As we near the halfway point of 2002, the ink industry has been fairly flat. However, there have been some bright spots in the mainstream printing processes, particularly flexo and UV/EB, and it appears the economy may be changing slightly for the better.
The news does look brighter. Printing Industries of America’s (PIA) Monthly Print Market Survey for March shows that its members experienced an average of 2.6 percent growth from February, and the survey anticipates sales growth of 3.9 percent during the next 12 months. This report, which can be found on page 18, offers hope for the coming year.
One area that showed modest growth last year was flexography, and estimates for this year put flexo ink’s sales growth between 3 percent and 5 percent. As flexo continues to improve its image quality, flexo printers are drawing more business away from gravure and offset.
For ink manufacturers, the opportunities from flexo are clearly available. In “The Flexo Report,” beginning on page 26, leading ink manufacturers discuss what they see for the coming years.
In addition, newspaper publishers who are using flexo discuss the benefits of the process in our Downstream column, “Flexo Newspapers Benefit from Color, Ease of Use,” which appears on page 21.
There is also change in Ink World as well. We welcome a new periodic feature, UV/EB Corner, to our magazine. The energy-cured segment has had double-digit sales growth for years, and new applications are being developed rapidly. In this column, members of RadTech’s Graphic Arts Focus Group will discuss what’s new and exciting in the field of graphic arts.
The first UV/EB Corner, “Looking Forward in Graphic Arts,” appears on page 16. It was written by Sun Chemical project team leader Dr. David Biro, co-chair of RadTech’s Graphic Arts Focus Group. UV/EB Corner will also appear on our web site at www.inkworldmagazine.com. It is an honor to be able to work with the members of RadTech on this column.
In another change, Ink World welcomes Tak O’Haru, president of Toyo Ink America LLC, to our Editorial Advisory Board. Ink World relies heavily for advice from our board, the members of which have an incredible array of experience and wisdom. Mr. O’Haru, who also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM), offers tremendous expertise he can share with us. With his help, Ink World will continue to be able to provide our readers with the most comprehensive information about the industry.