13 FUJIFILM IMAGING Colorants (FFIC)
233 Cherry Lane
New Castle, DE 19720
Phone: (800) 552-1609
North American Sales: $90 million (Ink World estimate).
Major Products: FFIC is a global leader in the development and supply of novel, high performance dye-based and pigment dispersion colorants and inkjet inks for the digital market. It also manufactures a range of infrared absorbers for a growing range of applications including security markings. FFIC also offers contract/toll manufacturing of aqueous inkjet inks with an emphasis on large scale production and economy of scale.
Key Personnel: Brian Meldrum, president; Paul Ewing, director, new business and technology; John Spych, North American business manager; Pauline Gibson, EU business manager; Carolyn Burns, Asia-Pacific business manager.
Comments: FUJIFILM has made major inroads in the digital field, from developing state-of-the-art presses and workflow solutions to ink consumables. The company has two divisions, FUJIFILM Imaging Colorants (FFIC) and FUJIFILM North America, Graphics Systems Division, that provide a complete digital solution to its customers, and the company continues to enjoy growth in all aspects of the inkjet market.
“Overall 2013 was a strong year for FFIC, and while we experienced some slow down in our more mature businesses, the demand from new market segments continued to gather pace,” said Brian Meldrum, president, FFIC. “We also realigned the organization’s activities across Europe and North America to become even more responsive to customer needs and changing market trends.”
Meldrum noted that Fujifilm Imaging Colorants found particularly strong success in the industrial segment.
“Aqueous pigmented inkjet ink has exhibited the highest growth across the various industrial segments,” Meldrum said. “These newly expanding applications are driven by regional economic trends and the success of the industries as a whole. FFIC continues to explore new markets, and with our own in-house developed novel pigment dispersion technology (RxD), we are able to satisfy the not insignificant technical challenges of these opportunities.”
On the ink side, Meldrum said that the overall trend in ink sales for new markets continued to be upwards, though many of FFIC’s customers’ own businesses had a mixture of performance throughout the year.
“We saw recovery in Japan and the U.S., continued weakness in Europe, slower growth in emerging markets, and economic structural reform in China continues to offer exciting opportunities for this region,” he added.
Fujifilm Imaging Colorants is investing in R&D, adding its new Ink Technology Center in 2013.
“Last summer, FFIC unveiled a new Ink Technology Center (ITC) in Delaware,” Meldrum said. “Located alongside our ink production facility, one of the largest digital ink manufacturing sites in the world, the ITC is focused on developing ink formulations to support the rapid growth of new industrial applications utilizing digital print. Coupled with our Colorant Technology Center (CTC) in Scotland, we are uniquely positioned to serve these expanding global opportunities both with colorants and final ink formulations.”
While raw materials cost and availability have stabilized, consolidation of suppliers remains a concern. Meldrum noted that FFIC has set up contingency plans to ensure supply to maintain production.
“Overall, our raw material supply has been relatively stable though there has been some consolidation of production amongst existing suppliers,” Meldrum said. “Such consolidation is not unusual in today’s ever-changing chemical industry. and the main priority for our company is to plan ahead and ensure necessary security of supply across all our key raw materials. As many traditional analog markets continue to shift to digital printing, there will be inevitable pricing pressure on inks, which in turn will demand ever more pressure on costs of raw materials.”
Meldrum anticipates further growth for Fujifilm in the digital ink market in 2014 and beyond.
“With an expected improvement in the economies of key regions, FFIC is confident ink sales will continue to see excellent growth in the coming years,” Meldrum concluded. “This is particularly true in industrial applications as brand owners, OEMs, integrators and print houses discover and develop new ways to incorporate digital printing into their operations, gaining productivity and flexibility while offering greater product choices to consumers. FFIC will continue to invest significantly in both the technology and manufacturing capabilities to keep pace with these rapidly developing markets.”