Ink Inc

Craig Adhesives Excels in Demanding Segments

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 12.02.09

Perhaps the most challenging project for printers are scratch-off game tickets. In order to prevent fraud, intricate security measures are created on an ongoing basis, thus preventing people from being able to check the results ahead of time.

Companies that specialize in formulating inks and coatings for the scratch-off game market are among the most sophisticated manufacturers. By having the know-how to create these security measures, these companies can leverage those capabilities into other challenging segments.

Such is the case for Craig Adhesives and Coatings, a Newark, NJ-based specialist in adhesives, coatings and specialty inks. Craig Adhesives was formed more than 30 years ago as an in-house chemical unit, and expanded when new opportunities began to emerge. The company quickly developed new capabilities, such as UV, EB and water-based inks and coatings for labels, lottery, packaging, business forms, direct mail and other end markets.

“We took what we learned on scratch-off applications to move into new segments over the years, and in many cases helped us to become pioneers in these fields,” said Howard Ragin, president of Craig Adhesives.

UV is one such area. Because of Craig Adhesives’ understanding of energy curing, the company quickly made significant inroads in areas such as pet food packaging.

“We were able to take our advances in UV into the packaging side of the business, such as large pet food bags,” Mr. Ragin said. “Pet food companies were looking to differentiate their products on the shelf, and UV offered one such opportunity, but it lacked the slip that was needed. We were the first company that was able to determine the key to meeting slip requirements.”

To further enhance Craig Adhesives’ responsiveness to marketplace demands, the company has appointed technical sales experts to oversee each key area, with David Mistretta, vice president and director of sales, overseeing each market segment. Market segment managers include Dave Elliott, label products; Mike Edwards, paper, packaging and commercial products; and Larry Thomas, specialty products. Mark Mitry will serve as technical director.

Mr. Mistretta joined Craig Adhesives in 2004 after a 23-year career at Sun Chemical, where he had been most recently marketing manager for web offset heatset. Mr. Mitry, the former technical director at Rad-Cure, joined Craig Adhesives in January 2005.

“Like any business, we have to keep pace with market trends,” Mr. Ragin said. “Our new structure will help us keep a closer eye on the key industries we serve while we also aggressively look at new niches and develop ways to further differentiate ourselves. Our new people bring a wealth of experience and drive.”

Developing new products that will make a difference for customers is a top priority. One such product is Craigcoat 1077M-3 coating, which is ideal for hybrid ink chemistries. In a blank test conducted at Bentley Graphic Communications between its house coating, a competitor of Craig and 1077M-3, the Craig product was 12 gloss points higher, and maintains that gloss while printing at speeds of 10,000 impressions per hour.

“In the commercial market, the use of hybrid ink chemistry has taken off,” Mr. Ragin said. “One of the keys is to have UV curing inline that will replicate offline coating. We developed our 1077M-3 coating, which is geared to retaining higher gloss, and have received the strongest endorsements from leading customers and press manufacturers who conducted head-to-head comparisons and switched to our coatings.”

Mr. Ragin said that service and quality have long been historic strengths for the company, and the new structure will ensure that Craig Adhesives will continue to provide the best of both worlds.

“Customers want to buy the best possible product at reasonable prices, but more importantly, they need solutions to their challenges,” Mr. Ragin said. “We look to differentiate ourselves by bringing new products to market and solving challenges for our customers. Our new approach will allow us to react on an even more timely basis, which gives me even more reason to be very optimistic about our future.”