Fort Lauderdale, FL was the site of the National Printing Ink Research Institute’s (NPIRI) 43rd Annual Technical Conference, which was held Oct. 6-8 at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel.
More than 185 people attended the conference, which featured concurrent sessions on paste and liquid inks, as well as the NPIRI Awards Dinner.
That the NPIRI conference actually was held, and for that matter, was considered an overwhelming success, is quite astonishing given the circumstances. The conference was originally scheduled for Sept. 15-17, but Hurricane Floyd was quickly bearing down on the south Florida coast at the same time. Given the severity of the storm, the hotel was evacuated, and the airports were shut down.
NAPIM executive director James Coleman, NAPIM president Michael Murphy, of Sun Chemical, and NPIRI president William Tasker, of INX International, then considered all of the options, and decided, with the cooperation of the hotel to reschedule the conference The consensus was that all of the hard work was worth it.
The conference opened Wednesday with the Poster Session, followed by welcoming remarks by co-chairs Joe Cichon of INX International and Paul Lodewyck of Progressive Ink. Attendees heard two of the three NPIRI Lecture Competition award-winning papers. Julie Biggerstaff of Westvaco discussed “A Comparison of Water-Borne Chemical Resistant Technologies and the Variables that Affect Their Performance,” which earned third place. Ms. Biggerstaff was followed by Gregory P. Turco, who, along with co-authors Stephen A. Fischer and Gary A. Deeter of Johnson Polymer, earned second place “Structure/Activity Relationships of Styrene-Acrylic Polymers For Pigment Dispersion and Ink Performance.”
In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Dave Salman discussed testing for volatile organic compounds (VOC) and hazardous air pollutants (HAP), and NAPIM’s Ron Saltzman updated the attendees about the progress of NPIRI’s Research Task Forces. The Table Top Exhibits, a reception and dinner followed.
Thursday morning was devoted to two concurrent sessions, on liquid and paste inks.
On the liquid ink side, Daryl Kuna of Ultra Additives, who served as moderator, led off with “Evaluation of Selective Defoamers and Antifoams Using High Shear Rotational Viscometry Measurements.”
Francois D.C. Gallouedec of Henkel discussed “New Polysiloxane Defoamer Technology, Custom-Designed for Graphic Arts Applications, and Its Influence on the Performance and Quality of Waterborne Printing Inks and Overprint Varnishes”; Thomas M. Sisson of SC Johnson presented a talk on “Acrylic Polymer Emulsions for Adhesion to Low Energy Substrates”; Ryszard Sprycha of Sun Chemical discussed “Water-Based Ink – Where Surfactant Really Goes”; and Karen Doerschug of the EPA talked about the upcoming Design for the Environment (DfE) Flexo report.
Also on the liquid ink side, Dennis Butcher of BF Goodrich discussed “Improved Block Resistance and Heat Resistance in Aqueous Inks and Coatings Systems”; and John Schmidhauser of Elf Atochem and Lisa Hahn of Flexo Tech gave a presentation on “Comparative Analysis of Dispersant Polymer Adsorption on Organic Pigment Surfaces Using NMR Spectroscopy.”
On the paste ink side, moderated by Tom Jacobs of Ink Systems, a panel discussion on ink and paper interactions was held, followed by “Molecular Weight and Rheology: A Sketch of a Resin,” by Doug Weisel and Phil Sieg of Akzo Nobel Resins & Vehicles; “Measurement for Ink Misting” by Daniel Tanzil of GATF; and “The Behavior of Modern Offset Resins and Vehicles for High Speed Printing,” by Jack Baarends of Lawter International.
The moderators were pleased with both the quality of their presenters and the feedback they received. “It was a great group, and they covered excellent topics,” said Mr. Kuna. “There were a lot of good questions and feedback.”
“The feedback I’m hearing is that it went very well,” Mr. Jacobs said. “I think we had a very diverse group.”
The formal highlight of the NPIRI Conference is the NPIRI Awards Banquet. This year’s festivities began with Mr. Tasker delivering a speech sent by H. Howard Flint II, chairman and CEO of Flint Ink Corporation. Mr. Flint is this year’s recipient of the Ault Award Winner, the highest honor in the printing ink industry, and he spoke about this love for the industry and its needs for the future (please see the entire text of Mr. Flint’s letter on pages 26-28).
Next was a video presentation by Kohl & Madden’s Joseph Casper, the 1998 recipient of the Award for Technical Achievement, offering his years of wisdom. “Everyone is looking toward the year 2000,” Mr. Casper said. “Before we can look at the future, we should look at our past,” such as years back, when presses ran 3,000 sheets and hour, and inks used linseed oils.
“Bringing added value is what our industry is all about,” Mr. Casper noted, concluding that, “There is so much to learn. I’ve come to believe that anything is possible.” Mr. Casper urged people to help others learn, by giving them the benefits of their experience and knowledge.
The Technical Associate Member Service Award was awarded to W. Rucker Wickline, president of CDR Pigments & Dispersions, for his years of promoting the progress of the printing ink industry. Mr. Wickline was unable to attend, and Mr. Murphy noted his achievements, adding that, “For all of his 38 years in the pigment industry, he has been focused on serving the printing ink industry.”
Finally, Mr. Murphy presented the NAPIM Award for Technical to Stanley Field, technical service manager, national accounts, for Flint Ink, in honor of his outstanding technical contribution to the printing ink industry. Mr. Field thanked his family and Flint Ink for his opportunities.
After the Technical Associate Members breakfast Friday morning, Mr. Rizk served as moderator of the General Session. First, Gary Cohen of RadTech International spoke about the future of UV and EB inks. “We like to say that UV/EB is everywhere,” Mr. Cohen said. “The technology is already here, and it’s the technology of the future.” The audience followed up with many questions about UV.
Next, Patrice Aurenty of Sun Chemical gave the winning presentation in the NPIRI Lecture Competition, sponsored by Lawter International. His topic, “Dynamic Spreading of Alcohol-Based vs. Surfactant-Based Fountain Solutions on Model Plate ‘Non-Image’ Areas,” was co-written by S. Lemery and A. Gandini of Ecole Francaise de Papeterie et des Industries Graphiques, INPG, France.
James Woo of Eastern Michigan University presented a talk on “Low VOC, Low Viscosity UV Radiation and Visible Light Cured Coating and Ink-Jet Ink Systems,” followed by Mr. Tasker’s “Standardization of Inkometer,” and “Good Manufacturing Practices for the Manufacture of Food Contact Inks,” by Jerry Napiecek of Colorcon, NoTox Products.
To a person, NAPIM and NPIRI officials felt the conference went much better than they could have hoped. In fact, Mr. Coleman felt that having 100 people attend the rescheduled conference would have been enough to justify it.
“We’re extremely pleased with the way everything’s going,” Mr. Coleman said “It’s gone nicely.”
“I think it’s remarkable we had such a turnout on such short notice, and that the hotel had the rooms to accommodate us,” said Mr. Murphy. “I think it’s a tribute to the flexibility of our technical people.”
“It would have been a shame to cancel it with all of the great speeches we had,” said Mr. Cichon.
“The job that the staff has done has been incredible,” added Mr. Lodewyck, adding that Mr. Coleman’s efforts were greatly appreciated. “You go from ashes to what’s been a real good session, and it’s great that we’re continuing to grow the balance between paste and liquid ink. Jim is the guy who, in the midst of the hurricane, worked with everybody to reschedule the conference, which he gave everyone enough time to replan.”
Mr. Coleman and other industry leaders were very pleased about the quality of the presentations. “There’s a continual effort to keep improving the caliber of the presentations, and we’re happy with the way that’s progressing,” Mr. Coleman said.
“I think the papers should have to be of scientific value, not a commercial slant to sell products,” said Mr. Rizk, while Mr. Tasker added that “I think the papers have been on a very high level.”
As the week ended, it was agreed by all concerned that the conference was indeed a strong way to head into the year 2000.