NPIRI Technical Conference Looks At Change and Innovation

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 11.15.10

Panel discussion on raw material costs and supply, new technology talks among the highlights of the 2010 NPIRI Technical Conference

The ink industry has faced myriad changes in recent years. The Internet and new technologies such as inkjet have changed the role that traditional printing is playing. Raw materials costs and supply patterns have become extremely volatile, while consolidation throughout the supply chain is becoming a part of everyday life.

With this in mind, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) chose “Change and Innovation” as the theme of this year’s National Printing Ink Research Institute’s (NPIRI) Annual Technical Conference. Chaired by Rick Grandke of BASF, the conference, which was held Oct. 19-21 at the Sanibel Harbour Resort in Fort Myers, FL, featured strong looks at the present dynamics of the raw materials market, presentations on new technologies and concurrent sessions on regulatory issues and process economics.

Norman Pratt, second from left, of Flint Group, and Adrian Polman, fourth from left, of Buhler Group, received NAPIM’s prestigious Technical Achievement Award and Technical Associate Member Service Awards, respectively, during the NPIRI Technical Conference. Mr. Pratt and Mr. Polman are joined by past honorees, from left, Andrew Matthews, Rodney Balmer, toastmaster Richard Czarnecki, Lisa Hahn, Michael Gerkin and Joseph Cichon.
Opening Session

The conference opened with a presentation by William Miller, president of Flint Group Print Media Americas, whose keynote talk analyzed the state of the print industry. Mr. Miller reviewed the various printing segments, and said there is opportunity for success.

“Always do the right thing, as it will always win out in the end,” Mr. Miller concluded.

Miguel Dones of BYK Additives and Instruments followed the keynote with his talk on “Dispersed Nano Additives – Their Positive Influence for Scratch, Wear and UV Resistance,” a talk on the importance of enhanced scratch and wear resistance.

The conference then moved into a panel discussion centered on “The Future of Raw Materials.” This frank discussion, moderated by Diane Parisi of Flint Group, looked at some of the most serious issues facing raw material suppliers.

The availability of cost effective, quality raw materials has become a major concern within the ink industry, as consolidation and the growth of alternative markets for key materials have become increasingly important factors.

The panel began with a discussion on rosin/resins by John Smith, Arez U.S., Inc., who covered the wild fluctuations in pricing and supply in the gum rosin market.

Rick Krause of BASF Resins followed Mr. Smith with a look at the field of acrylics. Tom Gwizdalski of Bigler Specialty Oils, LP, next analyzed the market for solvents and oils. Dave Klebine, Apollo Colors, Inc., covered pigments and flushes; Resinall’s Kevin Cooley talked about hydrocarbon resins; and Cytec’s Jeff Rodrigues analyzed the state of UV materials.

“This has been a bad year for the ink and varnish industries, and an awful time for us,” Mr. Smith said.

After the session, a series of Technology Spotlights, 10-minute talks about new technologies, was held during the reception.

Flint Group’s Diane Parisi, center, moderated “The Future of Raw Materials” panel, which was one of the key highlights of the 2010 NPIRI Technical Conference. Seated, from left, are panelists Jeff Rodrigues of Cytec; Ken Cooley of Resinall Corporation; Dave Klebine of Apollo Colors, Inc.; Tom Gwizdalski of Bigler Specialty Oils, LP; Rick Krause of BASF Resins; and John Smith of Arez U.S., Inc.
Concurrent Sessions

On Oct. 20, the technical conference broke into two concurrent sessions focusing on key issues facing the ink industry. The first session focused on Process Economics, moderated by Joe Cichon of INX International Ink, and beginning with a talk by Jay Sperry of Clemson University, whose talk centered on “Expanded Color Gamut,” a look at how the printing and packaging segment is in the early adoption of extended color gamut printing.

Next up was Barry Cullens of Hockmeyer Equipment Corp. who analyzed “A Pragmatic Solution to Inkjet Production,” discussing about the challenges and technologies developed for the digital ink market. Mr. Cullens was followed by Rene Eisenring of Buhler, who discussed “State of the Art Production in Printing Ink.”  Mr. Eisenring’s presentation focused on the current state-of -the-art in printing ink production technology as well as the current use of inline production equipment for printing ink manufacturing.

Mouchine Kanouni of Cytec followed with “Low Odor/Low Extractable Acrylates for Food Packaging,” focusing on different chemistries in this segment. He was followed by Mike Reinhardt of Windmoeller Hoelscher, who closed the Process Economics session with “Sustainable Innovations in Press Technology Flexographic press technology,” a look at how flexo press manufactures have made significant progress in improving efficiency, reducing downtime and reducing over all environmental impact.

In the Regulatory session, moderated by Jerry Napiecek of Colorcon NoTox Products, the focus was on REACH and U.S. regulations, carbon footprints and food packaging.

Martin Kanert of the European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA) and Richard Johnson of Penn Color opened the talks with “Impact of REACH on the Printing Ink Industry,” a discussion on the state of REACH. Wendy Nadan of Nadan Consulting followed with her talk on “What’s Your Carbon Footprint?,” a look at how a company can calculate its carbon footprint as well as other key environment and safety metrics for your facility. NAPIM’s George Fuchs then brought attendees up-to-date with his talk, “On the Regulatory Radar,” an analysis of the potential for new rules on environmental issues.

Food packaging was the theme of the next two sessions. Mr. Napiecek discussed “U.S. Food Packaging Regulation Update - The Ins and The Outs!” Mr. Napiecek focused his talk on the requirements currently placed by the FDA on food packaging as well as reviewing the recent activities of the NAPIM Food Packaging Ink Committee.

Mr. Kanert then discussed the European perspective on food packaging with “Food Packaging Inks in the Supply Chain – EuPIA’s Activities and Ways Forward,” which closed the Regulatory session.

After an open afternoon, NAPIM held its annual NPIRI Awards Banquet. Toastmaster Rich Czarnecki of Superior Printing Ink presented the Technical Achievement Award to Norman Pratt, technical director of pigments and dispersions for Flint Group Print Media North America, and the Technical Associate Member (TAM) Service Award to Adrian Polman, account manager for Buhler, for his innovations at Buhler.

New Technology Innovations Session

The closing session featured a series of talks on new technologies for the ink industry. The session, moderated by Jeannette Truncellito of Sun Chemical, ran the gamut from printed electronics and inkjet to sustainability and new additives. The first talk, “Water Vapor and Gas Barriers in Food Packaging,” presented by Paul Gloor of BASF, was the recipient of the NPIRI Lecture Series award, presented by Hexion Specialty Chemicals, for best paper. Mr. Gloor discussed the importance of improving barrier properties for packaging, either to improve shelf life or make the packaging more environmentally friendly.

Mr. Gloor was followed by my talk on “The Growing Market for Printed Electronics.” Printed electronics is the fast growing field of electronic products created through the printing process, and conductive ink manufacturers will have a major role to play in this new technology.

“Novel Additives for Energy Curable Inks and Coatings,” presented by Troy Moss of Evonik, presented the results of research on the synthesis of chemical modifications designed to overcome the three most conspicuous technical limitations of additives for these coating systems: pigment wetting, entrained air and substrate wetting.

Ken Kisner, president of INX Digital International, followed Mr. Moss’ talk with “Impact of Digital Printing,” a look at how digital printing continues to make inroads in the SOHO, commercial and packaging markets in both toner-based and inkjet systems.

Mike Sajdak of INX International Ink Co. closed the conference with “Printing Ink and Recyclability,” covering the end of life considerations, including compostability and recyclability, as an important sustainability characteristic in the printed product lifecycle.

All in all, NAPIM’s executive director Jim Coleman said we was pleased with the conference, noting that attendance was up significantly from last year.

“I think we had a strong program,” Mr. Coleman said. “Our attendance was up 20 percent, which perhaps is a sign of the gradual recovery of the industry as well as the strength of the program. Looking over the feedback we received, the raw material panel was a highlight, as attendees appreciated the diversity and honesty of our panelists, and the Regulatory session also received good feedback.”

Next year’s NPIRI Technical Conference will be held Oct. 18-20 at the Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Itasca, IL. For more information, contact NAPIM at (732) 855-1525, or check the website at www.napim.org.