For manufacturers of waxes, solvents and additives, 2006 was a year of mixed results. Business was
“Noveon continued to perform very well in 2006, especially in our wax and additives businesses,” said Josh Rosenheck, commercial platform manager, Noveon Surface Modifiers. “Although it will require a lot of work from our entire team, we expect this to continue into 2007.”
“Keim-Additec experienced double-digit growth in 2006, although the water-based industry did not fare nearly as well,” said Alan Kalmikoff, president of Keim-Additec Surface USA, LLC. “Our growth was due in part to the relative economy of scale of our still-new business to the U.S. market.”
“Spiraling raw material costs have challenged us to find additional ways to take out costs to mitigate the impact on our margins and pricing,” said Guy Trerotola, market manager, commercial offset for Hexion Specialty Chemicals. “With the numerous raw material increases over the past two years it has become successively more difficult to find new opportunities to reduce costs. In 2006 we were faced with the reality of further margin contraction and more pass through costs in the form of price increases.”
“In general, the Elementis business was good in 2006,” said Sel Avci, marketing manager for Elementis Specialties. “Although we have seen decline in publication business, we saw improvement in water-based liquid ink business additives. We expect the same trend in 2007.”
“We’ve been on the leading edge of developing UV/EB curable ink resins and additives for low extractable/low odor, indirect food packaging printing which comply with European REACH regulations,” said Michael Kucharski, marketing manager – graphics, Americas for Cytec. “For 2007, our expectations are that we will continue developing new products which also meet or exceed new opportunities created by the FDA.”
“2006 was a very good year for Colloides Naturels, especially since we launched two new products into the lithography market,” said Sharrann Simmons, vice president and general manager, Colloides Naturels, Inc.
The higher costs of raw materials impacted pricing throughout the supply chain for ink manufacturers, and waxes and additives were no exception.
“Supply seems to be stable for our types of raw materials; however, the prices have increased several times since early 2006,” said Joon Choo, vice president of marketing for Shamrock Technologies.
“Raw material prices continue to increase while supplies of certain classes of materials continue to tighten,” Mr. Rosenheck noted.
“We chose to hold price increases to a minimum in 2006, even in the face of higher energy costs for transportation and the fluctuating exchange rates,” Mr. Kalmikoff said. “There were some shortages of certain PE types from Germany this summer, but the relative supply situation overall is OK.”
“Raw material pricing is still volatile – it’s a see-saw market right now,” Mr. Kucharski said.
“The acacia gum (gum arabic) market has stabilized and pricing is now very attractive vs. other indirect substitutes,” Ms. Simmons said. “Acacia gum is harvested from more than 15 countries, which contributes to the stable supply situation worldwide.”
The consolidation that occurred in the ink industry has led to changes in the marketplace, including an increasing emphasis on the bottom line.
“The most obvious trend is the consolidation of the ink companies and cutbacks in R&D efforts,” Mr. Avci noted. “The ink companies are pretty much focused on increasing their bottom line profits by consolidation of their business units as well as their product lines. Most lab or technical efforts are in lowering the cost of their formulations.”
“The ink industry continues to demand lower prices first, followed by innovative problem solving technology,” Mr. Rosenheck said.
“It is extremely difficult to create broad-based interest in water-based additive technology, however, innovative and differentiated, due to the on-going distractions caused by consolidations of many ink companies,” Mr. Kalmikoff said.
“There are strong economic pressure to lower costs, as well as consumer pressure to have safe products with more natural ingredients,” Ms. Simmons added.
“The continued increases in the cost of raw materials has resulted in the realization that ink prices must be advanced if producers expect to be viable and sustainable,” Mr. Trerotola said. “Multiple ink price increases in the same year were historically unprecedented. They are now considered unavoidable, and a prudent business practice when faced with the alternative.”
Still, there are opportunities for new technologies. For example, Mr. Choo noted the continuing push in use of radiation-cured inks as well as RFIDs. Mr. Kucharski sees growth potential in packaging.
“We’re seeing market demands for developing new inks that adhere to everything, and for ink additives to be more ‘packaging friendly,’” Mr. Kucharski said. “The emerging market segments of packaging graphics, commercial printing, publishing and industrial graphics are especially looking for more innovation. Also, we’re seeing UV/EB curable technologies continuing to attract more users.”
There are many challenges ahead for ink manufacturers and their suppliers, who are working hard to develop solutions.
Potential shortages are a major concern, and Mr. Rosenheck noted that Noveon is in a strong position to avoid such shortages.
“The most difficult challenges are raw material shortages due to an ever changing oil market, competing with low cost imported products and shorter turnaround times of finished goods,” Mr. Rosenheck said. “Presently, Noveon is dealing with these challenges by continuing to grow our extremely strong supply positions with our raw material suppliers. Looking towards the future, Noveon is utilizing its corporate technical resources, in conjunction with its parent company, Lubrizol, to prepare for the changing raw material markets. Through corporate research programs, we are looking to have tighter control on raw materials by creating them internally to offer our customers a more stable supply and cost.”
Overseas competition is a challenge. Mr. Choo pointed to stability in pricing and competition of overseas supply as challenges, adding that Shamrock Technologies is responding to those challenges by spreading its risks by investing more in its China plant, expanding production in its Belgium plant and focusing on global coordination of critical operational functions.
“The increase in the volume of finished goods being produced in Asia is a significant challenge for North America and Europe,” Mr. Trerotola said. “Asian sourced packaging and print volumes parallel this trend.”
“Hexion is strategically located throughout the world,” Mr. Trerotola added. “We are able to take advantage of the most economical regional raw material sources. We continue to research more efficient and renewable raw materials and manufacturing processes.”
Ink manufacturers have a major need for innovation, and suppliers can play a key role in helping ink manufacturers differentiate their products.
“Ink companies struggle to differentiate themselves, and in doing so, struggle to get margins up,” Mr. Kalmikoff said. “Keim-Additec continues to offer innovative materials for the water-based markets.”
“The converter base is shrinking because of consolidation,” Mr. Kucharski said. “Everyone in the graphics industry will have to maximize their positions in the value chain. We’re developing innovative UV/EB curable ink resins and additives, that in turn, help our customers successfully differentiate themselves in an increasingly global marketplace. Also, we’re enhancing our technical service, R&D, and trial ink capabilities.”
“Long term, the challenge will always be how to deliver the highest quality print image for the lowest cost,” Ms. Simmons noted. “CNI continues to be the leader in product innovation as evidenced by our launch of two new products this year.”
New Waxes, Solvents and Additives
The following listing includes products introduced to the ink industry in 2006.
Ciba Specialty Chemicals
540 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY 10591
Phone: (800) 431-4360
Fax: (800) 920-0023
• EFKA-7431 and EFKA-7441
Comments: High molecular weight dispersing agents for water-based liquid packaging ink applications. In dispersions of organic pigments, achieves improved chromatic strength, reduced viscosity and/or higher pigment loading.
• EFKA 7201
Comments: EFKA-7201 is a defoamer for water-based liquid packaging inks and OPVs, and offers excellent defoaming power, durability of performance and low cost-in-use.
• Tinuvin 520
Comments: Tinuvin 520 is water soluble HALS light stabilizer for ink receptive coatings, ideal for coating formulations to improve light fastness and ozone stability of dye-based inks.
• Tinuvin 477DW
Comments: Tinuvin 477DW is a water-based dispersion of a high extinction UVA which can be incorporated into dense polymer and microporous coating formulations or waterborne OPV to improve lightfastness of the image.
• Irgastab UV-2
Comments: Irgastab UV-22 prevents premature gelling of UV cured inks and coatings without comprising on-press curing performance.
• Glaswax E100
Comments: Glaswax E100 is a water-based wax formulation based on a medium melting point polyethylene wax. It is designed to significantly increase slip and abrasion resistance of water-based inks and coatings.
300 Brookside Ave.
Ambler, PA 19002-3498
Phone: (215) 628-1226
Fax: (215) 628-1060
• Perenol S 57
Comments: Perenol S 57 is a solvent-free, 100% active, polyether modified polysiloxane for use in inks, coatings and paints. It exhibits excellent substrate wetting and reduction of the surface tension of the liquid film. It is compatible with a wide range of resins and provides slip modified surfaces that are conducive to recoatability at low dosage. Perenol S 57 has been found to improve gloss, scratch resistance and levelling of coatings, and provides very efficient reduction of COF.
Colloides Naturels, Inc.
1140 US Hwy 22, Suite 102
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Phone: (800) 872-1850; (908) 707-9400
Fax: (908) 707-9405
• Lithogum Plus and Lithogum Premium
Comments: These new Lithogum products address the market needs for economic yet highly functional ingredients for fountain solutions and for plate finishing. In addition to acacia gum’s technical functionality, it is 100% natural and environmentally friendly in many ways.
1950 Lake Park Drive
Smyrna, GA 30080
Phone: (800) 652-6013
Fax: (678) 255-4746
• Additol S 100, S 110, S 120 and S 130 In-Can Ink Stabilizer
Comments: Additol S 100, S 110, S 120 and S 130 In-Can Ink Stabilizers extend in-can shelf life and enhance in-can stability with no impact on reactivity during the curing process.
329 Wyckoffs Mill Road
Hightstown, NJ 08520
Phone: (609) 443-2002
Fax: (609) 443-2422
• Rheolate 600 series associative thickeners
Comments: Rheolate 600 series associative thickeners for water-based inks and coatings are solvent-, APE- and tin-free. They offer excellent flow and leveling, excellent color acceptance and stability, easy incorporation and customized rheology.
• Thixatrol UV 1104 rheology modifier
Comments: Thixatrol UV 1104 is a 100% active liquid that offers excellent rheology control for offset and screen inks. It provides excellent anti-settling properties and excellent compatibility with UV monomers and oligomers.
Hexion Specialty Chemicals
8601 95th St.
Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
Phone: (262) 947-7300 ext. 7555
Fax: (281) 205-2651
• Stirinol 1300 Micro/PTFE High Solids Heatset Compound
Comments: Stirinol 1300 is a concentrated, multi-purpose heatset compound formulated to exhibit suitable slip and rub for publication inserts, catalogs, tabloids and cover work. Stirinol 1300 has exceptional recrystallization resistance for problem-free ink processing, is easy to disperse and economical versus competitive blended micro/PTFE blends.
• Stirinol 96 High Solids Microcrystalline Heatset Compound
Comments: Stirinol 96 is a concentrated, multi-purpose, heatset compound formulated to exhibit suitable slip, rub and block resistance. Stirinol 96 may be used in adjunct with other compounds to promote slip over turning bars and nose cones for high speed printing. Because Stirinol 96 has exceptional recrystallization resistance, it can be shipped liquid bulk and added directly to the ink during processing.
Keim-Additec Surface USA, LLC
1200 Central Ave., Suite 306
Wilmette, IL 60091
Phone: (847) 920-1676
Fax: (847) 920-1681
• Ultralube M34
Comments: Ultralube M34 is a matte dispersion agent.
• Silcoglide V30N
Comments: Silcoglide V30N is a high solids silicone dispersion.
• Ultralube MD-2030
Comments: Ultralube MD-2030 is a high-performance modified PE microdispersion that provides excellent high slip properties.
9911 Brecksville Road
Cleveland, OH 44141
Phone: (216) 447-5000
Fax: (216) 447-5238
• CC-5246D and CC-5243D Sheetfed Polyethylene Wax Dispersion
Comments: These optical density stabilizers are ideal for use in sheetfed inks, providing excellent rub resistance while exhibiting outstanding gloss retention in the printed ink film. It is designed to reduce dryback and maintain the jetness in a printed black ink film.
• CC-7920 and CC-7930 Texturing Dispersions for Energy Curable Coatings
Comments: These dispersions are designed to provide a textured surface when added to energy curable overcoats. Both CC-7920 and CC-7930 dispersions are ideal for use in most energy curable overprints.
• CC-8508 Anti-Mist Additive
Comments: Ideal for all oleoresinous lithographic inks, CC-8505 additive provides added structure for low ink tacks, reduces misting, stirs in easily and is less susceptible to gloss reduction. It is recommended for use in all lithographic inks when a reduction in misting and higher viscosities and yield values are desired.
• CC-8750 Rheology Modifier
Comments: CC-8750 rheology modifier is formulated as a replacement for dry clay and silica additives in all oleoresinous lithographic inks. This product provides structure at low ink tacks, reduces misting, stirs in easily and offers a more stable viscosity than powders.
• Pinnacle 2530 Erucamide Wax
Comments: A micronized erucamide wax, Pinnacle 2530 promotes slip, rub-resistance and antiblocking in flexo and gravure inks. It may be used for food contact applications under FDA 21 CFR. A stir-in polymer, Pinnacle 2530 will disperse easily when using high-speed dispersing equipment.
• Thermol 38C Heat-Resistant Microcrystalline Heatset Wax Compound
Comments: Thermol 38C is a proprietary blended wax compound for use in heatset ink systems and represents Noveon’s premium abrasion-resistant product for quality heatset work. A “Low Pepper” compound exhibiting a high level of heat-resistance during the manufacturing process, Thermol 38C also offers excellent rub and slip performance with outstanding gloss retention.
• CC-4520 Polyethylene Dispersion
Comments: A resin-based, high-solids, all-purpose polyethylene dispersion, CC-4520 is designed for use in water-based inks and coatings. It is formulated to be surfactant-free, and this oxidized wax is dispersed in Noveon resin. CC-4520 dispersion provides superior rub- and abrasion-resistance, improved slip, and better scratch- and block-resistance.
• CC-7655 Wax Dispersion for Energy Curable Coatings
Comments: CC-7655 dispersion is primarily used in energy curable OPVs. It provides low COF and good rub-resistance, while remaining suspended in the coating for longer periods compared to conventional wax dispersions.
Foot of Pacific Street
Newark, NJ 07114
Phone: (973) 242-2999; (800) 349-1822
Fax: (973) 242-8074
• Hydrocer 303
Comments: Hydrocer 303 is a 35% stable aqueous dispersion of a specialty blend of PE waxes for water-based inks and coatings which provides good rub resistance and slip with moderate impact on gloss. This product can be post-added after let down using mild agitation.
• New Series of Application Focused PTFEs
Comments: MF 1213 is a pure white grade of PTFE developed specifically for sheetfed lithographic inks. This high performance additive provides excellent slip and low COF in the print. MF 1213 has a very narrow particle size distribution suitable for uniform and high gloss applications. MF 3203, a gray version of MF 1213, is designed for universal use in offset inks.
• CeraSperse 164
Comments: CeraSperse 164 is a high performance PE/PTFE wax compound in vegetable oil which exhibits excellent rub resistance, relative slip and good gloss retention. Its higher level of PTFE imparts several advantages over straight PE compounds, such as lower static, dynamic COF and better heat resistance. CeraSperse 164 can also be used in laser printing and hot foil stamping.
• Dispersion 610
Comments: Dispersion 610 is a chelating or sequestering agent for litho inks (heatset/sheetfed) applications, developed to lock up unwanted metal ions derived from pigments, hard mineral water, paper pulps and paper extenders. It helps to neutralize by sequestering calcium and magnesium ions and prevents the formulation of precipitates for long press runs.
• S-394 SD2
Comments: S-394 SD2 is a spherical wax powder with a narrow and fine particle size distribution of 4 to 5 micron mean value which more easily
incorporates into inks and coatings with mild agitation compared to many micronized PE waxes. It provides superior rub resistance, excellent imprintability and freedom from overprint varnish “crawling.”
• Hydrocer EE895
Comments: Hydrocer EE895 is an anionic FDA compliant high density PE emulsion for water based inks, coatings and over print varnishes. It exhibits good abrasion resistance, slip properties and rapid water repellency and is the best choice for food contact in thin-film applications.