Waxes, Solvents and Additives

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 09.12.05

Most companies found that 2003 was a slight improvement over 2002.

As 2003 draws to a close, there remains serious concern over the direction of the economy. For the printing and ink industries, momentum seems to shift on a monthly basis, which makes for an uncertain time.

For the most part, waxes, solvent and additives suppliers to the ink industry reported that 2003 was an improvement over 2002, with new technologies such as UV and digital driving growth. Despite the present uneven results from the printing and ink industries, suppliers remain optimistic that 2004 will finally be the year that the ink industry begins to fully recover.

A Look Back at 2003
For suppliers of waxes and additives, 2003 was a year of slight recovery, particularly in the past two quarters.

“2003 saw modest recovery toward the third and fourth quarters, and we expect this to continue into 2004,” said Joon Choo, vice president of marketing worldwide for Shamrock Technologies.

“2003 was a slight improvement over 2002, as the overall paste ink market saw a slight recovery in volume,” said Marc Owens, product manager , wax compounds and waterborne at Eastman Resins, Inc. “In 2004, we expect to continue this upward trend as we continue to offer new, technologically innovative products to our ink makers.”

“Elementis Specialties sales will end the year flat to slightly ahead of 2002,” said Craig Baudendistel, business director, Elementis Specialties. “The anticipated growth for 2003 never got off the ground, although there has been some improvement over the last quarter. I expect business to improve in 2004, but not until the second or third quarter.”

“During the past year, we have found many companies interested in looking at our unique wax products,” said Eric Post, marketing manager, resins, NAFTA for Degussa’s coatings and colorants business unit. “We expect that 2004 will be strong due to the high interest from the industry in our product range and with signs that the U.S. economy is strengthening as we enter 2004.”

“We met expectations and are optimistic for 2004,” said Walt Magee, market manager, Aerosil business line at Degussa.

In particular, growth areas such as UV and ink jet provided suppliers with opportunities in 2003.

“Despite a difficult economy, Tego was able to continue its double-digit growth in 2003,” said James P. Yosh Jr., business director, North America for Degussa Tego Coating & Ink Additives. “Much of this can be attributed to the move to compliant technologies. We are optimistic that our growth will continue in 2004 as the economy continues to recover and even more systems move toward water and UV.”

“In general, our additives business is in the fastest growing areas – ink jet and UV curing inks and varnishes,” said Christopher Bridge, regional marketing manager, imaging and inks business line, coating effects segment at Ciba Specialty Chemicals. “As a result, and with our innovation record, we have seen growth in these businesses, although we have experienced price pressures for some photoinitiator products.”

As has been the case since the downturn in the economy, pricing remains tight for ink ingredients, and waxes, solvents and additives are no exception.

“The high degree of uncertainty associated with the economy and the decreasing demand of finished ink exert pressure on pricing and led to competitive intensity,” said Iuliana Nita, marketing specialist at Noveon. “In addition, there has been significant pressure on raw material feedstocks, and we see very modest signs of relief in 2004.”

“Margins and pricing continue to face significant pressure,” Mr. Yosh said. “Increased raw material and manufacturing costs, coupled with general increases in the cost of doing business (increased security for chemical plants in light of 9/11, Responsible Care initiatives, etc.), and more competitors recognizing the benefits and attractiveness of the additives market have hurt profitability. The big challenge will be to continue to provide cost-effective solutions to the ink industry. We feel that we are up to the challenge.”

Still, there are hopeful signs, particularly in specialty products.

“Pricing continues to remain a focus with both the ink maker and the compound supplier,” Mr. Owens said. “While key wax raw materials have remained fairly stable, the price of the oils and resins used in their carrier systems continue to increase. Combine this effect with the rising costs of utilities and transportation, and a bleak picture begins to form. However, many ink customers do realize that the low levels of compounds and additives used in ink formulation often contribute very little to the overall cost of the ink. Therefore, many customers see the additives area as one area that they can afford to spend slightly more to see a large return in product performance.”

“There is pressure on the downside for commodities, but pricing seems to be holding on the specialty side,” Mr. Choo said.

“In our additives business pricing is very mixed, with some heavy pressures in the older photoinitiator chemistries, but in the developing technologies there is less pressure, as customers seek efficacious solutions and are prepared to pay for the added value provided,” Mr. Bridge said.

Recent Trends
While traditionally strong areas of printing have suffered, emerging technologies such as ink jet and UV are areas where there is growth.

“We see the publication ink market as still suffering, packaging inks holding well and great opportunities in ink jet, where we offer a package of colorants, receptive coatings, various stabilizer types and UV curing agents,” Mr. Bridge said.

“There is more investment toward new printing technologies, especially in digital,” Mr. Choo said.

As ink companies look toward management processes such as Six Sigma and Lean to control their operations, suppliers are working with them to meet their goals.

“There is a focus on cost reduction via process and raw materials consolidation,” Mr. Choo said.

“Recognition of the value of added services that ink companies offer their customers seems to be growing,” Ms. Nita said. “Three areas that continue to benefit the ink industry and its customers are quality control, value-added services, and research and development. To assure their customers that ink products meet the highest quality and performance standards, more companies are achieving ISO 9000 certification as affirmation of quality management. The larger companies also are implementing either or both the Six Sigma data-driven continuous improvement program or a Total Quality Management system. Finally, consolidation will continue to be a major driving force within this industry.”

“We continue to experience the same trends as in the past couple years: increased competition both domestic and abroad, continued price pressure on raw materials and continued emphasis on value-added product development and problem solving initiatives,” said Mr. Baudendistel.

“As consolidation and pricing pressure mount, companies continue to seek ways to reduce their inventories while continuing to maintain their flexibility,” Mr. Owens said. “As with the overall paste ink market, pricing pressures dominate most discussions. Eastman Resins, Inc. has met this challenge by combining economical wax alternatives with technological breakthroughs that allow for reduced pricing for the ink maker and ultimately the printer.”

Mr. Yosh said that environmental concerns of ink companies and their customers are driving growth in certain sectors.

“Tego concentrates our product development efforts toward environmentally-friendly technologies,” Mr. Yosh said. “We still see the need for achieving a balance between compliance and performance as a main driver in the ink industry.”

Competition remains the most serious challenge facing suppliers today.

Mr. Baudendistel pointed to continued competition, pricing pressure on inks and raw materials, and how the industry promotes and sells value to customers as the largest challenges.

Ms. Nita said that there is intense market competition, which tends to be fueled to some degree by the printers’ consolidations over the last several years and the reduced printing volume. Customers expect more value added services but are reluctant to pay for them.

“The most difficult challenges facing the industry are the transition from strong publication inks toward the liquid packaging ink and specialty inks segments over the past few years, as well as shorter runs and higher costs and competition as production shifts offshore in some areas,” Mr. Choo added.

In order to succeed, suppliers are working overtime on new products and services while looking for opportunities to improve their own operations.

Mr. Choo said that Shamrock Technologies is realigning product focus to meet the emerging needs of customers as they shift their mix of products, while providing intense training for local technical sales representatives to support global customers.

“Noveon is faced with harsh realities in the business environment with customers consolidating, global competition, exploding technology and competitors with lower profit goals,” Ms. Nita said. “Noveon’s response to these conditions is shedding old habits, practices and attitudes and having the fortitude to make changes necessary to ensure top line growth and bottom line sustainability. We continually benchmark with competitors all over the world, we are constantly learning what drives and retains customers, and also how groups of customers differ from one another and how these differences can be served with a better product package.”

New products and services are essential to growth.

“At Elementis Specialties, we strive to provide cost saving product and service solutions to our clients,” Mr. Baudendistel said. “We have developed and continue to develop innovative products that provide higher efficiency, faster throughput, etc., all of which help save money. We have recently started a new initiative where we carry out joint Six Sigma projects with our customers to improve product and manufacturing performance.”

“The most difficult challenge is the ‘copy products’ from companies who make no investment in innovation, as older products move to semi-specialties,” Mr. Bridge said. “We are managing our resources to develop more quickly new solutions to customer problems and by expanding our range of product offerings, while at the same time managing costs in the older product areas.”

Mr. Post said that Degussa is continuing aggressive technology development when many companies are reducing R&D spending.

“Degussa remains committed to developing new synthetic waxes to help meet the future application challenges of the printing ink industry,” Mr. Post said.

Working closely with customers has become a necessity.

“As industry consolidation and pricing pressures continue to act on the ink market, ink makers will continue to seek ways to achieve differentiation at an economical cost,” Mr. Owens said. “A great strength of Eastman Resins, Inc. is our ability to work with our customers to allow them to differentiate themselves through specially tailored additive systems. Eastman Resins, Inc. continues to provide laboratory support for all of its products, and we frequently partner with our customers to evaluate their current system and recommend improvements.”

For suppliers of waxes, solvents and additives, partnering with customers and developing innovative products and services offers the best possibilities for growth in the coming years.

New Waxes, Solvents and Additives
The following listing includes new products introduced to the ink industry in 2003.

Carroll Scientific, Inc.
9550 W. 55th St.
McCook, IL 60625
Phone: (708) 579-8000
Fax: (708) 579-9477
Web: www.carrollsci.com
E-mail: rjt@carrollsci.com

New Products:
• Pinnacle 9507
Comments: Pinnacle 9507 is a general purpose 100% low molecular weight micronized PTFE, specifically designed for use in printing inks and coatings that will provide consistent, excellent rub and slip properties, and is suitable for stir-in applications.
• CC-5243D Sheetfed Polyethylene Wax Dispersion
Comments: CC-5243D is designed to provide excellent rub resistance and is suitable for overprinting on several substrates. It also offers improved hold-out and maintains color density and sharpness.
• CC-5148D Sheetfed Polyethylene Wax Dispersion
Comments: CC-5148D is formulated to provide excellent rub resistance with outstanding lubricity, gloss and to improve holdout in an ink film.
• CC-6664D Heatset PTFE Wax Dispersion
Comments: CC-6664D provides excellent rub resistance as well as slip. Its good flow characteristics also aid in ease of handling and incorporation.
• CC-7600 Synthetic Wax Compound for UV Inks and Coatings
Comments: CC-7600 is designed to provide good rub resistance and slip for UV curing systems, and maintains excellent stability in UV inks and coatings.
• CC-8280 Water Pick-up Control Additive
Comments: CC-8280 provides a means for controlling and fighting excessive ink emulsification in lithographic inks.
• CC-8750 Rheology Modifier-Tack Builder-Anti-Mist
Comments: CC-8750 is formulated as a replacement for dry clay and silica additives in all oleoresinous lithographic inks. CC-8750 provides structure in low ink tacks, reduces misting and is easily incorporated and stable.
• Fluotron 115 High Solids FDA-Compliant APE Free Virgin PTFE Dispersion
Comments: Fluotron 115’s ultra-fine particle size is easy to disperse, provides superior release properties and heat resistance to 600°F. Fluotron 115 complies with FDA 21 CFR 175.300 and is alkyl phenol ethoxylate-free.

Ciba Specialty Chemicals Inc.
Klybeckstrasse, CH-4002
Basel, Switzerland
North America:
540 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY 10591-9005
Phone: (914) 785-2000
Fax: (914) 785-4533
Web: www.cibasc.com

New Products:
• Glascol‚ R350
Comments: Glascol‚ R350 is a waterborne acrylic emulsion for use in high gloss ink jet receptive coatings. It provides excellent water resistance for dye-based ink jet prints. Due to its cationic functionality, Glascol, R350 improves the dye fixation of the ink jet receptive layer without addition of further mordants (like poly-DADMAC or polyamines).
• Irgacure, 754
Comments: Irgacure, 754 is a new liquid multi-functional photoinitiator for use in UV-cured varnishes. Key features include a low residual odor and low migration, with low color or yellowing after curing. Irgacure, 754 finds a niche in low odor, low volatility applications.
• Irgacure, 250
Comments: Irgacure, 250 is a new liquid cationic photoinitiator for use in UV-cured varnishes and pigmented inks, including white base coating for cans. Irgacure, 250 releases no hazardous breakdown products on curing, and is free of metals such as arsenic and antimony which can be found in some cationic initiators.
• Irgacure, 2022
Comments: Irgacure‚ 2022 is a liquid blend of acyl phosphine oxide and alpha hydroxy ketone, and is a versatile basis for many UV cured inks and varnishes.
• Irgacure, 2100
Ciba‚ Irgacure‚ 2100 is a blend of acyl phosphine oxides, and it delivers high cure efficiency, with easy handling due to the liquid form. It is Ciba’s main offering for whites, inks, and varnishes which need minimal residual yellowing after cure.
• Irgastab UV 10
Comments: Irgastab UV 10, the first of a new type of in-can stabilizers for UV systems, has much lower toxicity than materials currently used.
• Irgacure, 379
Comments: Irgacure, 379 is an alpha hydroxy ketone offering very fast cure speeds, which can be thought of as a higher solubility Irgacure 369. The higher solubility of Irgacure 379 means that it can provide UV offset inks with even higher cure speed than was possible before.
• Glascol‚ R420
Comments: Glascol‚ R420 is a polymer for ink receptive coatings providing excellent light stability for dye-based prints as well as improved drying speeds.

Degussa Corporation
379 Interpace Parkway
Parsippany, NJ 07054-0677
Phone: (973) 541-8552;
(973) 541-8469
Fax: (973) 541-8501; (973) 541-8460
Web: www.aerosil.com and
E-mail: walt.magee@degussa.com;

New Products:
• Aerodisp Fumed Particle Dispersions
Comments: The Aerodisp product line includes fumed silica, fumed alumina and fumed mixed oxides dispersed either in water or ethylene glycol, and finds applications in grinding aids, ink jet papers, coatings, glass raw materials, latex rubber, textiles and adhesives. They impart improved absorption, surface modification, rheology control, reinforcement and flocculation and are available in a dozen formulations.
• Vestowax A 118
Comments: Vestowax A 118 is a non-functionalized, low melting polyethylene hard paraffin. The special characteristic of Vestowax A 118 is the combination of low drop point and low density with medium crystallinity and good hardness. This means that Vestowax A 118 has a higher crystallinity and hardness compared to competitive low melting PE-waxes. The A 118 will also exhibit higher thermal stability when compared to other polyethylene wax types. The product is available in both pellet and powder form. Due to the balanced composition of the amorphous and crystalline parts, Degussa also expects the A 118 to find use in printing inks to improve rub resistance.

Eastman Resins, Inc.
8601 95th St.
Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
Phone: (262) 947-7300
Fax: (262) 947-7328
Web: www.lawter.com
E-mail: lawterna@eastman.com

New Products:
• SA-2300
Comments: SA-2300 is a new pourable PTFE compound offering substantial rub and slip characteristics for finished inks. SA-2300’s greatest feature is its ease of handling. As a pourable PTFE compound, SA-2300 eliminates the need for shovels and spatulas, allowing a smooth pourable transfer of wax to the ink. Also because of its liquid nature, SA-2300 will mix into standard inks much quicker and more uniformly than conventional PTFE compounds.

Elementis Specialties
P. O. Box 700
Hightstown, NJ 08520
Phone: (609) 443-2354
Fax: (609) 443-2207
Web: www.elementis-specialties.com
E-mail: craig.baudendistel@elementis-na.com

New Products:
• Dapro W-96LV
Comments: Dapro W-96LV is an ultra-low VOC interfacial tension modifier. It is designed to lower the surface tension of water-based inks in order to eliminate or reduce film defects. Dapro W-96LV will improve flow and leveling, improve substrate wetting and improve gloss.

Micro Powders, Inc.
580 White Plains Rd. Tarrytown, NY 10591
Phone: (914) 793-4058
Fax: (914) 472-7098
Web: www.micropowders.com
E-mail: mpi@micropowders.com

New Products:
• Microspersion 504 E
Comments: Microspersion 504 E is a unique zero VOC large particle sized polyethylene emulsion formulated to 40% wax solids to impart optimum rub, mar and scratch resistance in aqueous coatings and printing inks. It provides optimum surface protection while maintaining excellent gloss and film clarity.
• Microspersion 528
Comments: Microspersion 528 is a controlled dispersion of EBS (ethylkene bisstearamide) wax dispersed at 34%. It is low in viscosity and very stable, and is extremely easy to add to a formula with only mild agitation needed. It is ideal for water-reducible flexo, packaging gravure and publication gravure.

Noveon Inc.
9911 Brecksville Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44141
Phone: (216) 447-5000
Fax: (216) 447-5238
Web: www.noveoncoatings.com
E-mail: iuliana.nita@noveoninc.com

New Products:
• Carboset XPD-2781
Comments: Carboset XPD-2781 is a styrenated acrylic emulsion designed to impart inks with improved transfer properties and hiding power when used on paper substrates. The use of Carboset XPD-2781 in packaging (corrugated, bags and cups) and news inks results in more intense and brighter printed colors.

Shamrock Technologies Inc.
Foot of Pacific Street
Newark, NJ 07114
Phone: (973) 242-2999
Fax: (973) 242-8074
Web: www.shamrocktechnologies.com
E-mail: marketing@shamrocktechnologies.com

New Products:
• Nanoflon P-39B
Comments: Nanoflon P-39 is a nanosized PTFE made for UV inks and ink jet inks.
• SST-5
Comments: SST-5 is premium 3 micron grade PTFE powder with very narrow size distribution.
• SST-4SO and SST-5SO
Comments: SST-4SO and SST-5SO are very finely micronized off-white to gray PTFE for offset inks, and are economic alternatives based on prime recycled material made under tightly controlled processes.
• Fluoroslip 893A
Comments: Fluoroslip 893A is a new easy-to-disperse fluoropolymer blend for packaging inks and coatings, offering maximum rub and slip.
• Fluoroslip 895A
Comments: Fluoroslip 895A is a new easy-to-disperse fluoropolymer blend that is ideal for UV inks/coatings and matte coated stock, offering good abrasion resistance and matting properties.
• Hydrocerf 797
Comments: Hydrocerf 797 is a high rub aqueous wax dispersion.

Tego Coating & Ink Additives
710 South 6th Avenue
Hopewell, VA 23860
Phone: (804) 452-5667
Fax: (804) 541-6290
Web: www.tego.de
E-mail: jim.yosh@degussa.com

New Products:
• Foamex 822
Comments: A new defoamer for water-based inks, Foamex 822 demonstrates excellent compatibility in the let-down and in post-adds. It has an excellent balance between initial foam knockdown and long term efficacy.
• Foamex 832
Comments: A very good knockdown defoamer that is silicone-, mineral oil- and solvent-free. This 100% active defoamer is recommended for use in the let-down stage.
• Foamex 842
Comments: Recommended for use in water-based OPVs and inks, Foamex 842 can be used in the grind or let-down. Easy incorporation, good long term efficacy and excellent gloss retention are the key benefits.
• Tego Rad 2300
Comments: Tego’s newest cross-linkable additive for UV systems, Rad 2300 strikes a balance between flow and levelling and deaeration. This 100% active product is recommended for use in UV curable OPVs.
• Dispers 680UV
Comments: A 100% active dispersant for UV curable inks, Dispers 680UV is effective for use with organic pigments, particularly carbon black, and some difficult organics like Orange 34. It allows for high pigment loads with low mill base viscosities. The product is TSCA pending.
• Dispers 681UV
Comments: Dispers 681UV exhibits high pigment loading with improved flow and transparency in critical organic pigments, particularly yellows and reds. 100% active, this reactive dispersant is TSCA pending.

Ultra Additives, Inc.
1455 Broad St., Suite 3
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Phone: (973) 279-1306;
(800) 524-0055
Fax: (973) 279-0602
Web: www.ultraadditives.com
E-mail: info@ultraadd.com

New Products:
• DEE FO PI-40
Comments: DEE FO PI-40 is a polysiloxane defoamer that is ideal for inks for corrugated and film and foil applications as well as OPVs. It offers great performance, wetting and persistence.

Related Raw Materials: