Top Companies Report

16. Central Ink Corporation


1100 N. Harvester Road
West Chicago, IL 60185
Phone: (630) 231-6500
Fax: (630) 231-6520

Sales: $64 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 product development; Mary Dickey, VP of finance; Bradley Dahleen, VP of sales and marketing; 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: The publication printing business has taken a hard hit in recent years, both from the growth of the Internet as well as the global recession. Publication ink manufacturers are feeling the pinch of decreased demands as well as higher raw material prices.

Central Ink Corporation had long been focused on the heatset market, with a particular emphasis on large printers. A few years ago, the company began branching out into sheetfed, news, UV and flexo inks, which has helped it weather the economic storm.

“We had about 7 percent growth in 2010,” said Bradley Dahleen, Central Ink’s vice president of sales and marketing. “All of product lines are doing well. In the past four years, our business has changed from high-volume heatset customers to smaller, more independent companies. We have doubled our number of customers in the past four years. It’s hard to do, and has higher costs in areas such as shipping, billing and labor, but it was worth it.”

Higher raw material prices are a major problem for the ink industry, and Central Ink is feeling the effects as well.

“The higher cost of raw materials and how fast they keep coming up is our biggest concern,” Mr. Dahleen said. “Consolidation among our suppliers is also a worry from both the supply and cost point of views. Soya prices are up 50 percent in the past two months alone. It is hard to recoup that.”
With the higher cost of raw materials, Mr. Dahleen said that Central Ink has had to walk away from large-volume business that would ultimately be unprofitable.

“We’ve grown on the ink side, not as fast as I think we could grow, but with raw material costs spiraling up, there’s some business out there that just doesn’t make sense for us,” Mr. Dahleen noted.