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 Ink Sales: $1.5 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): 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; John McKeown, senior VP, chief administration officer; Felipe Mellado, chief marketing officer and Board member; Charles Murray, president, Sun Chemical North America; Carlo Musso, group managing director Italy, Iberia, Turkey and the Middle East; Myron Petruch, president, Performance Pigments; Edward Pruitt, chief procurement officer; Russell Schwartz, chief technology officer.

Number of Employees: More than 9,500 worldwide.

Operating Facilities: Sun Chemical has more than 300 manufacturing and service locations worldwide and more than 200 customer in-plant locations in the U.S. alone.

Comments: For the ink industry, 2010 was a year marked by two key trends. On the sales side, for the most part, the printing industry had a slight comeback during 2010 compared to 2009 levels. However, higher raw material costs and supply issues created major challenges.

Charles Murray, president, North American Inks, Sun Chemical, said that the improvement in most printing markets was good news for the company. “It seemed like the economy enjoyed somewhat of a recovery last year,” Mr. Murray said. “Overall, Sun Chemical has recovered volume in all sectors compared to 2009. That being said, 2010 presented tremendous challenges for Sun Chemical and for our industry in general.”

In 2010, Sun Chemical named Mr. Murray president of North American Inks, a role which gives him responsibility over all of Sun Chemical’s North American ink business. Mr. Murray brings 27 years of industry experience and knowledge to the position, and most recently worked as the managing director and corporate vice president of Sun Chemical’s business in the UK, Ireland and Nordic markets since 2004. For at least five consecutive years, Mr. Murray has appeared as one of Print Week’s “Power 100,” a list of the most powerful people in print in the UK. He ranked #33 on the list in 2010. 

“The commercial sheetfed market continues to struggle as companies show their reluctance to increase their spend on marketing collateral and other printing needs,” Mr. Murray noted. “The publication printing market, including newspapers, worldwide struggled considerably in 2010. In both of these cases, the effect of the general economic downturn has been exacerbated by a movement to online advertising and publishing and other electronic alternatives, as well as consolidation. The market shift in the publications market has been drastic and has not recovered to pre-recession levels, and we don’t expect that they will.”

On the other hand, Mr. Murray noted that the packaging side is enjoying growth.

“In the packaging market, we have seen some growth in 2010, although it was very moderate and tempered by the economic recession, and we expect to see similar moderate growth in 2011,” he noted. “The packaging market faces different challenges than other market segments, such as the drive towards low migration inks in Europe, and the push toward smaller package size, recyclability and other efforts to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment, but these challenges are great opportunities for growth at Sun Chemical. We’re working with brand owners and major packaging groups to provide them with solutions for their packaging needs of the future.

“In all cases and markets, our customers are relying on Sun Chemical to maintain an intense focus on value and cost,” Mr. Murray added. “We will continue to raise our focus on the customer by helping them grow their businesses and succeed. That means working for our customers everyday as a partner 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.”

In particular, flexible packaging is proving to be a successful opportunity for Sun Chemical.
“Sun Chemical will continue to see growth in the flexible packaging segment, specifically value-added packaging, as the trend in the market continues to move towards functional and sensory packaging,” said Michelle Hearn, director of marketing, North American Inks. “Source reduction, a smaller number of packaging layers, along with a decrease in packaging size, continue to be ways consumer packaged goods companies are looking for support in their sustainability efforts. Additionally, biodegradable and recyclable flexible packaging materials are currently being favored by some retailers and brand owners. Sun Chemical anticipates further growth opportunities from these key areas as companies position themselves as being ‘green.’ Additional growth comes from the narrow web, tag, and label printing.”

Raw material costs and supply issues have become an increasing concern for ink manufacturers. Edward Pruitt, chief procurement officer for Sun Chemical, said that 2010 was an extraordinary year in terms of raw material challenges.

“Arguably, the chemical industry has not seen a year of similar supply shortages and tightness in over two decades,” Mr. Pruitt said. “Among the many products under varying degrees of pressure, we would highlight rosin resin, specialty pigments, energy cure resins, acrylic resins, titanium dioxide, nitrocellulose and some additive resins.” 

Mr. Pruitt said that the factors driving these supply issues fall largely into three areas. 
“First, we have seen our suppliers experience a large number of unexpected feedstock issues,” he explained. “An example would be the global shortage of acrylic acid for energy cure and acrylic resin producers. The second factor would be a surge in demand that occurred largely in the first and second quarter as businesses refilled their pipelines and addressed sharply higher demand from the developing regions. The third factor would be the general tautness in supply that resulted from the many cost and working capital actions taken by the chemical industry last year during the height of the recession.”

Sun Chemical is relying on its pipeline of new products and services to help its customers move forward in these difficult times.

“In today’s challenging economy, our customers need a partner who can help them find ways to reduce costs; a partner that understands the challenges they are facing and provides solutions,” said Felipe Mellado, chief marketing officer. “This is what we are striving to accomplish at Sun Chemical, and 2010 is replete with examples of how Sun Chemical is partnering with customers. In today’s ‘green’ environment, our customers and the marketplace are looking for much more than the standard sustainability rhetoric. They want to know what their suppliers are doing to improve their sustainability performance and we responded with very specific metrics.” 

In December 2009, Sun Chemical released its first sustainability report, which provides data-driven performance measurement for seven key sustainability metrics to help customers and consumers understand the company’s environmental impact. Sun Chemical issued a similar report in November 2010, the “Carbon Footprint Report 2010,” which outlines the results from nine independent environmental analyses focused on quantifying the carbon footprint of its product lines.

The analyses focused on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the product manufacturing and distribution phases, or the “gate-to-customer gate” lifecycle of Sun Chemical’s products. The analyses covered six of the Sun Chemical product lines, totaling nine products representing approximately 90 percent of the products it offers.

The company also recently released its 2010 Sustainability Report, updating its environmental performance.

“Through a defined road map, our sustainability policy pushes us as a company to improve the eco-efficiency of our processes and products,” said Michel Vanhems, sustainability leader, Sun Chemical. “This sustainability report not only provides our key sustainability metrics for 2010, it also gives numerous examples of Sun Chemical sites across the globe that reduced their environmental footprint or improved employee safety. These significant achievements motivate us to further strengthen our program while maintaining our customer-centric focus.”

At FESPA in Munich, Germany, Sun Chemical unveiled new global brand names to describe its screen inks for promotional, digital and industrial printing. The global brand names – SunPromo for indoor and display materials, SunCure for UV offset inks for display and commercial printing, Streamline for digital inkjet inks for display graphics, SunDisc for screen and offset inks for optical disks, SunCarte for screen and offset inks for plastic cards, SunHytek for screen inks for plastic components and in-mold decoration, SunVetro for screen inks for decorative and container glass, SunPoly for screen inks for plastic containers, and SunPad for pad printing inks – were developed to help sheetfed customers better recognize the Sun Chemical brand and easily identify the inks they need.

Additionally at FESPA, Sun Chemical introduced SunPromo Universal inks, a versatile multi-purpose UV curing screen ink system that can be successfully applied across a wide range of substrates, offering standardization to match offset print collateral. Since promotional campaigns often involve printing similar graphics on a range of different materials, SunPromo Universal screen inks are especially designed for printing indoor and short-term outdoor displays, offering a single ink system that enables brands to match the color and appearance between the different substrates.

Sun Chemical also launched SunHytek CXX inks at FESPA, a uniquely developed range of formable inks for 3D appliqués. The CXX ink series is the first to be specifically formulated for 3D automotive fascias. With consistent formability, the inks can withstand the necessary elongation.

At Labelexpo Americas 2010 in September, Sun Chemical announced its partnership with EskoArtwork was extended to further integrate access to the Sun Chemical SmartColour database in a workflow where EskoArtwork pre-production tools and GMG proofing solutions are combined. This collaboration among three industry leaders offers a deeper, more integrated end-to-end color workflow in the label and packaging industries. SmartColour, a database of real ink-on-substrate color results, including leading brand-owner color specifications, saves time and money by eliminating the need to fingerprint spot colors on production presses in order to obtain accurate color results on proof.

At Graph Expo 2010 in October, commercial printers learned how to decrease their overall ink spend by up to 46 percent by participating in the Sun Chemical Dispenser Program. Designed for commercial printers to manage what has typically resulted in an overabundance of spot color inventory and to reduce the possibility of having the wrong spot color, the Sun Chemical Dispenser Program can decrease a printer’s overall ink spend by up to 35 percent when blending the inks in-house and up to 46 percent if blended inks are purchased.

“At Sun Chemical, we recognized that many printers frequently end up with more spot color inks than they need that just sit on their shelves,” Mr. Mellado said. “So we offered an answer that not only allows printers to mix the exact amount of spot color they need, but saves them a significant amount of money and ensures the right spot color is mixed.”

Sun Chemical displayed its commitment to the food package printing market through the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Frankfurt, Germany in March. 
The plant was built using clean room and HACCP directives to ensure that the best possible standards are adopted in manufacturing of Sun Chemical inks. Representing a significant investment, the new facility is dedicated to the highest level of cleanliness and utilizes the world’s most advanced technology to create high-quality sheetfed packaging inks.

Overall, Mr. Mellado said he expects that 2011 will be a challenging year for Sun Chemical and the ink industry as a whole.

“The cost of raw materials will be a major part of the challenge this industry will face,” Mr. Mellado said. “Although Sun Chemical has taken steps to better meet the needs of its customers and offset these costs, we cannot control the factors facing the raw material printing ink market supply chain.

“Sun Chemical wants to continue being known as the company that is truly a partner with its customers. To be able to achieve this, our customers have to know that we are here to help them with their problems,” Mr. Mellado added. “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.”