For printers, the packaging market is enjoying the most growth. Within the packaging field, each segment is growing at its own rates; flexible packaging is a strong area, as is narrow web, while corrugated is not as strong.
The type of ink that is used in packaging is, generally speaking, dependent on the type of packaging that is being printed. For example, corrugated printing typically uses water-based inks, while flexible packaging requires solvent-based inks, as it is difficult to dry inks on plastic substrates.
With the growth in flexible packaging, ink manufacturers are upgrading their operations to produce solvent-based inks. INX International Ink has made the latest move, breaking ground on its newest solvent ink manufacturing plant, located in Lebanon, OH, near Cincinnati. The facility, which will house 33 employees, is expected to become operational in the fourth quarter of 2014.
In addition to solvent inks, INX will also produce three-piece metal deco, UV/EB and some water-based flexo ink at the new 62,000 square foot plant. There will also be a full service laboratory for color management and development, quality control and testing.
The new facility will replace a smaller plant in Blue Ash, OH. The new plant can be expanded up to 90,000 square feet, which was a key consideration according to John Hrdlick, chief operating officer of INX International Ink Co.
“We wanted our manufacturing capacity to be at a level where we could ensure that our current and future volumes could be easily met,” Hrdlick said. “The new building more than doubles the current amount of space we have in that market, and the design will allow us to expand the property in the future.
“Location was a prime consideration,” Hrdlick added. “The new plant is closer to our expanding customer business, and it also allows us to merge our existing location in the Blue Ash neighborhood of Cincinnati into the new plant. This will allow opportunities for our employees there to learn more and grow within our company.”
Hrdlick noted that INX currently manufactures 37 million pounds of solvent ink for packaging; with the new facility in place, INX’s annual solvent ink capacity will more than double to 77 million pounds. He added that INX forecasts growth in the solvent ink market in the near- and long-term.
“INX is experiencing tremendous growth in the solvent ink market for packaging,” Hrdlick concluded. “We continue to focus on the packaging market, and expect our growth to be very strong in 2014 and 2015, with steady growth beyond.”