Top Companies Report

16. 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.”