Watching the Industry Change During the Past 12 Years

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 09.09.09

Watching the Industry Change During the Past 12 Years

Every September, Ink World publishes our annual Buyers’ Guide, which is also available online and updatedat our web site, www.inkworldmagazine.com, throughout the year. The Ink World Buyers’ Guide remains the industry’s most comprehensive listing of products and services for ink manufacturers and allied industries.

The Buyers’ Guide is, of course, ever evolving. Each year, some companies leave the industries they have served, while new companies sprout up, either as start-ups or through consolidation.

Still, coming off a year where skyrocketing raw material prices and a major global recession have dramatically impacted the ink industry and its supply chain, there have been plenty of changes among the leading suppliers. It seems strange to think that long-standing industry leaders such as Ciba Specialty Chemicals (BASF) and Rohm & Haas (Dow Chemical Company) have been acquired this year, although they are still suppliers to the ink industry (through BASF and Hydrite Chemical, respectively).

This is my 12th Buyers’ Guide – yes, the years do seem to fly by – and while much has been written about consolidation on the ink side of the business, I thought about how much the supply side has changed as well. I recently spent some time reading through thefirst Buyers’ Guide I worked on, back in September 1998, just to look back on some of the companies that are no longer in business.

Looking back 12 years ago, it is quite amazing how much is different. Lawter International, Akzo Nobel, Morton International, Union Camp and SC Johnson Polymer were supplying resins.Ultra Additives, Elf Atochem, UCB Chemicals and Carroll Scientific were among the leading additive suppliers. Magie Bros. Oil Company still was a key solvent manufacturer.

On the colorant side, CDR Pigments and Dispersions, Max Marx, Magruder Color, Daicolor-Pope, B.F. Goodrich Hilton Davis, Roma Color, Uhlich Color, Industrial Color and Ciba continually appear among the pigment manufacturers. BASF and PMC were still among the leaders in alkali blue.

Many of these companies have been acquired along the way, and their products remain industry standards, even as the manufacturers’ names change over time.

Of course, there are many companies from 12 years ago that remain industry leaders in their fields today, but the list would be too lengthy to include here. I would imagine that 12 years from now, the Buyers’ Guide will look very different. It just serves as a reminder that change is one of the few constants in business.

David Savastano
Ink World Editor