NPIRI Technical Conference Review

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 10.16.09

Conference focused on 'Innovation for a Changing Industry'

The printing ink industry is a changing place, a world where new technologies are emerging across an international landscape.

To help industry leaders meet the challenges of the future, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers’ (NAPIM) National Printing Ink Research Institute’s (NPIRI) 47th Annual Technical Conference focused on “Innovation for a Changing Industry” from Oct. 15-17.

Diane Parisi of Flint Ink, the conference chair, co-chair Jeannette Truncellito of Sun Chemical and their committee and moderators put forth an insightful conference that offered an overview of what is happening in the industry, what will most likely occur in the coming years and the new technologies that will lead the industry forward.

Opening Session

The first day began with two short courses. “UV Ink Jet Technology: The Next Wave” featured Gary Swager of Jetrion LLC, John Braddock of Akzo Nobel Resins and James Goodrich of Sartomer; while “Pre-Press Boot Camp” was led by Kelly VandenBosch of X-Rite and Tom Jacobs, Creo Americas, Inc.

Attendees were treated to an in-depth look at the topics, and the session moderators were pleased with the talks.

“I thought the UV ink jet course went really well and the presenters were excellent,” said Lisa Hahn of Flexo Tech, the short course moderator. “The topics were very timely, and the attendees offered a lot of stimulating questions.”

“The prepress session went very well, considering the complexity of the process,” said Nasry Rizk of Carroll Scientific, who moderated the prepress side. “We spent a great deal of time on color management.”

After lunch, the opening session began with Rucker Wickline, president of CDR Pigments & Dispersions, who gave the keynote speech focusing on partnering, technology and globalization.

“There’s no question that competition from Asia can be severe and, in cases where the facilities are state-owned, state-subsidized or their currency undervalued, it can be unfair,” Mr. Wickline concluded. “But I submit that we can and will compete with all of these companies regardless of their advantages, due to our freedom, our economic opportunities and good old American ingenuity.”

Mr. Wickline was followed by your humble editor, who gave a talk on “The Future of Printing Ink,” with an emphasis on the growing impact of ink jet and the potential for growth in the industry. William Blackmer of Valassis discussed a new model for supply chains in “Leveraging for Performance,” and Tom Dunn of Printpack discussed “From Printing Ink to Package Impression.”

“We had a great turnout and the speakers were fabulous,” said Gail Ward of Magie Bros., the opening session’s moderator. “It think this has been one of the best conferences we have had as far as content and being able to take ideas away.”

After the session, the tabletop exhibits were held, with a new twist: each attendee was given a “passport” to collect stickers from each display. One person was selected to win a digital camera; the winner was Rochester Institute of Technology’s Daniel Clark.

Second and Third Days

On Oct. 16, the conference broke into concurrent sessions devoted to fluid and paste inks. Both sessions were standing-room only.

On the fluid ink side, Timothy Klots of Johnson Polymer led off with “Optical Properties of Opaque Latexes.” He was followed by Stanley Sacharow of The Packaging Group, who spoke about “The Worldwide Flexible Packaging Market: Emerging Trends.” Dr. James Brown of Rohm & Haas followed with “Hollow Sphere Pigments.”

After the break, Zubair Khan of Akzo Nobel Inks discussed “The Structure and Performance Relationship in UV Inks;” Sean Des Roches, Rahn USA Ltd., talked about “UV Curable Flexo Ink Formulating Concepts;” and Dr. Mark Vincent, Dominion Colour Corp., closed the session with “Dendrimers – The New Magical Surface Treatment?”

Ron McDonald, Wolstenholme International Ltd., led off the paste ink session with “Vacuum Metallized Pigments and Graphic Arts,” followed by Jim Frisch, R.R. Donnelley, who talked about “Stochastic Overview – Pressroom and Operational Issues,” and George Leyda, Colorinfo Technology, who discussed “Standards Affecting the Ink Industry.”

Dr. Gerald Bonetto, Printing Industries of California, discussed “New Cleanup Solvent Rules: Business as Usual or a Revolution in the Making?” Mr. Jacobs presented “Computer to Plate Update,” and Rodney Balmer of Flint Ink closed the paste ink session with “Hybrid Inks for Offset: Formulation and Application.”

The session moderators were pleased with the topics and the efforts of the presenters.

“I felt the fluid ink session was very progressive,” said Julie Biggerstaff of MeadWestvaco, who chaired the fluid ink session. “Our presenters spoke on topics such as UV flexo inks, dendrimers and hollow sphere pigments, all of which have exciting potential.”

“I thought the paste ink session was very good,” said Andrew Matthews of Flint Ink, the paste ink moderator. “All of the topics that were discussed are pertinent to the industry today, and I was impressed by the turnout.”

The poster board session was also in the morning, and 10 thoughtful presentations were offered.

Following the annual golf tourney and a variety of trips, attendees gathered for the Awards banquet. Ms. Hahn, last year’s NAPIM Award for Technical Achievement recipient, gave a talk on achievement as a matter of involvement, a holistic perspective and being an agent of change.

Jack Baarends of Eastman Resins presented the NPIRI Lecture Competition awards, with third place going to Richard Czarnecki of Sun Chemical for “Investigation of Non-Lithographic Applications for Cloud Point Determination.” Second place was presented to Ms. Hahn for “Polymer-Surfactant Interactions: Modes of Association and Methods of Analysis;” and first place to Steven Chan of Air Products and Chemicals for “New Gemini Surfactants for Water-Based Graphic Arts Applications.”

Rich Bradley of Carroll Scientific, presented honorariums to the top poster boards, as selected by judges, to William Dougherty of Sartomer, Michael Fein and Cathy Ehehalt of Precisia, LLC and David Alexander of Huntsman LLC.

Jeff Koppelman, NAPIM president and president of Gans Ink & Supply, presented the Technical Associate Members Award to Mr. Bradley, Carroll Scientific’s president, and the Award for Technical Achievement to Dr. Rich Podhajny, manager, technology, NPD and QC for Colorcon.

The closing session began Oct. 17 with “Proofing Technologies and Trends: The Link from Customer to Press” by Mr. Leyda, followed by the award-winning talks by Mr. Czarnecki, Ms. Hahn and Mr. Chan.


Without a doubt, the conference’s organizers were delighted with how the conference went, beginning with the fact that 230 people attended the first West Coast proceedings, many of whom came from Los Angeles-based companies.

“This went extremely well,” said James Coleman, NAPIM’s executive director. “The program’s content was a testament to the hard work by Diane and her committee, and the contributions they got from our speakers were tremendous. I’m very pleased, especially considering the economy.”

“I was very pleased with the poster session and the papers were great,” said Ms. Truncellito. “’We wanted to match up what is happening with technology to what we presented.”

“I couldn’t be happier,” said Ms. Parisi. “Everything went very well. We had excellent presentations, the location was exceptional, the papers and poster boards went beyond what we expected. Our theme was innovation, and we really kept true to the theme.”

The overwhelming sentiment from attendees was that the 2003 NPIRI conference was indeed a success, which organizers believe will give a strong foundation for 2004 Technical Conference, which will be held Oct. 13-15 at Pheasant Run Resort & Spa in St. Charles, IL.