For ink manufacturers, waxes and additives are a relatively small portion of ink formulations, but these products drive performance. Leading suppliers of waxes and additives said the past year saw improvements in sales, and they anticipate further growth in the coming year.
“The additives business for Shamrock fared well in 2013,” said Craig Baudendistel, director of sales at Shamrock Technologies. “We had a number of new product developments that were introduced in late 2012 and early 2013 that gained traction throughout the year.”
“Micro Powders’ domestic industrial wax additive sales started off a bit soft in early 2013, but we have seen a marked recovery into the second half of the year,” said Gary Strauss, president and COO of Micro Powders. “We anticipate that our domestic sales will surpass 2012 based on current sales projections. On the international side, we continue to encounter pricing pressures, especially in less developed markets. Nonetheless, we expect our international sales to be positive for 2013.”
“As far as the additives industry goes, 2013 was another challenging year with minimal growth, and even negligible growth in some sectors of the inks market,” said Shauna McAuliffe, marketing specialist, for Air Products. “The ink industry continues to be impacted by underlying market weakness and an ongoing shift to digital media.”
“Wax raw material availability was stable, albeit with some increases in raw materials for 2013,” said Alan Kalmikoff, president of Keim Additec Surface USA, LLC.
Jerry Trauth, product manager ink applications at Kustom Group, said that for the second year in a row, Kustom Group has seen increased sales in the additives market.
“We attribute this to our product mix and ability to offer products and technical service in three distinct chemistries, including UV/EB, aqueous and oil-base,” Mr. Trauth noted. “This has been a valuable asset in helping our customers with their additives needs.
“At Kustom Group, we define an additive as something used at a level of approximately 5% or less,” Mr. Trauth added. “An additive, when used correctly and at the proper percentage, can be the last part of the puzzle that helps push an ink to perform in a specific way that the printer requires without having to completely reformulate. No ink type is immune from a need for an additive regardless of chemistry (oil-based, aqueous or energy cure) or press configuration (flexo, offset, screen, gravure, spindle, pad or inkjet).”
“In 2013, we have increased volume year-over-year with growth exceeding market growth rate and expectations,” said Julie Vaughn, vice president marketing, Emerald Performance Materials. “Defoamers, silicones and coalescents have experienced better-than-market growth rates benefiting from market need for low VOCs and higher performance products.”
“With the economy in a ‘recovery’ but customers and end-users still being very cautious, we have seen marginal improvement,” said Patrick J. Heraty Jr., key account manager, coating additives, Evonik TEGO. “A bright spot has been the interest in new technologies, processes and products. Our customers are responding better and faster to their customers’ needs and coming to us for assistance in meeting these new requirements.”
“It was a good year for water-based waxes and additives,” said David Towell, marketing manager - chemical specialties at Michelman, Inc. “There were a number of new product introductions, and a renewed focus on quality. Our Michelman water-based solutions did well.”
Printing ink manufacturers have diverse requirements for waxes and additives, whether it be for more environmentally friendly products, stricter mandates for packaging or meeting regulatory mandates.
“Most of new development will be regulatory and compliance driven, not only for packaging, but for all consumer goods that need graphic print or visual impact,” said Alex Radu of Shamrock Technologies’ Product Marketing Center. “Suppliers have to become service oriented and offer a high level of technical assistance to customers, not just sell products. The actual sale is not the end of the supply chain of events, but a new beginning. Protection of existing business will increase to secure customer loyalty and confidence.”
“International ink customers are concerned about availability of green initiative raw materials for inks produced in the U.S. but headed for European consumption,” Mr. Kalmikoff noted.
“We see many new challenges and trends in the ink market, such as the continued move towards ‘green’ products which have lower VOCs, less odor and less objectionable chemicals in them,” Mr. Trauth said. “The packaging ink market remains the strongest area of growth but requires additional compliance consideration and challenges. Raw materials for food packaging inks must deal with migration issues, Swiss ordinance and Nestle compliance along with the principles of ‘Good Manufacturing Practices.’
“This all adds up to a trend toward products with greater utility for multiple uses in different applications,” Mr. Trauth added. “To meet these new challenges, Kustom Group has worked hard to develop new products that offer similar performance while following these new rules. We have also tried to partner with our suppliers and customers in an even greater way to jointly understand today’s different markets and the challenges they present. “
“One clear trend is a greater emphasis on health and safety with regards to our products,” said Rich Czarnecki, technical director for Micro Powders. “The level of scrutiny that ink formulators are placing on all ingredients has never been higher. Fortunately, our wax additives have broad EH&S compliance. The majority of our products have broad FDA food contact compliance, as well as compliance with the Swiss Ordinance and Nestle Guidance Note.
“We continue to work with ink and coating accounts who are investing in energy curable technologies, especially in Europe,” Mr. Czarnecki added. “We also are growing our business more and more into the inkjet market, where the opportunities are much better than with conventional printing processes.”
“The trends are very similar to those we have seen in the last several years,” Mr. Heraty said. “Environmental regulations like REACh, Swiss A List compliance and lower VOC rules continue to force new and dynamic changes.
The ‘globalization’ of ink continues to accelerate as well. We see more sharing of technologies across borders (or oceans) resulting in the need to have more products compliant with the regulations from different regions of the world.
“Evonik has devoted a great deal of time and resources to supplying our customers with products that meet all key global regulations and listings,” Mr. Heraty added. “Our developmental platforms are based on our key global customers needing to use our products everywhere in the world. Our regulatory team works closely with our customers to provide the documentation necessary to use our products throughout their formulation toolboxes in all their key markets.”
Ms. McAuliffe noted that overall industry consolidation and focus on cost containment and reduction continue to be resounding themes in the industry.
“Increasingly stringent global food contact regulations are another major trend affecting the industry,” Ms. McAuliffe added. “Finding suitable products that are compliant with the ever growing and often complex mix of regional and national food contact regulations is challenging but extremely important, particularly in global formulations. Air Products offers a variety of products that are compliant with a range of U.S. FDA and European regulations, including the Swiss Ordinance, German Draft Ordinance and the German BfR regulations, in addition to other global guidelines.”
“We continue to see growing demand in non-traditional printing segments,” Ms. Vaughn said. “Emerald Performance Materials has positioned itself to supply new value-added products in the energy cure and inkjet markets. Our new Lucida Colors product line offers greater performance than what is typically seen from products previously on the market. Our additives have also been designed to deliver more than just low or no VOCs. Customers continue to focus on solutions that maximize their production efficiency, improve their print quality and deliver numerous functional performance benefits, while also offering lower VOCs. We have launched several new products, including defoamers, silicones and coalescents to meet that need.”
“Globally, we see calls for water-based surface modifiers with improved rub resistance, without a reduction in gloss. We offer a solution called Michem Guard 1350 that achieves those goals,” Mr. Towell noted. “We are also seeing more requests for APEO-free wax emulsions and dispersions. Initially, the push was from our European customers, but we are now seeing this trend around the world.”
Challenges for Waxes and Additives Manufacturers
Waxes and additives manufacturers noted that there are challenges to be overcome for their industries.
“Keim Additec Surface GmbH continues to expand its internal capabilities in producing waxes to enhance its overall capabilities and to mitigate higher costs from major international producers of wax,” Mr. Kalmikoff said.
“Overall raw material availability has improved this year vs. 2012,” Mr. Czarnecki said. “As a result, we have been able to commit to some larger volume opportunities with confidence that we can meet these increased demands.”
Raw materials are one area of concern, and while there was some price and supply stability, manufacturers of waxes and additives remain wary.
“Availability of most raw materials is good,” said Melanie McCarroll, director of business operations for Shamrock Technologies. ”This has changed from the recent past where we experienced tightness with a number of wax products. Our challenge is to maintain the proper inventory levels of our products so they are available when and where our customers require them. Not only are innovative, high performance, cost effective and consistent products important but a high service level is needed to maintain and grow our business. Shamrock has a number of warehousing locations throughout the world to meet the high service level expectations required by our customers.”
“Raw materials were relatively stable in terms of cost and availability during the course of 2013,” said Ms. McAuliffe. “However, underlying market conditions and continued focus on cost containment and reduction continue to make rising material costs and raw material availability a concern and challenge for the industry. With this in mind, Air Products continues to work with key raw materials suppliers and to put in place measures to optimize manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies, which allows us to continue to mitigate pricing actions and avoid supply issues.”
“We encountered no significant availability issues in 2013, although we did see an increase in costs for natural gas and petroleum based products early in the year,” Mr. Towell reported. “While we do not foresee any major changes in 2014, we continually evaluate the raw materials we use in our formulations, as well as explore and test new materials so that we can continue to offer our customers products that meet their performance and cost requirements.”
“Overall, market supply and availability of raw materials is not an issue,” Mr. Erbeck said.
Mr. Trauth said that 2013 has been a year of improved raw material stability although availability with some raw materials has been unpredictable.
“Prices seem stable but slightly higher versus previous years,” Mr. Trauth added. “Reduced capacity and suppliers simple carrying less inventory is a frequent occurrence that has to be dealt with on a regular basis. Again to cope, Kustom has tried to partner with our suppliers and customers to help with these issues.”
To meet the needs of the ink industry, suppliers are developing innovative new products for their customers.
“Shamrock has developed a number of new products designed for both paste and liquid inks,” said Mr. Baudendistel. “These products range from improved dispersibility, slip, scratch, mar and scuff resistance performance to texturing agents. FluoroSLIP 533 PTFE/oxidized Polyethylene powder is specifically designed for waterborne flexo and gravure printing inks to provide excellent scratch, mar and scuff resistance. As part of the new powder-in-powder technology of Shamrock, the new FluoroSLIP 533 offers immediate and easy dispersibility, leading to uniform, consistent and stable dispersion in liquid inks formulations. FluoroSLIP 533 has a generous portion of high performance Shamrock PTFE, to enhance temperature resistance and relative slip, key performance targets for packaging.
SST-4P high performance PTFE powder provides the ideal combination of economics and performance for paste inks. SST-4P promotes excellent slip, rub and abrasion resistance in all types of offset inks: lithographic, UV and hybrids,” Mr. Baudendistel added. “As part of Shamrock’s premier line of SST PTFE powders, SST-4P has a tightly controlled particle size distribution, to allow uniform performance on high speed press. SST-4P versatility is recommended for a large array of applications: publication, commercial, packaging.”
“We expect to launch several new products in the coming months in advance of the American Coatings Show,” Mr. Czarnecki said. “We recently launched our new Microspersion 1406, an aqueous dispersion of submicron PTFE particles that provides excellent lubricity, gloss retention, abrasion resistance, and temperature resistance. The smaller PTFE particle size gives a greater available surface area, and as a result allows for a lower dosage compared to larger particle size PTFE additives. Microspersion 1406 is an ideal product for thin film coatings and inkjet formulations, where small particle size is essential.”
Mr. Kalmikoff noted that Keim Additec Surface USA launched three new water-based products during the past year. Ultralube D-277 is a dispersion based on modified PE wax, providing high slip and scratch resistance for coatings. Ultralube E-7080 is an FDA 175.300 approved emulsion fully based on renewable active ingredients. Ultralube E-12020781 is an FDA 175.300 approved paraffin wax emulsion.
“Evonik has introduced with the brand TEGO some interesting products for the printing ink industry during the last year,” said Jennifer Turner, marketing manager, Coating Additives/TEGO. “TEGO Dispers 761 W is our new dispersant for waterborne containing pigment dispersions. It is suitable for organic and inorganic pigments. TEGO Airex 921 is a silicone and solvent free deaerator for UV curable printing inks. Both products are Swiss A list compliant.”
Ms. McAuliffe said that Air Products offers a number of new products to help our customers effectively and efficiently select the right additive to meet their formulation needs.
“These include our newly launched premium siloxane superwetting surfactants - Dynol 960 and 980 surfactants, which are designed to have a superior balance of properties, including equilibrium and dynamic wetting, system compatibility and low foam, compared to traditional siloxane surfactants,” Ms. McAuliffe noted. “Our new Airase SSDLTM defoamers, a line of formulated, siloxane-based defoamers designed to have predictable performance relative to each other and to take some of the guess work out of defoamer selection. As well as, our recently introduced Airase 4500, which is a non-mineral oil, organic oil-based defoamer which provides effective defoaming and compatibility in a wide range of applications including pigment grinds and inks. Airase 4500 defoamer also meets a wide variety of FDA and EU indirect food contact compliances. In addition, Air Products offers an enhanced version of the Formulators Assistant ZetaSperse Tool (FAZT, www.fazt.com), which allows formulators to quickly find the proper dispersant product recommendation and dispersion starting point formulation.”
Mr. Erbeck said that with the introduction of several new products this past year, Emerald has sought to bring features that offer valuable benefits to the end user.
“For example, we have developed a new technology platform of modified organosilicones, which has been the basis for several new products in the defoamer and silicone product lines,” Mr. Erbeck said. “We are launching our new SILMERA brand of performance additives based on the new platform late in 2013. The first product in the SILMERA line is an additive that provides exceptional slip and mar properties and defect-free coatings.
“The FOAM BLAST line is adding two new products in November 2013, FOAM BLAST 4213 and FOAM BLAST 4149,” Mr. Erbeck noted. “These APE-free, ultra-low VOC defoamers are effective in both waterborne and energy curable systems, offering excellent foam control and compatibility. Additionally, we have reformulated our FOAM BLAST 1051, providing superior foam control in graphic arts applications and offering broad regulatory clearances.
“We continue to expand our Kalama K-FLEX line of coalescents, launching several new products this year: K-FLEX PG, K-FLEX 500P and K-FLEX 850P,” Mr. Erbeck continued. “These low-VOC coalescents deliver excellent performance characteristics in a range of polymer systems and applications and offer an excellent alternative to TMBDMIB, phthalates and glycol ethers. Certain grades are particularly effective in harder polymer systems, such as those used in graphic arts applications, offering superior water resistance, without adversely impacting dry time or hardness development.
Kustom Group has a wide variety of new products. For oil-based products, Kustom Group offers KB-750 and KB-756 for non-piling and reduced linting; KB-767, KB-791, KB-724 and KB-780 anti-misting bodying compounds; KB-144 and KB-145 driers; and KB-746 and KB-783 gelled oils.
For energy-cured products, Kustom Group has KS-279 polymerization inhibitor; KS-349 anti misting additive; KS-357 film hardness; and KS-384 dispersant additive. Kustom’s liquid photoinitiator compounds include KS-233 HUV liquid photoinitiator; KS-210 photoinitiator for white inks; KS-308 high potency photoinitiator; and KS-203 gelled photoinitiator compound. Kustom Group’s Gelled Monomers include KS-207 Gelled TRPGDA; KS-237 Gelled EOTMPTA; KS-239 Gelled HDODA; and KS- 294 Gelled TMPTA.
Kustom Group’s new aqueous products include KF-5024 aqueous tackifier; KF-6001 and KF-6002 aqueous defoamer; KF-6002 aqueous optical brightener; and KF-6010 mudcracking preventer.
`“Michem Guard 1350 is an emulsion that provides excellent rub resistance while maintaining good gloss levels. Michem Guard 1351 is a high solids, lower gloss product that gives rub resistance values of > 2500 cycles in selected OPVs,” Mr. Towell said. “Our Michem Emulsion 98635 is a good general purpose, rub resistant, high gloss OPV additive. All three of these are APEO-free.”
Expectations for the Coming Year
Overall, suppliers of waxes and additives anticipate growth during the coming year.
“We expect to continue to grow our business in 2014 as we accelerate the development of new products that will broaden our portfolio and give our customers new tools to enhance the performance of their products,” Mr. Strauss said.
Ms. McAuliffe said that there are positive indicators for marginal growth in 2014 in the ink segment.
“We expect continued growth in packaging and other non-traditional inks such as energy curable, metallic and digital inks, but continued challenges in the areas of publications due to ongoing shift from inks to digital media,” Ms. McAuliffe said. “We also anticipate more moderate growth in emerging markets, in particular Latin America and Asia along with a somewhat constrained growth in more established regions.”
Mr. Trauth said that Kustom Group expects 2014 to be a good year in the additives business.
“We offer many unique additive materials that are finding homes in more and more formulations,” Mr. Trauth said. “Export has the most potential for growth, and through our web site and the use of social media and various internet communications, we hope to continue to increase export sales for all Kustom products including additives.”
“We see moderate growth in the industry,” Mr. Towell said. “While activity has not yet reached pre-recession levels, we expect graphic arts and packaging in general to trend upward.”
“We expect to see the ‘recovery’ become a ‘Recovery,’” Mr. Heraty said. “The significant pent-up consumer demand and brighter economic prospects should drive business forward. We also expect to see a continued push for innovative solutions from our key customer partners. They come to us to help them develop their next generation technology so they can meet their customers’ future demands.”
Environmentally friendly products are a good growth segment for waxes and additives.
“Keim Additec Surface expects positive results from its ‘green’ initiative on waxes,” said Mr. Kalmikoff.
“Growth expectations for 2014 look exceptional based on very favorable response to newly released products and new product concepts on the horizon,” Ms. Vaughn said. “These expectations are also driven by continued reformulation toward low and no-VOC systems.”
“Shamrock is looking forward to continued growth in 2013,” Mr. Baudendistel concluded. “We continue to focus on customer needs in order to help support their business. Our new products recently introduced are taking traction, service levels are continuing at a high level and other innovative initiatives will help our customers and Shamrock to achieve our goals.”
For more information on waxes and additives, including challenges faced by suppliers, raw materials and new technologies, see the online version at www.inkworldmagazine.com.