Ink Inc

Triangle Digital Rides Experience and R&D to Digital Ink Jet Success

By Mike Agosta, Ink World Associate Editor | 10.07.09

What can a company with its roots in the industrial and architectural paint business possibly know about the digital imaging business? A lot, according to Brad Kisner, vice president, sales and marketing at Triangle Coatings and, more recently, Triangle Digital, who said that the company’s experience makes it an ideal candidate to make digital ink jet inks for several markets, including the sign and banner market.

Triangle Coatings was established as the Triangle Paint Company in 1932 and quickly became known as a place in the Bay area where you could get anything you wanted that had to do with paint. The company was purchased in 1980 by Ned Kisner, who currently serves as company president, helped by sons Brad and Ken, who serves as vice president of operations, and the name was changed to Triangle Coatings.

A major breakthrough for the company came in 1989, with the development of Clearflex, a water-based protective clear coating for the sign and banner market. Today, Clearflex has evolved into one of the leading liquid laminates for the digital industry. It was this product, according to Mr. Kisner, that really paved the way for the company’s strong insurgence into the ink jet market.

“When some of the first digital airbrush machines were coming onto the market, back in 1989, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to really know what was going on there, because we were selling Clearflex to many of these printers,” Mr. Kisner said. “As a result, we were one of the earliest companies that sells directly to end-users to develop an ink for use in these machines–an alternative ink, in 1994 for digital airbrush machines. That was the start of this for us.”

The company has grown tremendously, nearly doubling in size every year since then. The digital ink jet division has gotten so large, said Mr. Kisner, that the company was able to spin it off into its own unit. Triangle Digital began operations as an independent unit in January 2002, targeting the sign, banner and POP display, tag and label, marking and barcoding and textile markets, as well as specialty industrial applications. “Sign, banner andPOP display are the markets we are really working on,” said Mr. Kisner, “and the other is specialty industrial applications.

“Say you’re a manufacturer, and you’re doing a bunch of different jobs; you’ve got to change setups and several other things. With digital, you just send the right file and quickly knock out a specialty customized product for the customer,” he said.

“This mass customization is really, I believe, where people are headed for their products, and it’s really what people are asking for in the marketplace. It’s the way people want it and they are willing to pay for it.”

Mr. Kisner stressed that though the ink jet division is new, the company has years of experience in the field. “We’ve been producing ink jet for years,” he said. “We’re just separating it out of the other divisions to give it its own focus–primarily in R&D. By doing this we get all our energies and equipment to focus on the digital imaging market.

“Our real goal is to be the best ink jet ink and subsequent related product-manufacturing worldwide. Lower cost, wider color gamut, warranty and our parts program are what set us apart.”

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