The Changing Nature Of Ink Manufacturing

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 01.23.14

The ink industry continues to change, as evidenced by the acquisition of Color Resolutions International (CRI) by American Inks and Coatings (AIC) at the end of December 2013. One area these changes are evident is our annual U.S. Ink Directory, Ink World’s comprehensive list of more than 200 U.S. ink manufacturers.

AIC’s acquisition of CRI is interesting on several levels. CRI had estimated sales of $55 million in 2012, placing it 19th on our 2013 North American Top 20 Report. CRI’s core market is high quality corrugated, an area where AIC is looking to grow. With sales of $85 million in 2012, AIC ranked 13th in our 2013 North American Top Companies Report. Both are privately held companies, and the fit seems good.

A look at the U.S. Ink Directory offers a glance at how the ink and printing industries are evolving. For example, a few packaging ink specialists have moved into new, larger facilities, and there was some consolidation. Overall, it appears that packaging, UV and digital ink companies remain strong.

This year’s list also includes several conductive ink manufacturers that are headquartered in the U.S. Printed and flexible electronics is the focus of our Printed Electronics Now magazine and website (www.printedelectronicsnow.com), and quite a few printed electronics products have reached the consumer market. There are more products in the pipeline heading toward commercialization, as I note in both Printed Electronics Year in Review and my sidebar on a few of the most interesting products that made their debut in 2013.

Conductive inks are critical to printed electronics, and these ink suppliers, ranging from multinationals such as Sun Chemical, Toyo Ink and DuPont to small independents and start-ups, are key to the growth of this field. This looks like a promising avenue of growth in the coming years.