Ink Industry Showcases New Products at Print 09

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 10.13.09

Print ‘09, organized by The Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC), was held at McCormick Place in Chicago from Sept. 11-16. While attendance figures were not released as of press time, there was a feeling that the final figures would reflect the current economic concerns.

Rick Clendenning, left, discusses the Evolve concept developed by INX International Ink Co.
“We thought Print ‘09 went well,” said Ralph Nappi, GASC president. “Print ‘09 was what people expected, maybe a little less than what they hoped for, but the companies involved in digital and package printing left Chicago feeling good about the show. Attendance was on the soft side, but attendees were committed to capital equipment expenditures and examining how new technologies could benefit their companies.”

The printing ink industry was fairly well represented at Print ‘09, with Sun Chemical, INX International Ink Co., Toyo Ink, Central Ink and Van Son Holland Ink among the companies on hand.

In its official statement, Sun Chemical’s officials noted that Print ‘09 provided their company with an opportunity to deliver its message of “Working for You,” by providing quality, service and innovation while showcasing its new product offerings and services, including SunLit Diamond, SunPak Diamond, SmartColour Global Shade Library, and SunCare Environmental Services.

From left, Brian Leen, Rudi Lenz and Felipe Mellado of Sun Chemical.
“Between the industry’s recovery from the global economic recession and a six-day show that started on a Friday, it was clear that attendance at Print ‘09 was down significantly,” Sun Chemical’s statement added. “However, the show did provide us with a platform to deliver our message and have discussions with both those customers and future customers who were in attendance.”

“The people who are coming to see us are more purpose-driven,” said John Copeland, president and COO of Toyo Ink America. “We’ve had a lot of interesting, quality visitors from around the world inquire about our high value-added products across the board. Of particular interest is our heatset web lineup and LED curable technology. Overall, we’re very pleased with how the show has gone.”

“We’ve been busy here,” added Hugh Takahashi, Toyo Ink America’s senior vice president. “Even though we are facing the same challenges as other ink companies, we remain aggressive in our marketing and service efforts and are making gains. This is a good place for us to expand our business, as we showcase our latest developments in printing innovation, such as our new LED curable, sheetfed and UV inks from Japan.”

From left, Mike Keegan, John Copeland, Hugh Takahashi and Yu Adachi of Toyo Ink.
“We were very pleased and somewhat surprised by the turnout at our booth,” said Bradley Dahleen, vice president of sales and marketing at Central Ink Corporation. “We had tempered our expectations but it turned out to be very busy for us. I know some were disappointed by the numbers the first few days of the show, but we were busy fielding many questions and inquiries concerning our newest line of inks, the ‘Brilliant’ series.”

Ink Companies Showcase New Products

Even if Print ‘09 seemed light in terms of attendance, exhibitors had a variety of new inks and services to showcase.

At Sun Chemical, Brian Leen, president of Sun Chemical North American Inks, said that the company’s slogan, “Working for You,” illustrates the customer-centric goals of Rudi Lenz, Sun Chemical’s president and CEO.

Among the people of hand for Central Ink were, from left, Ike
Diolitsis, Daren Dabrowski, Gregg Dahleen, Richard Breen, John Pieranunzi and Brad Dahleen.
“Working for you’ is built on the premise that we will be 100 percent focused on our customers,” said Mr. Leen. “Rudi believes that the prosperity of our customers and Sun Chemical are inextricably linked. It shifts the emphasis on our decisions to how they impact our customers and value we bring. Part of what we have to do is develop industry-leading products that our customers need and expect from us at a cost efficient price. Our customers are under tremendous pressure themselves. We are helping our customers meet the challenges they face everyday through our dedication.”

“Sun Chemical has made an important strategic change under Rudi’s leadership to be a global leader in products and services,” added Felipe Mellado, chief marketing officer for Sun Chemical. “He has raised the bar for us, and everything we do has to be aligned with that goal. We have the responsibility to be the leading company in the sustainability effort internally as well as with our customers.

One change is seen in Sun Chemical’s emphasis on a global approach. To that end, the company has formed three new company-wide brands: SunLit for commercial, SunPak for packaging, and SunTec for plastics printing.

“By globalizing our products and services, we can take advantage of our size and synergies from pigment and R&D to manufacturing,” said Mr. Mellado. “We have to have the best in class products, and we felt this was the right time. The whole world has changed, and it was ideal time to standardize our processes.”

Joe Bendowski, left, and Paul Brouwer of Van Son Holland Ink.
“This is the first time we are using a global approach,” Mr. Leen noted. “By globalizing, we can become more efficient in our resources and investments rather than fragmenting our efforts. We work closely together with DIC to meet best standards sourcing strategies and technology. There has been tremendous interest in our SunLit Diamond line, which has a wider water window. For folding carton, we are offering our SunPak Diamond, which has set speeds of as low as four hours, which is important compared to typical inks which have set speeds of 16 to 20 hours. Our Liberty HS is now our high-speed SunLit offering.”

Offering comprehensive services is another area Sun Chemical is emphasizing.

“Our SmartColour Global Shade Library and our SunCare Environmental Services are generating a lot of interest,” Mr. Leen added. “We’ve seen a lot of interest and generated a lot of leads, particularly for our new products and services. We are partnering with Environ, which has offices around the world and expertise in many areas. Many of our global customers are looking for global standardization and reliability, and we can help them achieve consistency and performance around the world. We can offer services and advice, whether it is on renewable resource content, air emissions or other areas.”

“There are three areas we are emphasizing,” Mr. Mellado added. “First is our internal processes. Second is product development, formulating products that are sustainable and make sense for our customers. REACH is a significant development, and we need to be developing products that meet REACH standards. Everything we do is REACH compliant. Third is working with our customers to find the best approach for their applications.”

Business conditions appear to be improving, according to Mr. Leen.

Cal Sutphin of Braden Sutphin Ink, left, and John Jilek Sr. of Inksolutions LLC were among the many attendees checking out the exhibition.
“There is no further erosion in segments,” Mr. Leen said. “We do see packaging picking up in certain segments and the early days of the commercial market turning around. We don’t expect a rapid turnaround. There is some fundamental growth in Latin America and some emerging markets in Asia. We see similar challenges and trends in North America and Europe.”

INX International Ink Co. offered a wide range of new products, including Evolve, its new digital approach for metal can printing. Rick Clendenning, president and CEO of INX International Ink Co., said that Evolve is ideal for helping customers examine the opportunities that digital printing offers.

“This is a whole new concept that will help evolve our traditional customers into the digital world,” Mr. Clendenning said. “Digital technologies can help them expand their portfolio, giving them some new capabilities, possibly for niche markets.

“Our core business is still ink, but if someone wants to go digital, we are there for them, just like our 2-piece metal can printer and our new label printer, both products we just introduced here at the show,” Mr. Clendenning said. “Our INX Digital team is here to help. They know the marketplace in terms of printers, chemistry, software, printhead technology and electronics.

“We see this as a way to introduce new technologies and opportunities to our customers,” Mr. Clendenning added. “I think ultimately everyone will need to develop their own niches. I have customers asking what we have that is unique, because their customers want to differentiate themselves and go one-up on the competition.”

Gerald Steinwasser of Muhlbauer.
Christopher Bonk, vice president and technical director of offset for INX, said that the company’s efforts in developing new eco-friendly products, high-performance sheetfed inks is paying off for INX and its customers.

“EcoTech, our newest environmentally friendly process series, has 65 to 70 percent renewable resources content, Mr. Bonk said. “That is pretty amazing. According to the BRC index created by NAPIM, it has a 70 index rating label. It also shows that soy oil is not the only vegetable oil utilized in ink formulas as there are other equally effective and renewable vegetable oils available.”

Mr. Bonk added that customers expect performance from eco-friendly inks, and EcoTech delivers. “These inks also have to be high-performance, and EcoTech sets faster than anything we have,” Mr. Bonk said. “EcoTech doesn’t skin in the fountain.

Mr. Bonk noted that INX is continuing its efforts to becoming more environmentally friendly. “We have six key sustainable issues here at INX that we are adhering to,” he said. “It’s not only what you make, but also how you make it.”

Jonathan Graunke, director energy curable systems for INX International Ink Co., also noted that INX has long developed eco-friendly energy curable inks and coatings.

Felix Menendex and Thomas Amato of EuroStar Ink-USA.
“Our soy-based UV coatings have more than 25 percent renewable soy content for our gloss line,” said Mr. Graunke. “The INX ProCure UV soy coatings have been a great success story for INX. The ProCure UV soy coatings were developed when a printer approached INX looking for a way to provide a UV coating with renewable resources for several of their customers, after being told it couldn’t be done. We believe the coating has a better clarity to it, offering enhanced visual appeal. It is complementary to our Fusion Hybrid system, which since its original commercialization several years ago has always been approved for the Soy ink logo.

“On the EB side, we believe our Low Migration EB series is amongst the lowest migration systems on the market, under severe testing conditions, Mr. Graunke added. “We have seen tremendous growth in the EB market for food packaging, which is helping INX continue our record growth in energy curable products, even during the recessionary period.”

Mr. Copeland said that Toyo Ink’s new products are receiving much interest in the market as well as accolades, as Toyo Ink was well represented at this year’s Premier Print and Gold Ink Awards for printing quality and innovation.

“Among our new products are PowerFlex UV flexo inks, UV Eco Soy and Alliance sheetfed inks, and our Toyo Ink Mfg. America division is introducing flexible packaging and label materials as well as its LioJett series of solvent-based and UV-cured inkjet inks.” Mr. Copeland said. “UV Eco Soy is an excellent soy-based UV ink for sheetfed and folding carton printers, while our vegetable-oil based Alliance series is a wise choice for budget-minded printers looking to improve press performance. Toyo Ink is exhibiting an expanded lineup of FD LED curable ink, which is also running on the Ryobi 750G offset press on the show floor. Meanwhile, we continue to see more interest in our Kaleido InkT enhanced gamut inks in North America. It is ideal for beautiful, sharp printing.

“Toyo Ink has further developed many eco-friendly brands, including UV Eco Soy, HyPlus 100 and Kaleido soy-based inks,” Mr. Copeland added. “The Toyo Ink Group continues to emphasize growth of the Toyo Ink brand and its global operations. We’ve been experiencing a lot of interest in our ink products from Latin American and will be expanding our efforts there.”

Toyo Ink also introduced its Value Calculator, which compares the costs of using Toyo’s inks versus competitors. “Toyo Ink has earned worldwide renown by providing our customers with ‘Value You Can See’,” Mr. Copeland said. “Our inks are high in value, strength and reliability, thus delivering 20 to 30 percent more coverage depending on the specific printing situation. With the aid of the Value Calculator, we’re able to demonstrate to booth visitors just how our products can offer significant cost savings pound-for-pound over the competition’s.”

Joe Bendowski, president and CEO of Van Son Holland Ink Corporation of America, said that Van Son is successfully expanding its Vs line of inks for the mid- to large sheetfed markets.

“The Vs line has been so successful and we keep building on it,” Mr. Bendowski said. “ For us, it is all growth as the large sheetfed market is relatively new for us. Vs Zero has no VOCs, while our Vs1 is a particularly cost effective option. Vs9 is our new UV ink, and Vs4 is waterless. As the market demands, we will add new products to the program.”

Mr. Bendowski said Van Son is now opening up new blending centers throughout the U.S., beginning in Florida.

“We opened a new mixing facility and warehouse in Miami, which will be a bridge for us to Latin America, where we are doing well,” Mr. Bendowski said. “We are planning to open two more mixing facilities later in the year. To grow in the commercial market, you have to be closer to the market.”

“Print 09 gives us the exposure to the industry,” said John Erbeck, market manager, graphic arts for Emerald Performance Materials. We’ve added a lot of products – carbon black dispersions from Wolstenholme, inkjet capabilities from Hilton Davis, alkyds, Foam-Blast defoamers and Masil defoamers.”

Mr. Dahleen said that Central Ink’s Brilliant heatset and coldset news were a big hit. “The show was great for us to launch them,” Mr. Dahleen added. “We were also introducing a new product line for flexo and this also had a large interest as well. So, all in all, the show was time and money well spent.”