NPIRI Conference Review

By Kerry Pianoforte, Ink World Associate Editor | 11.11.09

NPIRI's annual technical conference focused on 'Advancing Ink Technology in a Lean and Green Economy.'

The National Printing Ink Research Institute (NPIRI), the technical arm of the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM), held its 53rd annual technical conference, “Advancing Ink Technology in a Lean and Green Economy,” Oct. 7-9 at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, FL.

Rodney Balmer, center, the 2009 recipient of NAPIM’s Technical Achievement Award, is congratulated by previous honorees, from left, Joe Cichon, Lisa Hahn, Dr. Danny Rich and Andrew Matthews.
The technical program began with two short courses. Dr. Danny Rich of Sun Chemical presented “Advanced Color Science.” In his tutorial, Dr. Rich explored the optical physics of the interaction of light with graphic materials, how that light is captured and quantified and the important aspects of those measurements.

Dave Campbell of BASF, Jos de Wit of Eastman Chemical, Dave Bainbridge of Hexion Specialty Chemicals and Robert Gaal of Kane International were part of a panel discussion, “New Developments in Polymer Technology.” This panel discussed a broad range of polymer chemistries used in the printing ink industry, including acrylics, cellulose-based resins, polyamides, alkyds, rosin-derived resins, and polyurethanes.

Conference chair Richard Czarnecki of Superior Printing Ink kicked off the presentations in the afternoon. “Sustainability and the Print Supply Chain” was presented by Chris Becker of Times Inc.

According to Mr. Becker, to put sustainable standards in place, a company must do more than review its company’s internal practices.

“You must be aware of your print supply chain’s environmental impact,” Mr. Becker noted. “Implementing programs to manage sustainable performance is an important part of being a sustainable company. Our industry, if not policed by ourselves, could have a negative impact on the environment and this is unacceptable; economically, financially and environmentally. As the end-users of print, print buyers have a responsibility to insure the printers they use and their suppliers are acting responsibly.”

“BRC and SGP Update,” presented by John Daugherty and George Fuchs of NAPIM, gave an overview of the Sustainable Green Printers (SGP) Partnership certification program and a status update since the program’s inception in August 2008. “Particle Size Analysis – Importance to the Ink Industry,” presented by Graham Battersby of Aquvsol, Inc. discussed currently available techniques, as well as limitations that apply to printing inks.

“Particle Size Analysis – Instrumentation,” which was presented by Mike Pohl of Horiba Instruments, explored various techniques and their relevance to characterizing printing ink quality. “Wax Particle Size Technology for Printing Inks,” presented by Steve Okunevich of Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc., explored the recent evolution of technologies for the evaluation of particle size distributions of wax-based systems, and provided detailed comparisons of laser diffraction measurement in relation to the grind gage analysis standard.

Thursday, Oct. 8, featured two concurrent sessions, one on new technology and the other on regulatory. The new technology session began with the NPIRI Lecture Competition first place recipient, Gary Deeter of BASF Resins, who presented “Dispersant Design for Low VOC Solventborne Printing Inks.” His paper discussed the development of a pigment dispersant for low VOC solventborne liquid printing inks. “The goal of this development is to provide the ink industry a high solids option to the industry standard, nitrocellulose,” said Mr. Deeter.

“Advancements in the Application of UV-LED for UV Printing,” presented by Tom Molamphy of Phoseon Technology, outlined the background involved and some of the practical issues associated with implementing UV-LED curing systems. “Printed Electronics: Advances in Inks, Substrates, Processing,” presented by Stan Farnsworth of Novacentrix, discussed some of the key challenges facing the further development, processing and adaptation of printed electronics. His presentation also provided an overview of conductive ink systems, the options available and types of constraints and considerations that go into selecting the right ink/equipment combination.

“New Developments in Metallic and Special Effects for Graphic Arts,” presented by Jorg Mannig of ECKART America Corp., focused on new technology updates for inks that provide alternatives to other decorating techniques. “Green Technology for Barrier Coatings,” presented by Steve Santos, Mantrose-Haeuser Co., Inc., focused on functional coatings suitable for use on packaging products made from fiber, starch, paper and paperboard.

The Regulatory session commenced with a presentation by Jodi Visco of BASF Corporation on “Climate Change Policy and Greenhouse Gas Regulation.” The presentation discussed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, which was passed in June. The session provided an overview of the greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade program outlined in the bill, including allowance allocations to eligible industrial sectors.

“The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSI),” presented by Jean-Cyril Walker of Keller and Heckman LLP, describes this new legislation and its implication on the printing ink industry. The CPSI mainly focuses on children’s products, and applies to products made on or after Aug. 14, 2009. Manufacturers must place a tracking label or other distinguishing permanent mark showing location of production, date of production, cohort information and month and year of manufacture.

“Safety Requirements for Vertical Post Mixers and 3-Roll Mills” was presented by Joe Cichon, INX International Ink Company. Mr. Cichon’s presentation dealt with the potential hazards associated with the operation of the three-roll mill and vertical post mixer.

Other presentations of the Regulatory session were “Solvent Fire, CAI Ink Plant/Barton Solvents,” presented by John Vorderbrueggen Investigations, PE, U.S. Chemical Safety Board, and “Environmental Marketing (Do’s, Don’ts and Trends), presented by Mr. Walker.

The Friday, Oct. 9 session began with “Creating the Press Fingerprint,” presented by Matthew Kulengosky of Superior Printing Ink. “The goal of a press fingerprint is to create a repeatable, realistic baseline condition in the pressroom,” said Mr. Kulengosky. “Sometimes referred to as a press characterization, this test and the resulting data will allow for a snapshot of the press conditions and capabilities using specific materials.”

“UV/EB Food Contact Update,” presented by James Goodrich of Sartomer Company, provided an overview of new developments related to UV inks and coatings for food contract applications. “Historically, the use of UV inks and coatings for food contact applications were limited due to the possibility of unreacted monomers or other residual materials,” said Mr. Goodrich.

“The Carbon Trust: Product Carbon Footprinting and Labelling,” presented by Scott Kaufman of Carbon Trust, describes this method of calculating product carbon footprints. “There is a strong need for good quality data on printing inks,” said Mr. Kaufman. “Increased attention to product footprints creates new demand for better ink emissions factors and data. Footprints following global standards can be easily plugged into publishing footprints.” “New Press Technology” presented by Clarence Penge, Heidelberg USA, focused on the latest press technology and how it will affect ink makers.

The conference ended with the NPIRI Lecture Competition second place honoree, Don Henderson of Sun Chemical Corporation, who presented his talk on “Signature Mileage.”

“Many processing steps in the manufacturing of organic photovoltaics require solution processing,” said Mr. Henderson. “Inkjet printing is a facile method for depositing solutions into patterned think films. We will show patterned thin films of organic photovoltaics relevant materials, including conductive silver used in cathodes, carbon nanotubes used as transparent conductors, conjugated polymers used in the active layer and quantum dots, band gap acceptor materials that also function in non-white lights environments.”

In addition to the technical presentation the conference featured a suppliers’ showcase, posterboards and an awards banquet. The NPIRI Lecture Series, sponsored by Hexion Specialty Chemicals, has been a long standing tradition of this conference. The first place recipient was Gary Deeter of BASF Resins, and the second place recipient was Don Henderson of Sun Chemical. The posterboard contest is sponsored by Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc., and the honorees were Mr. Czarnecki, Bemly Randeniya of Arizona State University and Jeanine Snyder of Air Products and Chemicals.

The Technical Associate Member Service Award, which honors outstanding individuals who, as suppliers, have played a significant role in the progress of printing ink technology or have contributed outstanding service to NAPIM and the printing industry, was awarded to Maurice Carruthers. Mr. Carruthers has been involved with the ink industry for more than 40 years, beginning with Ciba Geigy in the early 1970s as a dry color technician. He joined Sun Chemical in 1978 as dispersion manager, rising to director of manufacturing and his current position as vice president and general manager.

The Technical Achievement Award, which NAPIM established to honor a printing ink scientist who has contributed to the ink industry, was awarded to Rodney Balmer, Flint Group’s technical director for sheetfed inks and a leader in the company’s energy cure and sheetfed ink research efforts.

All in all, Jim Coleman, NAPIM’s executive director, said that the conference went very well. “We were extremely pleased with the program, and we received good feedback from attendees,” Mr. Coleman said. “Our program committee did an excellent job of creating a diverse program featuring topics of current interest to our industry.”

Next year’s NPIRI Technical Conference will be held Oct. 19-21 at Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa, Fort Myers, FL. For more information, contact NAPIM at (732) 855-1525, or go to the web at www.napim.org.