Starting a company in an industry as competitive as printing ink is a daunting venture. It takes a combination of good ideas, hard work and service to thrive in the marketplace.
In 1991, Jack Hurst, founder of Hurst Printing Inks, set out to create an ink company that would be dedicated to three principles: to create environmentally friendly products, raise the standards for high quality and provide exceptional service.
Hurst Printing Inks is focused on using vegetable-based raw materials throughout its product line, with special attention given to the reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in its inks.
“We make soy inks for heatset and sheetfed inks, which are our largest segments, and we also manufacture flexo and UV inks,” said Randy Ley, director of purchasing. “We’re constantly searching for ways to create inks withfewer VOCs and to reduce heavy metal content.”
In particular, Hurst’s Quattro process sheetfed series, Hurst Printing Inks’ most successful series, utilizes an advanced vehicle system. Its Paragon Process Ink offers better gloss, UV coatability, aqueous and good setting, and its O/S S.F. Diamond Shield Inks are low VOC, high gloss inks specifically designed for use in the carton and label industry.
The company has also designed specialty inks such as its Speed-Tech series, high viscosity inks specially designed for high-speed presses, and Stable Fresh, a set of process inks that stay open in the fountain, leading to shorter makereadies.
Kevin Crookston, the company’s technical director, has 28 years of ink experience, and he develops the customized inks printers need.
“All day long, customers call up, looking for special properties such as higher gloss or faster drying time,” Mr. Ley said. “Kevin can formulate any ink they need.”
Hurst Printing Inks is committed to quality, having developed an ongoing program for evaluating new raw materials as they enter the market place, and applying the principles of Total Quality Management.
Above all, Hurst Printing Inks prides itself on supplying excellent service. The Hurst family is long-established in the Cincinnati printing community, and Jack Hurst’s sales experience with Braden Sutphin and Morrison Printing Ink gave him close contact with the printers. Mr. Hurst’s understanding of what printers are looking for has been the foundation of Hurst Printing Inks’ emphasis on service.
“Without a doubt, service is our key,” Mr. Ley said. “Jack is a very successful salesman, and he really understands what our customers need. Whether our customer calls for one pound of ink or a tote to get on the press, it doesn’t matter what time of day. We’ll get it to them. Our service is unparalleled.”
The Hurst family will continue to make its mark in the graphic arts industry: Byron Hurst, vice president of marketing, heads up the sales force, and Michael Hurst, vice president of manufacturing, has a background in both laboratory work and production management.
By following Mr. Hurst’s goals, Hurst Printing Inks has grown dramatically. Five years ago, the company constructed a 24,000 square foot expansion, which far exceeded its needs at the time. The addition is fully utilized today.
“We built this expansion and wondered how we would fill it,” Mr. Ley said. “We filled it within five years.”
Considering Hurst Printing Inks’ emphasis on excellent quality and service to its customers, further expansion may very well be likely in the future.