Top Companies Report

1. 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.” 

Brian Leen
Mr. Leen said that in all cases, customers are relying on Sun Chemical to maintain an intense focus on value and cost. 

“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.