Companies throughout the printing ink supply chain have faced difficult circumstances during the past 12 months, as prices of key raw materials are volatile, and supply is uncertain. However, there has also been some good news, as the ink industry has enjoyed a slight recovery.
“Like many raw material suppliers, the wax and additives industry faced many challenges in 2010,” said Ron Levitt, regional sales leader, North America for Shamrock Technologies. “Raw material prices have increased across the board, and in some cases dramatically. We also experienced raw material shortages for some feedstocks. The good news was that business definitely picked up and improved over 2008/2009.
“We saw a general recovery,” Mr. Levitt added. “I believe this was mainly due to many customers having gone through the cycle of running inventories down to bare minimums and implementing ‘just in time’ strategies. We have adapted to this recovery by increasing inventories to meet our customers’ increased demand.”
Chris Halvorsen, global marketing manager for Hexion Specialty Chemicals, noted that Hexion has invested in its wax compounding and additives capability with modern manufacturing processes and efficiencies.
“We see more opportunity to combine our resins, varnishes and complete line of wax and additives to bring more value to our customers,” Mr. Halvorsen noted.
Bringing value to customers remains an important goal for manufacturers of waxes and additives, as their products play an important role in the success of any printing ink.
“Customers are looking for additives to help create differentiating properties in their ink platforms,” Mr. Halvorsen noted. “Performance additives can help minimize and simplify the overall ink formulations.”
“Ink manufacturers are looking for products that can maintain or improve current performance at lower usage levels or at a more economical level,” Mr. Levitt noted. “Our Product Technical Center is continually developing products to meet those customer needs. We also have requests to develop ‘green’ alternatives for petroleum based materials.”
However, the raw material situation remains a major problem throughout the ink supply chain. In particular, shortages in key feedstocks and other ingredients could become critical, and manufacturers of waxes and additives are working hard to secure their own supply chain.
“The biggest challenge is making sure there are enough raw materials for our customers,” Mr. Levitt said. “The recession has hit several upstream raw material suppliers and we have been fortunate to be diverse enough to maintain supply. Shortages in supply and increases in demand lead to higher prices. We have been working with our customers on efficiencies and more effective formulas to assist in keeping them competitive in their respective markets.”
“We have experienced significant raw material increases which are never easy to pass along,” Mr. Halvorsen said. “While it has been difficult to keep up with the increases, most important is maintaining reliable sources of critical raw materials.”
All in all, Mr. Levitt is cautiously optimistic about the coming year.
“We expect 2011 to continue to improve as 2010 has,” Mr. Levitt concluded. “Customer forecasts have been favorable going forward.”
New Waxes and Additives
The following listing includes products introduced to the ink industry in 2010.
BYK Additives & Instruments
524 South Cherry St.
Wallingford, CT 06492
Phone: (203) 265-2076
New Products:• DISPERBYK-198
Comments: DISPERBYK-198 is a high performance aqueous pigment wetting and dispersing additive. It enables the formulator to prepare highly loaded, stable and flowable aqueous pigment concentrates. DISPERBYK-198 complements DISPERBYK-190. Both products now cover a wide range of commonly used pigments. DISPERBYK-198 and DISPERBYK-190 improve color strength, gloss and transparency in the final ink.
Hexion Specialty Chemicals
99 East Cottage Ave.
Carpentersville, IL 60110
Tel: (866) 443-9466
Fax: (877) 443-9466
• STIRINOL 97
Comments: STIRINOL 97 is a multi-purpose, heatset compound formulated to exhibit suitable slip and rub in heatset inks used to print publication inserts, catalogs and tabloids. STIRINOL 98 is a heatset compound possessing higher performance making it better suited for high-end catalog and commercial print.
• OPTILITH 4917
Comments: OPTILITH 4917 is an improved water balance additive. When added to lithographic inks at the rate of 1% to 3%, it will significantly reduce the water pickup of the ink without adversely affecting the other performance characteristics of the ink such as set, gloss and rheological properties.
• FLEXONIC 902
Comments: FLEXONIC 902 is recommended for systems waterborne flexographic inks requiring a high degree of slip, mar and scratch resistance, wet rub resistance, and gloss levels. In addition, FLEXONIC 902 utilizes a unique surfactant system that controls foaming without sacrificing water resistance or contributing to incompatibility.
Surface USA LLC
1200 Central Ave., Suite 306
Wilmette, IL 60091
Tel: (847) 920-1676
Fax: (847) 920-1681
• ULTRALUBE E-854 (HDPE-wax based emulsion)
• ULTRALUBE MD-2300 (HDPE-wax based micro dispersion)
• ULTRALUBE D-803 (HDPE-wax based dispersion)
Comments: ULTRALUBE E-854, ULTRALUBE MD-2300 and ULTRALUBE D-803 are a new generation of even more green ULTRALUBE wax additives for the surface modification of various coatings , especially in food-contact. These are VOC-free, APEO-free, formaldehyde-free, heavy-metal-free (like all ULTRALUBE types) and additionally amine-free, and use raw materials fulfilling several legislative requirements for food contact approval like FDA 175.300, German BfR XIV and XXXVI, Swiss Ordinance, Plastics Directive and much more.
• ULTRALUBE E-850 (HDPE-wax based emulsion)
• ULTRALUBE MD-2100 (HDPE-wax based micro dispersion)
Comments: ULTRALUBE E-850 and ULTRALUBE MD-2100 are new high-performance wax additives that require up to 50% less dosage in comparison to conventional water-based wax additives in properties like rub resistance to achieve a similar result.
3 Carbon Way
Richwood, KY 41094
Tel: (859) 485-8600
Fax: (859) 485-2623
Additives for Oil-Based Ink
• KB-750 Kentucky Lube
Comments: KB-750 Kentucky Lube is an additive for any litho ink system that will provide lubrication of the ink on the plate and blanket cylinders. When used at a 2% to 5% level, Kentucky Lube is useful in preventing piling and picking problems on press. It also can be used to reduce misting by allowing you to increase tack without picking.
• KB-767 Liquid “Body Builder”
Comments: KB-767 Liquid “Body Builder” was developed as a replacement to dry additives in all oleoresinous inks. KB-767 controls misting, tightens the body and is easily stirred into inks. It also can be used to convert conventional inks into waterless inks.
Comments: KB-785 is a highly efficient compound developed to reduce offsetting and improve scuff resistance of sheetfed litho inks. KB-785 stirs in very easily.
• KB-791 Water Block Water Pickup Reducer
Comments: KB-791 Water Block Water Pickup Reducer is very efficient in reducing water pickup when measured by Duke ink-water emulsification tester. Suggested usage is 1% to 2%.
Comments: KB-724 is a liquid BHT solution cut in soya bean oil. KB-724 can be used to prevent skin in the container or ink duct.
Comments: KB-780 is a hydroquinone-type anti-skinning additive. It promotes stay open on the rollers overnight (or longer), with little effect on thin film drying properties.
• KB-144 Non-Yellowing Drier Compound
Comments: KB-144 Non-Yellowing Drier Compound is a highly effective drier compound which imparts both top and through dry to ink or oil-based overprint varnish. KB-144 is an excellent choice for any formulation where yellowing is an issue.
• KB-145 Moisture Activated Drier
Comments: KB-145 Moisture Activated Drier reacts with the fountain solution and releases oxygen, which accelerates oxidative dry on press. It is an excellent choice to boost dry on plastics/nonporous substrates.
• KB-746 Gelled Linseed Oil
Comments: KB-746 Gelled Linseed Oil reduces tack and misting with minimal effect on ink structure.
• KB-783 Gelled 52 Oil
Comments: KB-783 Gelled 52 Oil reduces tack and misting with minimal effect on ink structure.
Additives for UV/EB Ink
• KS-279 - Polymerization Inhibitor
KS-279 - Polymerization Inhibitor is recommended as an in-container polymerization inhibitor for UV-curable materials.
• KS-349 UV Anti-Misting Compound
Comments: KS-349 UV Anti-Misting Compound was developed as a replacement to dry additives in UV inks. KS-349 will reduce misting and improve litho properties.
Comments: KS-717 is recommended for use as a slip additive for UV ink systems that will provide a lower coefficient of friction (COF) of cured ink. KS-717 is 100% UV reactive and has a recommended dosage of 1% to 3%.
Comments: KS-246 Photoinitiator for White Inks is a blend of selected photoinitiators with broad cure response and excellent light color and non-yellowing properties. KS-246 is an easy to blend, low viscosity liquid.
Comments: KS-286 High Potency Photoinitiator is a blend of selected photoinitiators with broad cure response recommended for use in dark color, and thicker film UV litho and flexo inks. KS-286 is an easy to blend, low viscosity liquid.
Comments: KS-373 is a photoinitiator compound for flexo and litho ink. It offers excellent cure response with good economics. KS-373 is an easy to blend, low viscosity liquid.
• Gelled Monomers
Comments: KS-207 Gelled TRPGDA, KS-237 Gelled EOTMPTA, KS-239 Gelled HDODA and KS-294 Gelled TMPTA Gelled Monomers reduce tack and misting with minimal effect on ink structure.
Shamrock Technologies, Inc.
Foot of Pacific Street
Newark, NJ 07114
Tel: (973) 242-2999;
Fax: (973) 242-8074
• CeraSPERSE 174
Comments: CeraSPERSE 174 is a high performance polyethylene/PTFE compound in linseed oil for lithographic offset sheetfed inks. CeraSPERSE 174 provides excellent rub and slip resistance with good gloss retention.
• Hydrocer 259 FDA
Comments: Hydrocer 259 FDA is an aqueous dispersion of low molecular weight polyethylene that provides excellent rub, slip and abrasion resistance. Hydrocer 259 FDA meets several FDA requirements for food contact applications.
• FlexoSlip Narrow 4
Comments: FlexoSlip Narrow 4 is a polyethylene wax with a very narrow particle size distribution. Due to its small and tightly controlled particle size and particle morphology, FlexoSlip Narrow4 will yield high gloss retention, exceptional film appearance and clarity, and is thus an ideal additive for improving rub and slip performance of OPV and clear films.
• FlexoSlip Narrow 8
Comments: FlexoSlip Narrow 8 is a polyethylene wax powder with a remarkably narrow particle size distribution. FlexoSlip Narrow 8 is recommended for heavy duty rub and scuff performance of pigmented liquid inks, particularly for heavy substrates like corrugated, craft board, multi-wall paper bags and paper shopping bags. It is ideal for flexo water- and solvent-based as well as gravure water-based wallpaper and wrapping paper.
Waxes and Additives
Raw material pricing and supply remain major concerns for waxes and additives manufacturers, but the improvement in the economy has brought some good news.
By David Savastano