As attendees moved through the aisles at Labelexpo, they had the opportunity to see some new products and meet many new faces. The same was true for potential customers seeking printing ink manufacturers.
On hand for this year’s Labelexpo USA 2000 in Chicago, IL was at least one major new exhibitor: Braden Sutphin Ink Company, the Cleveland, OH-based 15th largest U.S. printing ink manufacturer, according to Ink World’s U.S. Top 20 report in April 2000. For Braden Sutphin, it was the opportunity to show a variety of new products and discuss its new INKformation web site.
Perhaps most importantly, Braden Sutphin availed itself of the chance to get its name and message into the printing community,
In addition, the company has opened a new facility dedicated primarily to water and UV flexo near Philadelphia, PA, and has brought in John Samony Sr., formerly of Akzo Nobel, as president of the flexo division. According to the company’s top officials, all of these moves are going very well.
“Our efforts in flexo are going fine and we’re growing,” said Jim Leitch, CEO of Braden Sutphin. “We need to grow our position on the water side, and the new facility is another move that allows us to establish ourselves further in the wide and narrow web markets.”
Entry into Flexo
Prior to January 1999, Braden Sutphin was almost entirely devoted to offset inks for web heatset, sheetfed and forms. That changed with the addition of Water Color Graphics, a Colmar, PA-based company that specialized in water-based flexo and gravure inks for tags, labels and folding cartons in the narrow web and wide web markets.
Once Braden Sutphin entered the flexo market, the company turned its attention to key segments of the market. Focused on flexible packaging, folding cartons, tag and labels as well as special markets like ink jet inks, corrugated, envelopes, tyvek and pharmaceutical packaging, the new flexo division offers a broad product line to service the flexographic printer.
Cal Sutphin Sr., president of Braden Sutphin said, “Our new entry to flexo is very exciting. It’s a new market for Braden Sutphin Ink Company and we believe it is a future growth opportunity as well as positions us as a strong single source supplier. Our new facility in North Wales, PA, near Philadelphia, will be a key in our product line expansion and quick delivery.”
Next came the need to develop products to complement Water Color Graphics’ offerings.
“For an ink company planning to be involved in the flexo market, it had best be involved in energy curing products, and Braden Sutphin decided to return to UV inks,” said Mr. Leitch. “Actually, Braden Sutphin about 20 years ago had produced UV inks in the earliest years of that technology, but due to manufacturing concerns and being more focused on offset, we stopped producing that product. UV and EB curing has become more accepted as technology and raw materials caught up within the past five years. Now we are formulating, and we are field testing our new UV products.”
As part of Labelexpo USA 2000, Braden Sutphin introduced its new water-based and UV inks for flexo, rotary screen and letterpress.
As part of its efforts in flexo, Braden Sutphin introduced INKformation, its new e-commerce program, during Labelexpo USA 2000.
According to Mr. Samony, the INKformation web site represents a new approach to printers purchasing inks from Braden Sutphin’s flexo division.
“INKformation allows us to get into the Information Age,” Mr. Samony said. “We’ve established our INKformation program to serve as a catalyst in bringing the capability of our customers to order products on line, and have their own customized site that will be password protected. It allows customers anywhere with access to our site to order inks on the web 24 hours a day, have their problems solved and follow their delivery.
“We’ve gotten quite a strong response on it, particularly with two key benefits: Our ‘favorites’ section, which permits reording high volume inks with a few simple ‘mouse clicks,’ and our interface with automated ink dispensers for automatic reordering,” Mr. Samony said. “We will work with a few charter customers in the short term and expand in 2001 to the open market.
“At Labelexpo, there was great response on our UV flexo and UV rotary screen inks as well as our INKformation web site,” Mr. Samony added.
Mr. Samony expressed his appreciation to Bill Bujalos, director of the Trade Adjustment Center, for his assistance and support in helping to fund the development of Braden Sutphin’s “INKformation” e-commerce program.
As part of the company’s new emphasis on water-based and UV products for flexo and gravure, Braden Sutphin recently celebrated the opening of its new 30,000 square foot facility in North Wales, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Hoeffel III (D-13th) was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the completion of the move into a new facility. “Both Cal Sutphin and I appreciated the time Congressman Hoeffel had taken from his busy schedule to visit and mark the company’s move to our new facility,” Mr. Leitch said. “I also want to acknowledge the support received from the Trade Adjustment Program administered through the MidAtlantic Trade Adjustment Center in Blue Bell, PA, aimed at helping us be more competitive against imports.”
“We doubled our size, and it’s a more modern facility, more centrally located to the market place and transportation, and gives us the ability to expand into our new products,” said Mr. Samony. “It enhances our inbound and outbound transportation, and we can improve production flow by implementing modern production programs that will make us more competitive within the industry.”
“Improved manufacturing flow and the ability to receive trucks into the property are improvements, and it allows us to make one move so we can continue to grow into the future without having to uproot ourselves a second time,” Mr. Leitch said. “The space will allow us to be more efficient. In addition, by moving now, we can bring our flexo division online with our mainframe computer to integrate the operation within the entire Braden Sutphin Ink Company and our 12 branch and three manufacturing facilities.”
Actually, the new flexo plant, with its increased warehouse space, will give Braden Sutphin its first entry into the lucrative Philadelphia region for its non-flexo products, which includes its sheetfed, web heatset and forms offset products.
“We are really looking to the future,” Mr. Leitch said. “We’ll eventually integrate some of our offset and water-based ink distribution, but for now, the new facility is dedicated to our flexo division.”
“By getting our new building, we’ll also eventually be able to service offset customers in the Philadelphia market,” Mr. Sutphin said.
Mr. Sutphin said that the overall future looks very bright for the company.
“I think it’s very exciting at Braden Sutphin for a number of reasons,” Mr. Sutphin said. “Jim Leitch has been the CEO for the past four years, and a commitment to our future. Our 45,000 square foot web heatset/forms plant in Carlisle, OH is only eight years old, and it has allowed us to be more efficient. We’ve had numerous head-to-head comparisons of our products by our customers, and they have found that the quality of our inks is excellent.”
Mr. Samony said that perhaps the greatest asset Braden Sutphin has is its reputation as a high-quality printing ink manufacturer since 1913.
“We are very customer focused,” Mr. Samony concluded. “With our long history in web heatset, sheetfed and forms and now flexographic products, we can be a single source to many customers.”