Top Companies Report

3 INX International Ink Co.


3 INX International Ink Co.
150 N. Martingale, Suite 700
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (630) 382-1800
Fax: (847) 969-9758

Sales: $375 million.

Major Products: A full line of ink and coatings solutions technology for packaging, commercial and digital print applications, including metal decorating, flexographic, gravure, web offset, lamination, corrugated, sheetfed, digital and UV/EB inks and coatings.

Rick Clendenning
Key Personnel: Kotaro Morita, chairman; Rick Clendenning, president and CEO; Bryce Kristo, CFO and senior VP, general affairs; John Hrdlick, senior VP COO, operations; Rick Westrom, senior VP, strategic global sourcing/R&D director; Bob Osmundsen, senior VP, general counsel; Jonathan Ellaby, VP, international operations; Charlie Sagert, VP director of sales; Mark Hill, VP liquid technology/assistant R&D director; Toru Kaneko, VP R&D director offset; Jon Graunke, VP/R&D director – energy curable technologies; Joe Kelly, VP/R&D director – water technologies; Dave Maternowski, VP quality systems; Dan Lombardo, VP of operations, metal/energy curable; Jim Lambert, VP/GM Digital Division; Randy LaCaze, VP/CTO Digital Division electronics & hardware; Dave Waller, VP of rigid packaging sales; David Sambo, VP of offset sales; Bruce Elder, VP of liquid sales; Joe Cichon, VP of manufacturing; Jim Bailen, VP of engineering; Michael Brice, VP of offset operations; Craig Reid, VP digital.
Number of Employees: Approximately 1,100.

Operating Facilities: Fifteen manufacturing locations and approximately 190 in-plant locations throughout North America. Two North American R&D Centers: West Chicago, IL (traditional technologies) and San Leandro, CA (inkjet technologies).

Subsidiaries: INX International U.K., Heywood, England; INX International France, Bretigny, France; INX Digital Milan, Italy; INX Digital Prague; Parent Company: Sakata INX, Osaka, Japan.

Comments: INX International Ink Company had an excellent year in 2013, with sales growing 12% to $375 million. Rick Clendenning, president and CEO of INX International, said that improvements in existing customers’ business was a key driver in this growth.

“INX had a very good year,” Clendenning said. “Our sales grew, but not as planned due to a very aggressive sales target. In most segments, our customers seem to be improving and getting stronger. There are certain parts of our commercial business that is still struggling, and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better in the short term.”

Packaging and digital inks are growth segments for the ink industry, and INX International is well positioned in both of these fields.

“In 2013, we continued growing our packaging segments,” Clendenning said. “Rigid, flexible and paper consumer packaging ink technologies all experienced upticks. Our energy curable products also continue trending upwards as they have in the past. Our inkjet ink business experienced some growth, and we are very excited about all the opportunities we are getting with hardware and chemistry calibration from our newly formed division.”

Digital is a strong growth area for INX, and the company continues to showcase how its inkjet solutions can benefit conventional printers. To help facilitate that, INX merged its digital subsidiary into the parent company.

“It was a very exciting year,” Clendenning said. “We merged our digital business (INX Digital International) into INX International at the beginning of 2013, which really helped strengthen our digital efforts. This opened up opportunities for people to work closer together with more resources to help grow the inkjet business in North America.”

The company also expanded its packaging operations, opening up its new Heywood, UK metal deco ink plant and breaking ground on a new solvent ink plant in Lebanon, OH. The Heywood plant is the largest two-piece metal decorating plant outside the U.S. The new 62,000 square foot Lebanon facility will also produce three-piece metal deco, UV/EB and some water-based flexo ink. With the new facility INX’s annual solvent ink capacity will more than double to 77 million pounds.

“We moved and opened a new UK manufacturing facility last August,” Clendenning said. “This new facility gives us more capacity for our metal decorating ink business and provides more space to begin moving other technologies into the new building. In North America last December, we broke ground for our new liquid ink manufacturing facility in Lebanon, OH. This facility will produce mainly solvent packaging ink, one of our fastest growing segments. We project this building will be operational later this year in the fourth quarter.”

After a challenging 2012 in which margins had been under pressure, Clendenning noted that improved operational efforts helped grow the bottom line.

“We instituted many things in 2012 that really helped us in 2013,” he said. “Our TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) efforts in our major manufacturing facilities are going well and helped us control our overall operational costs throughout the year. Everyone at INX did a great job to make the year very successful.”

Raw material costs have stabilized at higher levels, which remains a concern for ink manufacturers.

“Our raw material costs were pretty stable in 2013, but they are still higher compared to where they need to be,” Clendenning said. “There are certain materials where we have concerns about availability and rising costs. We will continue to focus on our raw materials and associated costs to meet our goals in 2014.”

Clendenning anticipates INX International continuing its improved performance into 2014 and beyond.

“Since our 2013 performance was strong, I am optimistic about this year,” Clendenning noted. “We certainly need to be careful and continue to manage our costs throughout the year, especially in our raw materials area. We cannot afford to absorb more material price increases as we have experienced in the last several years.”