NPIRI 2011Conference Review

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 11.10.11

'Facing Today's Printing Ink Challenges' is focus of conference, as speakers analyze topics ranging from raw materials to the packaging and digital printing markets.

Tony Bean of Sun Chemical, second from left, and Joon Choo of Shamrock Technologies, fourth from left, recipients of NAPIM’s Technical Achievement Award and Technical Associate Member (TAM) Service Award, respectively, are joined by past honorees, from left, Dan DeLegge, Rod Balmer, Diane Parisi, Lisa Fein, Joe Cichon, Maurice Carruthers and Andrew Matthews.
The printing ink industry is coping with numerous problems ranging from raw materials costs and availability to the changing nature of printing. With that in mind, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) focused on these challenges during the National Printing Ink Research Institute’s (NPIRI) annual Technical Conference, held Oct. 18-20 at the Eaglewood Resort and Spa in Itasca, IL.

More than 135 attendees, up from 2010, heard a wide range of talks, ranging from raw materials and regulatory issues to the packaging and digital printing markets. While these are indeed changing times, there are also opportunities in the marketplace.

“It is really challenging to get relevant speakers and topics, but we were able to bring in really good presentations this year,” said Mark Hill, chair of the 2011 Technical Conference.

Conference Proceedings

The Technical Conference opened on Oct. 18 with two short courses. Eugene Sitzman of BASF led the course on “Photoinitiators for Energy Curable Inks,” while Jon Bang of TheWERCS conducted the session on “The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) and the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.”

After lunch, the conference officially opened, with Shanna Moore of DuPont giving the keynote address on “The Future of Packaging,” a look at what brand owners are seeking from packaging.
“Packaging is critical in feeding the world,” Ms. Moore said. “There are problems, but there are also major opportunities.”

Rick Krause of BASF then brought attendees up to date with the ink industry’s results so far this year with his talk on “The State of the Industry 2011,” with much of the talk centered on raw materials. Mr. Krause noted that the rise in crude oil prices does not come close to telling the whole story.

“It is a bit dangerous to look at the price of oil as a proxy for our industry, but it is a barometer for what is happening in the world,” Mr. Krause said. “A lot of the challenges we are facing are not unique to our industry.”

Mr. Krause noted that NAPIM’s surveys indicate that ink manufacturers are now spending 60% of their revenue on raw materials, up from an average of 55.4% from 2000-2008.

“There is global competition for primary resources,” Mr. Krause said. “Our industry is competing against other industries for resources.”

Diane Parisi of Flint Group then led a panel discussion on “The Future of Raw Materials.” Joining Ms. Parisi on the panelwere Tom Powell of Orion Engineered Carbons (carbon black); Jose Portinho Jr. of Nitro Quimica (nitrocellulose); Joon Choo of Shamrock Technologies (waxes); and Matt Bianchi of BASF (polyamide resins). In essence, all of the panelists noted that raw materials remain a major challenge now and going forward.

The second day of the conference broke up into two concurrent sessions, covering Process Economics and Regulatory. Process Economics began with a talk by Brett Beauregard of Huntsman on “TiO2 - Selection Criteria for Ink Formulators.” He was followed by Robin Wright of 3M, who covered “Volatiles Determination for Thin-Film UV Coatings.” Dillon Mooney of PIA then discussed “Using Press Simulators.”

Sarav Jhaveri of BASF presented the NPIRI Lecture Series First Place paper, “Water-Based Polymer Emulsion for Printing Inks on Corrugated Substrates.” Steve Albrecht of Aveka closed the Process Economics session with his talk on “Pigment Dispersion - State of the Art.”

On the Regulatory side, Rich Johnson of Penn Color spoke on “The Regulatory Picture Today – To the EU and Beyond,” followed by Mr. Bang, whose topic was “GHS Integration into the OSHA HazCom Standard - Impact on Ink Manufacturers.”

Dr. Karim Bentayeb of the FDA analyzed “Identifying Contaminants/Components on Food Contact Materials - Food & Drug Administration’s Perspective,” Dave Currier of Flint Group presented “OSHA Update,” and Jim Solyst of Environ closed the Regulatory session with his talk on “Green Chemistry Initiatives.”

The final day featured a series of talks looking at new technologies and innovations. Steve Metcalf of AirMotion Systems led off with a talk on “LED Technology for UV Applications.” Deborah White of RPTA discussed “Recycled Paperboard/Food Packaging.” Hunter Harris of MeadWestvaco analyzed “Tall Oil Rosin/BioFuel Classification/Industry Impact and Action.” I gave a talk on “Drupa Update/Overview,” a look at the state of printing trade shows, and Jim Hamilton of Info Trends closed the conference with “Digital vs. Conventional - What the Future Holds.”

Awards Presentations

One of the highlights of the annual NPIRI Technical Conference is the Awards Dinner, in which two long-time industry veterans are honored for their service to the industry. This year, NAPIM honored Anthony Bean, technical director of pigments and dispersions for Sun Chemical, and Joon Choo, vice president of marketing for Shamrock Technologies, with the prestigious honors.

Mr. Bean received the Technical Achievement Award (TAA) for his work at Sun Chemical. He has been in the ink industry for more than 40 years, and was part of the original team that invented UV inks and coatings. Mr. Bean has long been involved in the UV and EB fields.

Mr. Choo was honored with the Technical Associate Member (TAM) Service Award for his innovations at Shamrock Technologies. Born in Malaysia, Mr. Choo joined Shamrock Technologies in 1983, where he has served as development chemist, technical director and sales and marketing director of Asia-Pacific before becoming vice president of marketing.

Jerry Mosley, left, CEO of American Inks and Coatings, and NAPIM president George Sickinger, president and CEO of Color Resolutions International, were on and for the awards banquet.
Overall, NAPIM and NPIRI leaders were happy with the conference.

“Our committee has been very pleased with how the program turned out, and the conference’s attendance was better than expected,” Mr. Hill said.

“I thought the conference was terrific,” said NPIRI president Lisa Fein of Joules Angstrom U.V. Printing Inks. “The general feeling was that the quality of presentations was excellent, and every session was well attended.”

“I felt the conference went very well,” said NAPIM executive director Brad Bergey. “There were good strong topics, and the last day’s talks were fascinating. We are going to continue to work hard to bring in speakers on important current topics.”

Next year, the NPIRI Technical Conference will return to Eaglewood on Oct. 16-18, 2012. For more information, contact NAPIM at (732) 855-1525 or check the web at www.napim.org.