials will likely continue to increase, Sun Chemical has taken steps to better meet the needs of its customers and offset these costs. Sun Chemical wants to continue being known as the company that truly works for its customers. To be able to achieve this, our customers have to know that we are here to help them with their problems.
“We’re optimistic that Sun Chemical’s investments in quality, service and innovation will help our customers succeed. In the current challenging market conditions, our solutions are designed to help customers operate more efficiently without sacrificing quality or service to their customers,” Mr. Mellado concluded.
North American Administrative Offices
14909 North Beck Road
Plymouth, MI 48170-7194
Phone: (734) 781-4600
Fax: (734) 781-4699
Sales: €2.4B ($3.5B) worldwide. North American Sales: $1 billion (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: Coldset and heatset web offset, sheetfed offset, flexographic, gravure and UV/EB inks; coatings for publication, packaging and commercial applications. A wide range of inks and coatings for narrow web tag and label applications. Photopolymer plates and sleeve systems for flexographic applications; highly engineered printing blankets and sleeves for offset applications, pressroom chemicals and supplies. Dry, flushed and press cake pigments, chips and resins for ink and other applications, aqueous dispersions, hyperdispersants and additives for the colorant market.
Key Personnel: Charles Knott, chairman and CEO; Michael J. Bissell, executive VP and CFO; Dr. Dirk Aulbert, president, Packaging and Narrow Web; Dermot Healy, president, Print Media Europe; William B. Miller, president, Print Media Americas; Brent Stephen, president, Asia Pacific; Dr. Thomas Telser, president, Flint Group Flexographic Products; Craig Foster, president, Flint Group Pigments; Jan Paul van der Velde, senior VP, procurement; Russell Taylor, senior VP global HR & communications.
Number of Employees: Approximately 7,300 worldwide.
Comments: Without a doubt, 2009 was a difficult year for the printing industry, and the ink industry felt the impact as well. All things considered, William B. Miller, president, Print Media Americas for Flint Group, said his company did fairly well.
“2009 was a challenging year for the ink industry as a whole, and Flint Group was not immune to that,” Mr. Miller said. “Still, Flint Group did very well under the circumstances by focusing on our customers, controllable costs and innovation.”
On the sales side, the company focused on their unique product portfolio.
“The benefits from last year’s reorganization really picked up steam,” noted Mike Neroni, vice president of sales for the Print Media North America business unit. “Our cross-training and cross-product-line efforts mean every sales person is able to sell every product, which gives us a very unique position in the market.”
Susan Kuchta, vice president of the North American packaging group, said, “2009 was a difficult year for the packaging industry, so it stands to reason that the ink industry had similar challenges. The recession produced definite winners and losers, though a notable portion of well-diversified packaging printers and suppliers managed to maintain stable business conditions.”
Ms. Kuchta added that several years ago, Flint Group restructured its operations and commercial organization to better serve its core markets and capitalize on growth opportunities.
“Therefore, we were in a great position in a difficult economy,” Ms. Kuchta said. “Success in 2009 has been a matter of continuing to implement our strategy, which is to focus on our customers and market needs rather than on internal activities.”
Frank Mastria, vice president operations, Print Media North America, said that on the cost side, “Our team did a great job at managing working capital. Like most companies, we tightened our belts to keep day-to-day expenses down, but the greatest impact came from our ongoing strategy of continuous improvement. When you pair continuous improvement and working capital efforts, you can keep costs down without sacrificing product quality or service to customers.”
Flint Group kept innovation front-and-center during the past year.
“Even while the economy was hurting, our R&D teams kept focusing on enhancing existing products and bringing new ones to market,” said Don Rose, vice president of technology. “We know that customers rely on us for innovations to help them weather the tough economic climate and meet demanding customer expectations. We stayed committed to addressing our customers’ needs.”
The printing industry has clearly been greatly impacted by the recession, and Flint Group’s customers were no exception.
“Like most industries, the strong will survive and prosper, but many of our customers are struggling,” Mr. Miller said. “Some didn’t make it and all are hoping the worst is behind us. I believe that recovery will be slow, taking much longer than in past economic downturns, and some segments will not fully recover. This will facilitate further industry consolidation.”
Mike Impastato, vice president strategic marketing of the North American packaging and narrow web group, describes the impact of 2009.
“We have seen the entire gamut of impact to our customers,” Mr. Impastato said. “In early 2009, nearly everyone’s business was down significantly, which was expected after the way 2008 finished. Still, it is interesting to see that by later in 2009, some printers regained all their lost volume and sold out their equipment.In general, 2009 turned out better than most people expected.”
For Flint Group, the most notable event was the company’s global reorganization announced in March 2009. Two key elements of those changes were the formation of “Print Media” units in Europe and North America and a global packaging and narrow web business unit.
“Our breadth of products and cross-product-line efforts help customers optimize production, minimize waste and increase efficiencies,” Mr. Knott adds now. “In a word, Flint Group’s Print Media units help customers reduce their total cost of printing, which is essential in today’s competitive and challenging print sector.”
Ms. Kuchta remembers 2009 as the year Flint Group took its packaging business global.
“Early in 2009, Flint Group combined our regional packaging businesses and the global narrow web business into one global operating group,” Ms. Kuchta said. “Ink is typically sold on a regional or local basis and is always serviced locally, but the unmistakable trend in the packaging industry is globalization. We made this change for several reasons. First, we want to make sure we leverage our global capabilities for the benefit of our local customers. In the global structure, our local sales and technical forces have direct contact with a worldwide web of expertise and technology. And secondly, as a global business we can better align with packaging printers who have global operations and want a supplier partner who can support them globally.”
Raw material costs remain a major concern. Jan Paul van der Velde, senior vice president, procurement, describes the state of raw material suppliers in 2009. “Falling demand last year meant raw material suppliers were unable to pass through many of the price increases they suffered,” Mr. van der Velde said. “Some suppliers left the graphic arts market or closed entirely. This limited capacity. Surviving suppliers are keeping raw material inventory low and are poised to increase prices significantly at the first hint of increased demand.
“While this is certainly a concern, Flint Group is in a good position,” Mr. van der Velde added. “Like all graphic arts companies, we are affected by strong market forces; however our global purchasing strength positions us well to leverage our relationships with reliable suppliers. This helps to mitigate the impact of supply and costs related to the raw materials we use in our products. Even during the most difficult times, we have weathered the storm.”
Diane Parisi, vice president, procurement, notes that the printing industry has learned more about the role petroleum plays in printing ink manufacturing costs.
“Even when crude prices aren’t through the roof,” Ms. Parisi explained, “ink manufacturers can experience price increases for oil-based raw materials. Why? Because many of the raw materials used in printing consumables pass through multiple refining steps. Each step adds to the cost of those materials.”
“In packaging, our first priority is assuredness of supply,” Ms. Kuchta said. “Raw material plant closures and supplier exits can create short supply of unique and critical raw materials. The ink company’s ability to manage or command supply continuity is critical to success. Our strategic sourcing strategy has allowed us to be successful in this area.”
Flint Group has high expectations for 2010 and beyond.
“We expect packaging to have a good year in 2010,” Mr. Impastato said. “We expect the packaging industry to complete its recovery in 2010 and regain its historical growth rates. The difficulties of the recession were a good – but difficult – lesson for everyone. I believe our customers will be cautious about growing their overhead and will continue to run lean and be very cost-conscious. They will be looking for value and lowest total cost of ownership. Since this has been a focus of Flint Group, it will put us in a very good position.”
Flint Group’s Print Media team is looking forward to a stronger 2010. Doug Labertew, vice president, product management and strategy, Print Media North America, explained, “Our strategies are driving innovations that will add considerable value to our business in 2010. We are well aware of the ongoing challenges posed by the economy, electronic media and other market elements, but we’re prepared. We are confident that we can continue to help our customers remain competitive.”
“There are opportunities in each sector,” noted Mr. Miller. “For example, in the news industry, UV news inks are taking on a larger role. Ecologically friendly inks are gaining momentum in almost all markets, especially sheetfed. Energy curable inks are still a key strength for us. We’ve found success in focusing on the growth areas within each market segment. Diversity and quality will continue to be our drivers.”
“I expect Flint Group will fare well in 2010,” concluded Mr. Miller. “We will have new offerings for customers, providing value to printers while expanding our business across all product lines. It’s going to be an exciting year.”
INX International Ink Co.
150 N. Martingale Suite 700
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (630) 382-1800
Fax: (847) 969-9758
Sales: $325 million.
Major Products: A full line of ink and coatings solutions technology for packaging, commercial and digital print applications, including metal decorating, flexographic, gravure, web offset, lamination, corrugated, sheetfed, digital and UV/EB inks and coatings.
Key Personnel: Kotaro Morita, chairman; Rick Clendenning, president and CEO; Bryce Kristo, CFO, senior VP general affairs; Yuichi Kataura, CTO, senior VP product development; George Polasik, COO, senior VP operations; John Hrdlick, senior VP field operations and distribution; Rick Westrom, senior VP, strategic global sourcing; Bob Osmundsen, senior VP general counsel; Joseph Cichon, VP, manufacturing technology; Dave Waller, VP, director national accounts/rigid packaging; Jonathan Ellaby, VP, international division; Janet Beasley, VP, quality systems; Ken Kisner, president, INX Digital Americas.
Number of Employees: Approximately 1,150.
Operating Facilities: Approximately 26 locations and 175 in-plants throughout North America. Subsidiaries: INX International U.K., Rochdale, England; INX International France, Bretigny, France. Sister company: INX Digital, San Leandro, CA; INX Digital Milan; INX Digital Prague; Parent company: Sakata INX, Osaka, Japan.
Comments: For INX International Ink Company, 2009 was an improvement over 2008, as the company enjoyed some earnings growth thanks to changes it has implemented in recent years.
“Last year proved to be much more stable than 2008,” said Bryce Kristo, CFO, senior vice president general affairs for INX International Ink Co. “Stable raw materials cost, expense management and previous capital expenditures allowed INX to rebound from 2008 with modest operating earnings. Sales levels were steady in most market segments with the exception of our commercial sheetfed accounts, which suffered severely as a result of the recession.”
Mr. Kristo noted that INX made heavy investments from 2006 to 2009 that included digital applications, liquid packaging inks, commercial litho and information systems
“Our timing was such that these investments helped mitigate the economic impact of the recession,” he added. “It has left us in a position where we can produce high quality products for the next few years with minimal additional investment.”
While sheetfed sales were impacted by the recession, Mr. Kristo said that packaging ink sales remain solid.
“The first quarter of 2009 followed the fourth quarter of 2008 with low demand,” Mr. Kristo said. “After February, we saw sales begin to rise and stabilize with the packaging segments, but commercial printing continued to suffer and this was especially true with sheetfed applications. By year-end, we had adjusted to the new trends and we cautiously anticipate some additional recovery into 2010. It appears the worst is behind us.”
Raw materials have been a major cause of concern in recent years, and while there remains volatility, Mr. Kristo said that 2009 saw some much-needed stability.
“Raw materials costs showed signs of increasing towards the end of last year and into 2010. These costs had stabilized over 2008 volatility and had declined in the first half of 2009,” Mr. Kristo said.
INX has been at the forefront of the movement to digital, having made a series of technologically rich acquisitions led by the former Triangle Digital. In 2009, INX combined all of its digital holdings into INX Digital International.
“One major development was the formation of INX Digital International as part of Sakata INX’s strategy to combine all of its digital resources into one cohesive group,” said Renee Etiopio, INX International Ink’s corporate marketing manager. “Our former joint venture partners – Triangle Digital INX, Megaink AS and Anteprima SRL – transferred their interest as former companies for ownership in INX Digital International, with Sakata INX being the majority shareholder. The complete network gives us a global company that is integrated among the partners, including Sakata INX.
Ms. Etiopio noted that the group synergies include relationships with numerous printhead manufacturers, printer manufacturers and distributors that were at the core of their original success and are now leveraged across the global group.
“All of our partners among the original acquisition members have seen the consolidation of the group take place under a strong global company with more than a century of history in color chemistry,” Ms. Etiopio added. “This is a very positive step forward. The company’s core product lines include traditional solvent-based chemistries, but most recently through collaboration, we have also created a new line of UV and Bio ink that is more suitable for the green aspects of the market.”
The emphasis on the digital side of the business is very much in line with the company’s belief that conventional printers have significant opportunities in inkjet as well. INX International Ink is also convinced that high-end printing, including energy curing, is an area of growth.
“We will continue to seek growth with high end technology products for both commercial and package printing, with a focus on our best-in-class energy curable products and a new line of EVOLVE Advanced Digital Systems,” Ms. Etiopio said. “Much of the business built around these products tends to be more sensitive to application effectiveness than 4-color process volume at rock bottom prices. Application effectiveness includes not only the unique requirements of a specific customer, but a general push towards digital and eco-friendly chemistries as well.
“To help commercial and package printers transition or adapt to digital capabilities, INX Digital can provide full workflow solutions for a wide variety of print environments,” Ms. Etiopio added. “Our unique experience with innovative design development with inkjet systems provides customer-driven solutions in the areas of inkjet printing, production workflows and materials handling. Whether your company is just venturing into the digital world for the first time, or it is already there and looking to expand digital capabilities, our technology systems can be outfitted to handle a wide range of production situations.”
Ms. Etiopio sees the growing collaboration between INX Digital and commercial printers as an excellent opportunity for INX to help its customers succeed in the evolving world of printing.
“The top commercial print industry trend is the transition to digital technology. Digital presses have become the norm in commercial printing and more common in package printing,” Ms. Etiopio said. “The commercial printing industry growth can be attributed almost entirely to digital printing, and it is shifting to faster production of smaller order quantities with more color. That’s because this is the major benefit of digital printing compared to offset and other printing methods. While digital inkjet printers began at the small end of printers, technology is increasingly able to provide digital printers with greater capability.
“Not since offset entered the letterpress world has the printing industry experienced such a transformation akin to the digital revolution now taking place,” Ms. Etiopio added. “It’s a profitable way to think about with its short runs, short times to market and even shorter cycle times. Digital printing is also an expanded way to think of operational flexibility to broaden manufacturing capabilities.”
Chemical Research/ Technology,
Division of Quad/Graphics
1951 Constitution Ave.
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone: (262) 673-1400
Fax: (262) 673-1459
Sales: $235 million (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: Offset, gravure inks and inkjet inks.
Key Personnel: Tim Hofstetter, president; Greg Laszewski, general manager – offset; Randy Maas, general manager - gravure; Terry Clayton, general manager – inkjet; Sunil Rao, technical director.
Number of Employees: Approximately 100.
Operating Facilities: Lomira, WI; Oklahoma City, OK; Martinsburg, WV; Greenfield, IA; Hartford, WI; Wyszków, Poland.
Comments: Through the years, Quad/Graphics, one of the world’s leading commercial printers ($1.8 billion in sales as of Sept. 30, 2009), has been renowned for its high-quality offset and gravure printing.
In order to meet its ink requirements, Quad/Graphics formed its Chemical Research/Technology (CR/T) division in 1982. CR/T produces millions of pounds of ink annually, including its specially formulated EnviroTech offset inks, which have a renewable resource content of approximately 27 percent.
CR/T opened its first European ink plant in Wyszków, Poland, in mid-February to supply Quad/Graphics’ plants in Wyszków (near Warsaw) and Pila (300 kilometers east of Berlin).
In January, Quad/Graphics announced its acquisition of World Color Press Inc., formerly Quebecor World, the second largest provider of print, digital and related services in the Americas. The transaction is expected to close approximately in the summer of 2010 and will enhance Quad/Graphics’ position as a leader in the printing industry, with increased efficiencies, greater geographic reach into Canada, Latin America and Europe, and broader product and service scope. As the merger is not yet finalized, there have been no plans made regarding ink supply.
Mr. Quadracci added, “With our strong commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction, combined with greater operational efficiencies we are targeting, we will be better able to achieve our strategic objectives and continue to generate industry-leading margins and profitable growth, all while creating opportunities for our customers, shareholders and employees.”
3535 SW 56th St.
Des Moines, IA 53021
Phone: (515) 471-2100 or
Fax: (515) 471-2202
Total North American Sales: $195 million.
Major Products: Solvent-based, water-based, energy curable and specialty liquid inks and coatings and related point-of-use services for the flexible packaging, label, sheetfed, tobacco, liquid food packaging and paper and board industries using flexo, rotogravure and offset printing.
Number of Employees: 700 (U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central America).
Operating Facilities: Des Moines, IA – NAFTA headquarters and two manufacturing locations; Spartanburg, SC; Neenah, WI; Drums, PA; New Hope, MN; Vacaville, CA; Prescott, Ontario, Canada; Oakville, Ontario, Canada; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Toluca, Mexico; Guadalajara, Mexico; Queretaro, Mexico; Guatemala City, Guatemala; San Salvador, El Salvador.
Comments: For most ink manufacturers, 2009 was a challenging year, and Siegwerk NAFTA was no exception. Companies that have focused on these challenges are better positioned to thrive going forward.
“Certainly, 2009 was an unprecedented year of challenges and successes for Siegwerk NAFTA,” said Jim Ross, president U.S. & Canada. “With a backdrop of economic chaos and dramatic swings in supplier performance, Siegwerk employees were able to buffer the chaos and stay focused on ensuring that ink wasn’t the constraint in our customer’s operation.
“Siegwerk’s focus on aligning operating expenses and inventory with current market realities have resulted in a more resilient worldwide organization,” Mr. Ross added. “Providing customer solutions every hour of every day has allowed us to maintain sales in a shrinking marketplace during 2009.”
Although the packaging side of the ink industry has been more stable than the publication/commercial segment, packaging printers are looking to become more efficient. Mr. Ross said that 2009 was a year for customers to take cost out of their operations.
“Many customers turned to Siegwerk to help them accomplish this through process improvements and technical solutions,” he added. “In the later part of the year, the wide web flexible packaging business segment did have signs of recovery; however, other areas showed little evidence of a rebound.”
Mr. Ross said that Siegwerk NAFTA is examining new opportunities for growth. “We will continue to explore and expand into new geographic regions,” Mr. Ross said. “Our broad portfolio of commercialized products will allow Siegwerk to respond to our customers’ growth markets.”
Raw material cost continues to be a concern, and consolidation is a key factor going forward.
“The volatility in raw material cost is an ongoing concern,” Mr. Ross reported. “Supplier consolidation during 2009 added to the overall volatility in the marketplace. Siegwerk’s continued focus is on quality raw material at the most cost competitive pricing in order to provide value-added solutions to its customers.”
Siegwerk’s efforts in terms of supply chain management and R&D position the company well for 2010 and beyond.
“Siegwerk continued to improve the capability and capacity of its supply chain operation during 2009,” Mr. Ross said. “The introduction of several new commercial products to the packaging market will assist our customers with their challenges in 2010 and beyond.
“Siegwerk continues to expect a slow economic recovery throughout 2010,” Mr. Ross concluded. “Building upon our efforts in 2009, Siegwerk NAFTA is well positioned to invest where needed and provide sustainable solutions to the marketplace.”
12 Shaftsbury Lane
Canada L6T 3X7
Phone: (905) 793-9970
Fax: (905) 793-5368
Hostmann-Steinberg, Inc. USA
2850 Festival Dr.
Kankakee, IL 60901
Phone: (815) 929-9293
Fax: (815) 929-0412
Sales: $155 million (Ink World estimate)
Major Products: Heatset, sheetfed, coldset, UV and EB, forms and flexo Inks; aqueous and UV coatings.
Key Personnel: Winfried Gleue, president and CEO, Canada; Vivy DaCosta, VP, Canada; Mark Wilson, sales director, Canada; Dr. Thomas Griebel, technical director, Canada; Michael Geiger, CFO, USA; Debu Sengupta, CTO, USA; Steve Martin, director of sales/marketing, USA.
Number of Employees: 150.
Operational Facilities: Main plants in Kankakee, IL and Toronto, Canada, and 16 branch facilities coast to coast.
Comments: Hostmann-Steinberg is the North American subsidiary of hubergroup, headquartered in Kirchheim Heimstetten, Germany, which amassed nearly $1 billion in sales in 2008.
Hostmann-Steinberg’s Canadian operation, Hostmann-Steinberg Limited, has been long established in North America. Hostmann-Steinberg, Inc. USA is located in Kankakee, IL, and was the former North American production facility for Micro Inks, headquartered in Gujarat, India, which hubergroup acquired in October 2005.
The company maintains a full product portfolio for publication, commercial and packaging printing, and puts a strong emphasis on R&D.
In particular, its !NKREDIBLE generation of sheetfed printing inks has received much notice among customers, as has the heatset ink series REVOLUTION, which is also based on the new !NKREDIBLE technology, and the coldest ink system !NKREDIBLE GOOD NEWS.
DuPont Digital Printing
Barley Mill Plaza, P30/2367
P.O. Box 80030
Wilmington, DE 19880-0030
Phone: (877) 234-1794;
Fax: (302) 892-5609
Sales: $150 million (Ink World estimate)
Major Products: Digital inks and digital printing systems; conductive inks and pastes for printed electronics.
Key Personnel: Frank Dotterer, global business manager – Digital Printing Systems; Marco Torri, global sales manager for DuPont Digital Printing; Craig Oliver – European business manager, DuPont Microcircuit Materials. Peter Brenner, global marketing manager, photovoltaics - DuPont Microcircuit Materials; Robert Cockerill, thin film photovoltaic marketing manager – DuPont Microcircuit Materials.
Number of Employees: More than 300 worldwide.
Key Locations: Worldwide operations; in the U.S., R&D facilities in Wilmington, DE and Philadelphia, PA; manufacturing plants in Iowa, New York and Pennsylvania. Customer service and warehousing in Asia, Europe and North America.
Comments: Noted for its innovative products, DuPont has developed leading positions in inkjet printing as well as the rapidly growing field of printed electronics.
DuPont Digital Printing is the leader in ink manufacturing worldwide for desktop printers, supplying many of the leading home printer OEMs. The company also is active in textile inkjet printing; its DuPont Artistri product portfolio, a fully integrated digital printing system complete with equipment, software and ink. The inks range from pigment, acid dye, disperse dye or reactive dye.
The DuPont Artistri systems are used in a range of applications, including printed textiles, apparel, home furnishings, gaming table covers, flags and banners, soft signage and trade show displays.
Conductive inks and metallization pastes are another area of interest at DuPont. In September, DuPont Microcircuit Materials (MCM), part of DuPont Electronic Technologies, introduced its DuPont Solamet PV412 photovoltaic (PV) metallization paste, the latest in a line of silver conductor materials specifically developed for thin film PV technologies.
DuPont collaborated with Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc., a developer of flexible thin-film solar modules, as it developed Solamet PV412, a PV metallization paste designed for use on devices where a transparent conductive oxide is utilized. It is ideal for use with copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), amorphous silicon (a-Si) on flexible substrates, and heterojunction with intrinsic thin layers (HIT) PV cells.
DuPont Solamet PV173 photovoltaic (PV) metallization paste, also introduced in September 2009, is a new lead-free front side material for crystalline silicon solar cells.
Wikoff Color Corporation
1886 Merritt Road
Fort Mill, SC 29715
Phone: (803) 548-2210
Fax: (803) 548-5728
Sales: $150 million (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: Sheetfed and web offset inks, solvent-based and water-based flexo and gravure inks, energy-curable inks and coatings, security inks, overprint varnish and aqueous coatings.
Key Personnel: Phil Lambert, CEO; Geoff Peters, president and COO; Daryl Collins, VP of national sales and regional operations; Martin Hambrock, VP of Canadian operations; Don Duncan, director of R&D; Ben Price, director of purchasing; Art Dennis, director of manufacturing; Buck Rorie, VP of finance and administration.
Number of Employees: 510.
Operating Facilities: 29 manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Canada. Headquarters and research and development facilities are located in Fort Mill, SC.
Comments: For Wikoff Color, 2009 was a year of challenges as well as opportunities, as the company positions itself for 2010 and the future.
“Unfortunately, 2009 was a disappointing year for Wikoff Color due to a decline in sales and reduced margins due to the steep run-up in material costs in 2008,” said Geoff Peters, Wikoff Color’s president and COO. “Many printers struggled to keep the doors open and a number of plants closed as a result of the recession. Other printers performed fairly well (i.e. food packaging printers), but still felt some impact from the banking and credit crisis. The year was not without some highlights, however, as we developed new paste and fluid products, landed new customers, and aggressively reduced costs to position ourselves well for the future.”
The recession hurt the printing industry as a whole, although packaging was impacted less.
“The recession led to a large drop-off in advertising-related printing while food packaging, including folding carton, flexible packaging and labels fared much better,” said Mr. Peters. “Sales of new presses were not as robust as in years past, usually a solid indicator of reduced print production and ink consumption. As we begin 2010, we no longer see a decline in sales and many of our markets, especially packaging and labels, have stabilized. We forecast growth this year, but at relatively modest levels.”
Growth in flexible packaging and in China, along with a host of new products, were among the highlights for Wikoff Color this year.
“After implementing difficult cost controls throughout the last year, Wikoff remains a healthy company and we are proud of how our employees dealt with this difficult period,” Mr. Peters said. “Other Wikoff highlights include improved growth in flexible packaging, the successful first year of our operation in China, and the introduction of several new products, including many inks and coatings that represent clear, environmental improvements in our product line. We continued to have a strong product development program, and new products in all of our technologies (water, solvent, oil and UV/EB) were regularly introduced. Additionally, we strengthened the technical resources we offer our customers by providing additional consultative services and customer training.”
Mr. Peters noted that raw material pricing stabilized for most of 2009, although there are signs of pressure on some key ingredients.
“Wikoff Color’s raw material pricing was extremely volatile throughout the second half of 2008 and the effects carried over into the first quarter of 2009,” he said. “For the rest of 2009, pricing for the majority of our raw materials declined. Since the fourth quarter of 2009, however, there has been pressure on several key raw materials, especially those tied closely to petroleum, and there are a couple of markets where supply has tightened. We continue to work with our vendors to keep the supply lines open and pricing stable because the printing industry is not prepared to absorb additional cost increases at this time.”
In spite of the economy, Wikoff Color looked to improve its operations. In early 2009, Ben Price was named director of purchasing and Art Dennis director of manufacturing, thus strengthening the operational team at Wikoff. Technical staff was added to service Wikoff’s growing UV ink jet business, and may need further additions in this area.
The company also embarked on capital improvement programs.
“As part of our commitment to sustainability, we also completed capital-intensive programs to redesign the layout and workflow of our three largest plants,” Mr. Peters said. “We expect that these programs will result in significant efficiencies and reduction of waste.”
All in all, Mr. Peters expects 2010 to show improvement.
“Wikoff expects 2010 to be better than 2009,” Mr. Peters said. “We believe that the recession is ending and consumer spending will help lead the recovery. We also believe that the cost adjustments and manufacturing efficiency programs that we have implemented will pay dividends this year. We expect demand to improve and with less inventory on hand, production could increase significantly. The risk for our business will be with material costs and our ability to manage those costs in conjunction with customer pricing.”
Sanchez SA de CV
Oriente 171 # 367
México City, Mexico
Phone: +52 55 5118 1000
Fax: +52 55 5118 1090
Sales: $113.6 million (inks); $157.4 million overall.
Major Products: Offset, flexo, gravure and screen inks and overprint varnishes; offset plates, pressroom chemicals and offset presses.
Key Personnel: Ernesto J. Sanchez, managing director; Jose Sanchez, commercial director (paste inks); Miguel Talamantes, commercial director (liquid inks); Jesus McKelligan, operations director; Salvador Duran, technical manager (paste inks); Agustin Lozano, technical manager (liquid inks).
Number of Employees: 1,100.
Comments: For Sanchez SA de CV, the leading ink manufacturer in Mexico, 2009 was a challenging year, although the company saw improvement at the end of the year, and notably, opened up a subsidiary on Guatemala.
“Considering the international and national crisis, Sanchez did quite well during 2009,” said Ernesto J. Sanchez, managing director of Sanchez SA de CV. “The Mexican economy decreased 6.5 percent while our sales in kilos suffered a decline of only 1.8 percent.”
As was the case in the U.S., packaging ink fared better than the publication ink side. “The editorial market suffered the most during the crisis, while customers in the packaging business seemed to survive the slowdown of the economy better,” Mr. Sanchez noted. “By the end of the year, things seemed to improve, although we expect to see the end of the recession by mid-2010. Our main concern could be the delay in the comeback of the economy, or in particular, the decline of the newspaper and magazine markets, which have suffered the most.”
Sanchez SA de CV continues to make gains throughout the Central America region, opening up a new operation in Guatemala, which should help spur growth.
“For us, 2009 will be remembered as the year we opened our company, Tintas Sanchez Guatemala SA, in Guatemala City, allowing us to improve our presence in the Central America region,” Mr. Sanchez said. “Our growth in the near future will come from utilizing our subsidiaries in El Salvador and Guatemala to gain more market share and volumes in Central America.”
All in all, Mr. Sanchez anticipates a strong year in 2010.
“For 2010, we expect to regain the kilos lost during 2009, and consolidate our position as the market leaders in Mexico and Central America, Mr. Sanchez concluded.
303 Velocity Way
Foster City, CA 94404
Phone: (650) 357-3500
Fax: (650) 357-3907
Sales: ~$401M for EFI at the corporate level; $160M for the inkjet divisions; Ink World estimates $75 million in ink and consumables.
Major Products: Through its VUTEk, Jetrion and Rastek product lines, EFI is the market leader in inkjet inks and printing systems for the superwide, (e.g., billboards, signage, POP, etc.), wide format UV, label, packaging, direct mail and commercial printing markets. EFI offers a wide range of ink products for the superwide format and industrial inkjet markets, including UV-based, solvent, and eco/bio-solvent inks.
Key Personnel: Guy Gecht, CEO; Fred Rosenzweig, president; John Ritchie, CFO; Ken Stack, SVP/GM Jetrion Industrial Inkjet Systems; Rak Kumar VP/GM Rastek Printers; Scott Schinlever, VP/GM EFI Ink Business.
Number of Employees: Approximately 1,900.
Operating Facilities: 23 worldwide offices.
Comments: The global recession took its toll on all aspects of printing, and even the digital side was impacted. Such was the case at EFI, whose industry-leading brands such as VUTEk, Jetrion and Rastek faced a downturn in 2009. EFI’s inkjet sales declined from $220.1 million in 2008 to $160 million in 2009, largely due to the credit crunch that affected capital equipment purchasing.
However, the company’s fourth quarter sales were virtually flat compared to the previous year, a good sign for EFI.
Stephen J. Emery, director, ink sales and marketing for EFI VUTEk, said that 2009 was certainly a challenging year for inkjet. “We showed gradual improvement each quarter. Our larger customers continued strong in 2009 while some of the smaller customers struggled with the down economy. The second quarter was when we saw the most significant improvement, and then steady improvement through the third and fourth quarter. UV inks continue to be a growth opportunity for EFI.”
EFI made a number of notable moves during the past year. The company moved its UV ink manufacturing to its Ypsilanti, MI facility, and increased manufacturing capacity.
While EFI is best known for its UV technologies, the company also has interests in solvent-based technology. In order to best provide inks for its solvent-based printers, EFI entered into a manufacturing agreement in June 2009 with Nazdar, in which Nazdar will produce EFI’s VUTEk and Inkware solvent inks.
New products are most definitely the lifeblood of EFI. The company introduced some highly regarded digital printers into the market. Among these are the VUTEk GS3200, a UV hybrid flatbed offering along with the GS5000, a 5-meter roll-to-roll UV printer. The VUTEk GS3200 superwide format UV printer has speeds up to 2,400 square feet per hour, and resolution up to true 1000 dpi.
The VUTEk QS220, a direct-to-substrate, two-meter UV-curing flatbed printer, boasts lower ink running costs than traditional wide-format printers and unique application abilities that allow print businesses to expand into higher-end, premium-margin applications.
EFI specifically designed the QS220 inks for the applications that enable businesses to increase production and profitability. By utilizing one ink set, the QS220 delivers enhanced reliability and performance on a wide range of substrates, with brighter, more durable automotive-grade pigments and greater flexibility, all at per-liter costs that are much lower than most wide-format printers.
On the Jetrion side, EFI introduced the Jetrion 4830 UV Inkjet System, which offers a wider web width and faster linear speeds, increasing throughput by more than two times compared to the Jetrion 4000. The Jetrion 4830 delivers excellent print quality via advanced grayscale printhead technology and wide-gamut UV inks, giving printers the means to deliver richly colored labels more cost effectively. In addition to its standard UV inkjet inks, Jetrion also offers custom inks with fluorescent dyes and nanotechnology markers into its formulations.
EFI continues to see a bright future for UV inkjet.
“We expect to continue to see growth and acceptance of UV inks,” Mr. Emery said. “As print advertising and the economy strengthens, we are in excellent position to continue to provide the markets we serve with leading UV ink technologies. We expect the emerging markets to increase the adoption of UV technologies and see an increased shift of solvent users moving to UV.”
FUJIFILM Sericol USA, Inc.
1101 W. Cambridge Circle Drive
Kansas City, KS 66103
Phone: (913) 342-4060
Fax: (913) 342-4752
U.S. Sales: $75 million (Ink World Estimate).
Major Products: UV screen, UV flexo, UV digital (piezo inkjet), solvent-based digital and solvent-based screen inks; screen pre-press; Inca Digital Printers and Fujifilm Digital Printers.
Key Personnel: Ed Carhart, CEO of Sericol International; Mitch Bode, senior VP; Chris Lomas, VP of sales; Steve Pocock, technical director; Terry Mitchell, director of marketing.
Number of Employees: 165.
Operating Facilities: Seven.
Comments: The downturn in the economy that started in November 2008 continued into 2009 and led to lower ink demand in the automotive, graphic overlay, point-of-purchase and graphic display markets.
“We took the necessary steps to realign our business to the new realities of the market while continuing to invest and position ourselves for a recovering economy” commented Mitch Bode, senior vice president of Fujifilm Sericol’s business in the U.S. and Mexico. “Our business started to show sustainable recovery in the fourth quarter of 2009, and we see even more positive signs of recovery for 2010.”
During 2009, many printers reduced employees to realign costs with lower print demand. Investment in new equipment slowed, and there was some consolidation of manufacturing facilities. Some print producers were forced to close down in 2009, and others sold out to larger print shops. Demand for print did show signs of strengthening in the latter part of the year, and most printers are more optimistic about an improving economy in 2010.
Wide format digital inkjet printing remains a key growth area for the company. Most new digital equipment investments are forecasted to be in UV curable inkjet, a key competency of Fujifilm Sericol.
Print buyer demands for shorter print runs, multiple versions, and faster turnaround times are driving print providers to invest in digital printing technology. The speed, quality and environmental benefits of UV curable inkjet compared to solvent inkjet have fueled the growth of UV equipment and inks. As a result, printers utilizing UV-curable inkjet have withstood the recent poor economic conditions better than solvent wide format graphics producers.
“We continue to expand our portfolio of UV curable inkjet printers and develop new UV digital inks for a broader range of substrates and applications,” commented MR. Bode. “We are keenly focused on bringing new and innovative UV digital solutions to the market and expect continued growth of this business in the years ahead.”
Fujifilm and its long-term partner Inca Digital continued its leadership in wide format digital flatbed printing innovations with the introduction of the Onset S20, the latest addition to the Onset series of printers. The new printer offers exceptional quality and choice of finish from low glare satin to high impact gloss making it ideal for point-of-purchase display graphic printing. Also launched in 2009 was an upgrade to the Onset S70 increasing its print speed to deliver up to 165 full bed sheets per hour.
“The print speed and output of the Onset S70 is unmatched by any other UV digital flatbed press” commented Chris Lomas, vice president of sales for Fujifilm Sericol. “Although screen printing is still well suited for long print runs, The Onset is revolutionizing the transition from screen printing to digital printing of multiple version print runs up to 1000 pieces.”
While the Onset series presses are the fastest and most productive UV flatbeds, they are just one of many digital solutions offered by the company. Fujifilm also introduced the new UviStar UV roll press late in 2009. Designed to produce both POP quality as well as billboard quality at exceptional speeds, the UviStar series includes both 3.5 meter and 5.0 meter printers that can handle a wide range of media including recyclable polyethylene.
“The UviStar is ideal for printing billboards, building wraps and grand format display graphics on polyethylene. This offers printers the combined advantage of lower environmental impact UV inks and a more green solution,” said Terry Mitchell, director of marketing.
While digital continues to grow, traditional screen printing markets are exhibiting some decline. Screen ink volumes declined in part due to the slower economic conditions, but also due to a transition from screen to digital printing.
“We expect digital to continue to grow in 2010,” said Mr. Lomas. “However, we are also expecting our traditional screen ink business to strengthen along with an improving economy.”
Fujifilm Sericol harmonized distribution facilities with existing Fujifilm distribution centers in 2009 to lower cost and improve distribution efficiencies. A computerized managed inventory program was also expanded to provide improved service and lower freight cost for high volume customers.
“Our managed inventory program has enabled us to reduce shipment frequency while maintaining high order fill rates,” commented Scott Holub, vice president operations. “Our program aligns well with customers focused on implementation of lean principles to reduce waste and improve productivity.”
Fujifilm Sericol has integrated more closely with other Fujifilm divisions over the past several years. Further integration activities are planned for 2010 to reduce cost and improve service to customers.
“Print providers are converging and consolidating to include multiple print technologies,” said Mr. Bode. “The combined strengths of Fujifilm in providing products and services for offset, screen and digital printing put us in a great position to expand our customer base and grow our business.”
American Inks & Coatings
3400 N. Hutchinson St.
Pine Bluff, AR 71602
Phone: (870) 247-2080
Fax: (870) 247-5317
Sales: $65 million in ink and coatings.
Major Products: Water- and solvent-based flexo and gravure packaging inks and coatings; UV and EB coatings.
Key Personnel: Jerry Mosley, CEO; Mitch Baker, president; Michael Mosley, CFO; Scott Clark, VP and general manager.
Number of Employees: 162.
Operating Facilities: Pine Bluff, AR; Winston-Salem, NC; West Memphis, TN.
Comments: For American Inks & Coatings (AIC), a leader in the packaging ink industry, 2009 was a strong year, as the company’s sales grew more than 18 percent to $65 million.
“We had a terrific year,” said Mitch Baker, AIC’s president. “Our growth was pretty uniform in all markets, and a little better in water-based flexo and folding carton.”
AIC offers a complete range of inks and coatings, including water-based inks for multiwall bag, high graphics corrugated, folding carton, gift wrap and other packaging, and solvent-based inks for flexible packaging, including laminations and other innovative applications.
Mr. Baker is optimistic about 2010, and anticipates continued growth for American Inks & Coatings.
“We think we have a really good year in store ahead,” Mr. Baker said.
8501 Hedge Lane Road
Shawnee, KS 66227-3290
Phone: (913) 422-1888
Fax: (913) 422-2296
Sales: $65 million (and more than $100 million
in ink sales, equipment and supplies, estimated).
Major Products: Screen printing inks including conventional, UV and water-based, and digital inks.
Key Personnel: J. Jeffrey Thrall, CEO; Mike Fox, president; Richard Bowles, VP, GM; Phil McGugan, VP, global sales and marketing; Mike McGowan, VP and technical director; Jim Davidson, VP, global operations.
Operating Facilities: Five in the U.S., UK, and Canada.
Comments: For Nazdar, 2009 was a solid year, as the company made further inroads into global markets as well as into digital and narrow web.
"We have enjoyed excellent growth in our global markets. Nazdar’s position as an international name in the industry has continued to improve in Europe, Asia and South America over the past year,” said Richard Bowles, Nazdar’s vice president, general manager. “Our expansion into the digital and narrow web market segments continues to provide positive contributions. However, the recession had an impact on overall demand and made 2009 a very challenging year.
“Clearly, the economic downturn has caused a fall-off in capital equipment sales in addition to reducing demand for printed output from our customers’ customers,” Mr. Bowles added. “Our customers have made necessary cutbacks with the understanding that downturns can be temporary and it is important to maintain a long view of economic cycles.”
With an eye toward more growth in Asia, Nazdar appointed Patrick Wong sales director for the Asia Pacific region.
Nazdar continues to innovative develop new technologies. “We have UV inkjet inks that have the ability to vacuum form or heat bend on substrates such as acrylic,” Mr. Bowles said. “We are developing new delivery system technologies that enable our customers to seamlessly convert their inkjet inks from the OEM inks to our alternative (third-party) inks.”
The digital ink market continues to bring good news to Nazdar. Mr. Bowles said that Nazdar continues to see excellent growth of UV digital inks and expansion in its export markets. Nazdar also experienced healthy growth in its market share of alternative (third-party) digital inks. He added that Nazdar saw major growth in UV digital inkjet inks for flatbed printers, solvent inks for grand and wide format digital printers, and narrow web.
“We are cautiously optimistic about 2010,” Mr. Bowles concluded. “A sustained economic recovery is needed to increase demand for our products to normal levels. Nazdar expects a solid growth trend founded on a continued growth in UV digital inks and UV flatbed digital printing.”
Van Son Holland Ink Corporation of America
185 Oval Dr.
Islandia, NY 11501
Phone: (631) 715-7000
Fax: (631) 715-7020
Sales: $65 million.
Major Products: Conventional offset, waterless offset and duplicator inks.
Key Personnel: Joe Bendowski, president and CEO; Ken Ferguson, technical director; John Sammis, VP, sales and marketing; John Bendowski, national sales manager.
Number of Employees: 100.
Operating Facilities: Headquarters and manufacturing in Islandia, NY, a central distribution center in Chicago and a blending facility in Miami, FL.
Comments: For the commercial offset market, 2009 was a difficult year. For Van Son Holland Ink, the transition from the small-sized commercial offset market to mid- and large-sized sheetfed segment continues to drive sales.
The key has been the company’s Vs series of inks, which Van Son sells through its alliance with a select group of regional small ink manufacturers and national distributors located throughout North America. Van Son provides the production and marketing of the Vs inks, while these companies sell and provide the service for the inks. Van Son continues to expand the series.
“The Vs line has been so successful and we keep building on it,” said Joe Bendowski, president and CEO, during Print 09. “Vs Zero has no VOCs. Vs1 is more cost effective. Vs9 is our UV ink and Vs4 is waterless. For us, it is all growth as the large sheetfed market is relatively new for us. As the market demands, we will add to the program.”
Van Son Holland Ink added a new mixing facility in Miami, and has designs on additional operations.
“To grow in the commercial market, you have to be closer to the market,” Mr. Bendowski said. “We opened a new mixing facility and warehouse in Miami, which will be a bridge for us to Latin America, where we are doing well. We are also planning to open two more mixing facilities later in the year.”
Toyo Ink International Corporation
610 Fifth Ave., Suite 305
New York, NY 10020
Phone: (212) 554-2310
Fax: (212) 554-2319
Toyo Ink America, LLC
710 Belden Ave.
Addison, IL 60101
Phone: (630) 930-5100
Fax: (630) 628-1759
Sales: $64 million.
Major Products: Sheetfed and web offset inks; UV and EB inks; conventional and UV waterless offset; solvent- and water-based gravure inks; solvent- and water-based flexo inks; digital inks; toner; inkjet inks; pressure sensitive adhesives and special function coatings; and plastic colorants.
Key Personnel: Toyo Ink International: Mamoru Sasajima, president; John Higgins, CFO. Toyo Ink America: John Copeland, president/COO; Hidekazu Takahashi, SVP; Mike Keegan, VP, sales. Toyo Ink Mfg. America: Yasuo Koga, president; Koji Ueno, GM. LioChem: Kazuhito Nakano, president; Hudson Moody, GM, colorants division; Terry Hall, GM, gravure division.
Comments: Commercial printing has been heavily impacted by a wide variety of factors, including the recession, consolidation and increased emphasis on digital printing. In spite of these challenges, Toyo Ink America fared relatively well in 2009.
“Even though sales and print volume were down in some market segments, Toyo Ink America held steady relative to others in the industry,” said John Copeland, president/COO. “We landed new customers and aggressively reduced costs to position ourselves well for the future.”
The impact of the recession on the printing industry was clearly noticeable. “As sales slowed, many customers struggled to compete in a changing marketplace,” Mr. Copeland noted. “Fewer printers were acquiring new equipment or landing new accounts. We cannot say that we saw any improvement in the second half of 2009.”
Toyo Ink continued to make strides in R&D, notably in energy curing, and that translated into strong interest among attendees at Print ‘09.
“We hosted significantly more visitors at Print ‘09 than at Print ‘05,” Mr. Copeland reported. “As a result of the keen interest shown across the entire Toyo product line, we accomplished what we set out to do. We generated many qualified leads, converted potential customers into new customers and signed up new distributors.
“Toyo’s new and existing UV formulations and environmentally friendly products also attracted considerable attention among showgoers,” he said. “Toyo FD LED is hard-dried with UV rays produced by dedicated LEDs. Toyo Ink America also introduced UV Eco Soy, a new series of UV-curable process inks for commercial sheetfed and folding carton printing as well as the world debut of UV PowerFLEX flexographic inks. High in strength and low in viscosity, UV PowerFLEX improves color density, printing quality and production efficiency”
Mr. Copeland said that given rising demand for eco-friendly products from customers, sales of non-toluene and water-based inks rose steadily. “In addition, in the North America market, sales of adhesives grew,” he added. “Sales of gravure inks for printing and construction materials continued to struggle both in Japan and overseas, but demand for mainstay gravure inks for food packaging held firm.
"As for flexible packaging, the newly launched AquaLiona series of water-based flexographic lamination ink has been gaining increasing interest for retort pouch applications,” Mr. Copeland noted. “The addition of a hardener enhances resin durability, which enables the ink to withstand temperatures up to 250ºF. AquaLiona is the world’s first water-based flexo system to achieve this performance benchmark, and we hope to see it take off in 2010."
In an important move, Mamoru Sasajima was appointed as Toyo Ink International Corporation’s new president effective Oct. 1, 2009.
Headquartered in New York, Toyo Ink International serves as a holding company for the Toyo Ink Group’s operations in the Americas. Mr. Sasajima succeeds Fusao Ito, who has returned to Japan to take over the helm as division director of Toyo Ink Mfg. Company’s International Operations Headquarters.
Mr. Copeland said that Toyo Ink sees excellent potential in Latin America.
“Toyo Ink will further expand our operations in Latin America as the region is significant to our long-term growth,” Mr. Copeland said. “In 2010, we will strengthen our commitment to the area by opening a new office in Brazil, positioning us ever closer to where our customers operate. In addition, we will exhibit for the first time at ExpoPrint Latin America 2010 to be held this June, in Sao Paulo. On display at ExpoPrint will be a comprehensive lineup of Toyo’s commercial printing and packaging solutions for local needs.”
All in all, Mr. Copeland is hopeful that the second half of 2010 sees a rebound for commercial printers.
“The print market is expected to improve in the third to fourth quarter,” Mr. Copeland said. “Hopes are that it will remain steady without further decline. As for Toyo Ink America, we’re optimistic in terms of adding new accounts. We’ve introduced a host of new products in the past year that have been received well, and we’ll also be making production improvements as we continue to prepare for the future.”
Central Ink Corporation
1100 N. Harvester Road
West Chicago, IL 60185
Phone: (630) 231-6500
Fax: (630) 231-6520
Sales: $60 million.
Major Products: Web offset heatset, coldset, sheetfed, flexo and UV/EB inks. CIC is also one of the largest blanket converters in the Midwest.
Key Personnel: Richard Breen, CEO; Gregg Dahleen, president; Doug Anderson, VP of operations; Mary Dickey, CFO; Bradley Dahleen, VP of sales; Victor Dahleen, VP of strategic services.
Number of Employees: 141.
Operating Facilities: West Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; Milwaukee, WI; Swedesboro, NJ; Ontario, CA; Toronto, Canada.
Comments: With most publication and commercial printers suffering through a difficult 2009, Central Ink also faced a challenging year.
“It’s been kind of a crazy year,” said Bradley Dahleen, vice president of sales at Central Ink. We’re down about 15 percent, and while you can never be comfortable with that, we’re living with it. The ink industry was down a lot more than that. We were able to add some business, and our business was pretty strong the last six months of the year. At the end of the day, 2009 was OK. It wasn’t great and it wasn’t terrible.”
However, while heatset sales declined, the company’s decision a few years ago to branch out into news ink, and more recently into flexo and UV inks, is paying off.
“Our news ink business has been growing, which has helped offset our losses in heatset,” Mr. Dahleen said. “We’ve been able to add accounts in news ink. Many newspaper companies have become leaner, and they are the ones that are surviving. Our flexo efforts are taking off nicely, and are helping us diversity our product portfolio. We started our flexo business from scratch. We don’t want to rely on any one product line too much.”
Central Ink brought out a wide variety of new products this year, which it showcased at Print 09.
“We unveiled our Brilliant line of heatset inks,” Mr. Dahleen said. “It offers lower mist at higher press speeds, and transfer and stability are really good. We are getting great feedback from our customers. Our new Earth Friendly Plus (EFP) has the highest BRC content you can get.”
Mr. Dahleen said that Central Ink is concerned with raw material price increases, several of which have come through in early March.
“This is a terrible time for suppliers to raise prices, as our customers are reluctant to accept price increases because of the pressures they are under,” he noted.
All in all, Mr. Dahleen is optimistic for 2010.
“For 2010, we anticipate growth in news, and heatset should be a major growth area in the coming year, “ Mr. Dahleen said. “Water-based flexo is becoming a nice opportunity for us, and we are working on UV as well.”
SICPA Securink Corporation
8000 Research Way
Springfield, VA 22153
Phone: (703) 455-8050
Fax: (703) 450-4518
Total Sales: $60 million (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: Proprietary security inks for intaglio, offset, screen, flexo and gravure security printing applications.
Key Personnel: James Bonhivert, CEO and president; Tom Jay, VP of sales and marketing; Tom Classick, technical director.
Number of Employees: Approximately 100.
Operating Facilities: Springfield, VA; Fort Worth, TX; Vaudreuil-Dorian, Quebec; Edo de México.
Comments: There are tremendous concerns about the dangers of counterfeiting, as document security becomes ever more important in light of terrorism and brand security becoming essential as criminals create knock-off products such as pharmaceutical goods that can literally kill people.
Technology is critical for ensuring document and product security, and printing inks play an important role. SICPA S.A., the Switzerland-based worldwide leader for printing inks for currency and sensitive documents with sales of $400 million during 2009, provides security inks for the majority of the world’s currencies.
In the U.S., SICPA Securink Corporation dominates the security ink business, with its inks appearing on currency and security documents as well as packaging of value. For example, SICPA’s color-shifting Optically Variable Ink (OVI) for U.S. currency has played a key role in reducing counterfeiting. In conjunction with its parent company and its high-tech suppliers, SICPA’s R&D experts have developed numerous innovative inks, and offer strong technical support for these high-tech products.
For brand owners, SICPA Product Security, LLC leverages its R&D expertise into developing integrated systems for authentication and secure supply chain, combining material-based security ink technology and information-based secure tracking and tracing technology. Notably, SICPA manages the California counterfeit-resistant tobacco tax stamp program, which includes an encrypted stamp and database management system. Similar to the California program, SICPA is playing a key role in the Canadian tobacco stamp to be implemented in 2010, a joint venture between Canadian Bank Note Company and SICPA Product Security, SA that is aimed at battling counterfeit and contraband tobacco.
Superior Printing Ink
100 North St.
Teterboro, NJ 07608-1202
Phone: (201) 478-5600
Fax: (201) 478-5650
Sales: $60 million.
Major Products: Sheetfed, UV, waterless, heatset web, flexo and gravure inks, coatings and varnishes.
Key Personnel: Jeffrey I. Simons, chairman, CEO and president; Stan Hittman, executive VP; Harold Rubin, chief financial officer; James La Rocca, chief operating officer; Peter Nunez, VP, finance & administration; Richard Czarnecki, senior VP, chief technical officer.
Number of Employees: 300.
Operating Facilities: 19 branches and 22 in-plant facilities nationally. The company operates two facilities through its Gotham Ink operations (NY and MA). Spinks Ink Co. is also a subsidiary located in Chicago, IL..
Comments: With the recession having a major impact on the sheetfed printing market, sheetfed ink manufacturers were extremely concerned about 2009. With an eye on the economy, the leaders at Superior Printing Ink were able to make critical decisions during the early part of the year that paid off when sales began improving during the second quarter of 2009.
“The economic recession had a significant impact on sales in early 2009, and we were not optimistic about achieving our business objectives for the year,” said Richard Czarnecki, senior vice president, chief technical officer for Superior Printing Ink. “The company made some strategic decisions to address what we expected to be a significant drop in sales.In reality, sales recovered to some extent by the second quarter, and we stabilized our market share to what we believe was a better-than-average level for the industry.
“If we take a look at our business expectations in January vs. what we actually achieved through December, we are satisfied with our overall performance in an extremely difficult year,” Mr. Czarnecki added.
Mr. Czarnecki said that Superior Printing Ink reorganized its management team in June, with key promotions from within the company.
“These actions clearly reflect the strength of the Superior Printing Ink team, and our recognition of the skills, knowledge and years of experience of some of our most senior managers,” he added.
Mr. Czarnecki noted that while consolidations and closings impacted some of Superior Printing Ink’s customers, the company made up for most of those sales in niche markets that are showing more growth.
“Although we did shoulder our share of customer consolidations and closures, the vast majority of lost sales were replaced with new business at printers in more growth-oriented market niches,” he said. “Our energy curable product line set new sales records in 2009 and continues to open doors for us at new accounts. We also saw significant bottom line contribution from Biolocity, which was originally launched to address the environmental market trend but ended up becoming our highest performance sheetfed process ink.”
Mr. Czarnecki said that Superior Printing Ink is keeping a watchful eye on the raw material market.
“The competitive climate and consolidation of raw material suppliers continues to evolve,” Mr. Czarnecki said. “This is a concern. However, aggressive new suppliers from Asia are developing better distribution channels and adding industry veterans to facilitate stronger customer relationships.Oil prices have trended upward and we are working to minimize any impact on our overall cost of materials.”
On the product side, Mr. Czarnecki said that Superior Printing Ink expects to launch several product innovations in 2010 that will offer improved overall value to the sheetfed market.
“Customers continue to expect quality, service and performance, and Superior is well positioned with our branch network to provide the responsiveness and problem-solving expertise that today’s printer demands,” he added. “We are also planning to boost our growth and market reach through acquisitions.”
Overall, Superior Printing Ink is optimistic about 2010.
“We expect that 2010 will be a year of moderate growth for Superior,” Mr. Czarnecki said. “Emphasis will be placed on the promotion of products in healthier areas of the printing market, especially UV and packaging. This will be augmented with new product offerings and services for printers who are placing a greater emphasis on overall total cost. Superior will never sacrifice product performance for price, and we intend to maintain our reputation as the leading supplier of high quality sheetfed ink in the US.”
Ink Systems, Inc.
2311 South Eastern Ave.
Commerce, CA 90040
Phone: (323) 720-4000
Fax: (323) 721-6000
Sales: $52 million.
Major Products: Heatset, sheetfed and UV inks.
Key Personnel: Urban S. Hirsch III, ex-president; Tim Van Scoy, VP of sales and marketing; Peter Notti, another VP; Masood Solaimani, VP UV/EB; Mike Houtsager, president of Ink Systems Northwest; Steve Simpson, president, Ink Systems East.
Number of Employees: 250.
Operating Facilities: Commerce, CA; Elk Grove Village, IL; Portland, OR; Lincoln Park, NJ; technical service centers in Salt Lake City, UT; Seattle, WA; Orange County, CA; Minneapolis, MN.
Comments: The recession and the changing nature of printing have taken its toll on the publication and commercial printing segments, and even the high-end printers have suffered. Ink Systems, Inc., a specialist in providing state-of-the-art in-plant operations, high-quality ink systems and proprietary software run by experienced personnel for the heatset, commercial sheetfed and UV markets, had an off year in 2009.
“Our business was down this year, as pretty much every account we had was probably smaller,” said Urban S. Hirsch III, Ink Systems’ ex-president.
At a time when many ink manufacturers are cutting back on local facilities, Ink Systems is moving forward through expansion. The company opened technical service centers in Salt Lake City, UT; Seattle, WA; Orange County, CA and Minneapolis, MN.
In a major move, Ink Systems is opening a new subsidiary, Ink Systems East, in Lincoln Park, NJ. Ink Systems brought in Steve Simpson as president of the Ink Systems East, which is housed in a new 25,000 square foot manufacturing facility.
“We are probably the only company on the commercial side of the ink business that is opening up facilities,” Mr. Hirsch said. “We are in the process of opening Ink Systems East in Lincoln Park, NJ. We are still sort of unknown on the East Coast, and this will help us support the new business that we hope to pick up.”
Color Resolutions International
575 Quality Blvd.
Fairfield, OH 45014
Phone: (513) 552-7200
Fax: (513) 552-7141
Sales: $50 million (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: Water-based flexo, solvent-based gravure, UV-curable and specialty inks for the packaging market.
Key Personnel: George Sickinger, chairman, CEO and president; Rick Gray, VP finance/CFO; John Edelbrock, VP of operations; Paul Fulton, VP of strategic accounts; Joe Schlinkert, director of technology; Hixon Boyd, VP, field operations, southern region; Dave Barker, VP, field operations, northern region; Jim Distler, VP, specialty products.
Number of employees: 140.
Operating Facilities: Manufacturing plant in Fairfield, OH, and 19 blending sites.
Comments: The economic downturn heavily impacted all facets of the printing and ink industries in 2009, and even packaging suffered.
Even so, Color Resolutions International (CRI) anticipates a turnaround in 2010, and is preparing for an economic recovery.
“Color Resolutions International fared pretty well relative to other industry segments,” said George Sickinger, president/CEO. Our sales were only off 3 percent but income was off by 10 percent. We could have brought income in line with 2008, but we elected not to cut valued personnel that would be needed when the economy recovered. The second half was better than the first and December was strong compared to the last two Decembers.”
CRI is active in the food packaging field, and that segment enjoyed growth as consumers tended to watch their budgets.
“Our customer base was generally off with a few exceptions,” Mr. Sickinger said. “It seemed that ‘comfort’ food packaging grew last year as people elected to eat home more. All customers have become more cost conscious.”
CRI is a specialist in the water-based and UV-curable packaging ink market, particularly the high-end corrugated business, and the company enjoys its reputation for high quality.
CRI is a niche player, and we see the greatest opportunities in underserved areas of the packaging industry where there are needs for higher quality printing at machine design speeds,” Mr. Sickinger said.
One area of growth for CRI is the international arena, as CRI witnessed increased interest from printers outside of the U.S.
“In 2009 we experienced increased interest in our inks and technical expertise from printers and converters of other countries,” Mr. Sickinger said. “We attribute this interest stemming from various trade shows we exhibited at during the year. We’re seeing a demand for higher graphics and quality as they strive to meet the growing demands of the consumer product companies (CPC). The CPCs are also putting greater demand on Third World countries to match the graphics and colors produced in the U.S. We are showing success in the international market and expect our exports to continue on the rise.”
Mr. Sickinger said that one notable change CRI observed was the increasing demand for services from its core customers. “While sales were less than robust, the demand for color matches went through the roof, requiring us to add people and go to a six-day workweek,” he said. “It appears that many of our customers’ customers were making copy changes to promote new ‘value based’ products to address the consumers’ need to scale back spending.”
Should the economy improve this year, there are hurdles that will have to be overcome, including potentially higher raw material costs. “We see signs of raw material prices rising, especially in the resin area. The infusion of plant-based vehicles has helped as they are in abundant supply and costs have been stable,” Mr. Sickinger said. “I believe we will see a significant rise in raw materials when the economy fully recovers.”
In order to prepare for the future, Mr. Sickinger noted that CRI is emphasizing the importance of fine-tuning its operations, particularly through training. “At CRI, we are spending a lot of time and money in training personnel,” he said. “Technical training and the communications of technical information are getting the most attention. We want customers to be served by the most technically astute people in the industry.”
That emphasis on innovation and service will be the keys to CRI’s future growth.
“I think the second half of 2010 will be pretty good relative to last year,” Mr. Sickinger concluded. “I worry about being faced with rising raw material costs while customers are still in recovery and resisting the needed price adjustments. But beyond that, our focus is on innovation and technical service. In 2009 we were able to bring on new accounts by supplying products and application services that our competitors were not able to provide. We expect to continue doing this in 2010 and beyond. CRI is big enough to have the needed resources and small enough to be close to its customers.”