There has been much focus on raw material costs, extremely competitive pricing and uncomfortably narrow margins in the ink and allied industries in recent years. These concerns are understandable.
However, it should also be remembered that there is tremendous value that is available in all facets of these businesses. For example, consider the advancements that have been made in packaging inks. The packaging of the products we see on store shelves are highly advanced from even just a decade ago. Today, flexible packaging has a prominent presence, and energy-curable technologies are a mainstream technology. The future holds even more innovations, as digital and other new technologies continue to emerge.
There is much value to be found in printing inks, and quite a bit of credit is due to the suppliers who are partnering with ink formulators. I was reminded of this when I attended the Color Pigments Manufacturers’ Association’s (CPMA) 2007 International Conference, titled, clearly enough, “The Value of Color.” The essential point of the conference is that color plays a critical role in ink, paint and coatings and cosmetics, which is undeniable.
In a similar vein, ink plays a critical role in so many facets of our daily lives, whether it is in packaging, publications or specialty applications. Simply put, it is hard to imagine life without ink or color.
Before the consumer sees the package, the ink formulators must create inks with the necessary appearance and performance characteristics, which is a complex process. They are aided by pigment suppliers, resin manufacturers, additives companies and other manufacturers who work constantly to develop new products and offer technical service that will help ink formulators, in turn, to develop these innovative new products. The companies that come up with unique inks will likely be the ones that succeed.
The Resin Report, beginning on page 18, offers an ideal microcosm of today’s market. Despite the challenges brought on by raw material pricing and tight margins, resin manufacturers are successfully introducing new products that are helping ink companies develop new products. By developing these new resins, these manufacturers are ultimately providing value to their customers, which will be a key to future success for both the resin suppliers and their ink customers.