Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (630) 382-1800
Fax: (847) 969-9758
Sales: $400 million.
Major Products: A full line of ink and coatings solutions technology for packaging, commercial and digital print applications, including metal decorating, flexographic, gravure, web offset, lamination, corrugated, sheetfed, digital and UV/EB inks and coatings.
Key Personnel: Kotaro Morita, chairman; Rick Clendenning, president and CEO; Bryce Kristo, CFO and senior VP, general affairs; John Hrdlick, senior VP COO, operations; Rick Westrom, senior VP, strategic global sourcing/R&D director; Jonathan Ellaby, VP, international operations; Ron Deegan, VP sales North America, Liquid; Dave Waller, VP sales North America, Rigid Packaging & Offset; Mark Hill, VP liquid technology/assistant R&D director; Toru Kaneko, VP R&D director offset; Jon Graunke, VP/R&D director – energy curable technologies; Joe Kelly, VP/R&D director – water technologies; Dave Maternowski, VP quality systems; Dan Lombardo, VP of operations, Metal/Energy Curable; Jim Lambert, VP/GM Digital Division; Joe Cichon, VP of manufacturing; Jim Bailen, VP of engineering; Michael Brice, VP of offset operations; Susan Supergan, SVP human resources.
Number of Employees: Approximately 1,100.
Operating Facilities: Fifteen manufacturing locations and approximately 190 in-plant locations throughout North America. Three North American R&D Centers: West Chicago, IL (traditional ink technologies), San Leandro, CA (inkjet ink technologies) and Huntsville, AL (inkjet electronics, software and specialty printers).
Subsidiaries: INX International UK, Heywood, England; INX International France, Bretigny, France; INX International Brasil, Sao Paulo, Brasil; INX Digital Milan, Italy; INX Digital Prague; Parent Company: Sakata INX, Osaka, Japan.
Comments: INX International Ink Co. had a good year in 2017, as the company branched out into Brazil and saw growth in the flexo, energy curable and environmentally friendly ink segments.
“INX International had another solid year of growth and earnings. Our international footprint grew with our new acquisition in Brazil,” said Bryce Kristo, CFO and senior VP, general affairs, for INX International Ink Co.
“We were very pleased with the performance of our new Brazilian subsidiary,” Kristo added. “We also experienced exceptional growth in our packaging ink applications, most notably on the flexographic side. We also enjoyed strong demand for our ecological renewable content inks and energy curable products.”
Kristo noted that INX remains committed to both commercial and packaging segment applications, with an emphasis on the flexo and energy curing markets.
“We continue to focus on much of our formulation efforts on flexographic and energy curable applications where we focus on providing innovative, easy to use products,” Kristo said. “In addition, our service resources have grown, especially with new in-plant installations that allow us on-site quick reaction to customer demands.”
INX is continuing to invest in its US manufacturing operations. The company completed its expansion of its metal decorating plant in Charlotte, NC in 2016, and in April 2017, INX spent $5.2 million to double the size of its energy curable inks and coatings manufacturing facility in Edwardsville, KS.
“Our UV sales growth trend had continued to place a strain on the facility,” said John Hrdlick, COO for INX. “Production volume at Edwardsville has risen dramatically over the years. In 2005, it was 3.5 million pounds and had grown to in excess of 8.5 million pounds prior to completion of the expansion. We expect to see the same growth trend going forward as our energy curable sales continue to be fast growing.”
Next up is a $7 million, 32,000-square-foot addition to its West Chicago R&D complex, which the company anticipates will be finished by July 2018.
Ink manufacturers are working to cope with higher raw material costs, and INX is no exception, although the higher prices were anticipated.
“Raw material cost increases were inevitable and likely overdue,” Kristo said. “We anticipate increases to certain pigments, solvents and resins, and are working with our customers in understanding the commodity feedstock that drive these product prices and work to offset or pass them on, depending on the situation.”
Those higher costs are one of the major challenges facing ink companies going forward.
“The biggest challenge will be balancing selling prices with raw material cost pressure,” Kristo said. “The ink industry margins have always been relatively thin and realistically, raw material costs have always been the overwhelming largest expense of the business, with only so much increase that can be absorbed. In addition, the ink industry is a relatively modest size player with regards to certain material demands, most notably titanium dioxide.”
Kristo said that the printing industry is evolving, and INX International is positioning itself for the future.
“We feel there will always be a place for commercial print and have balanced our resources accordingly,” Kristo concluded.
“Consumer packaging applications will continue to be at the foundation of our efforts where we continue to strive to provide safe, sustainable and appealing products that are easy to use. In addition, we continue to see more and more inkjet direct-to-object printing in the future and remain heavily invested in helping this technology into the mainstream of traditional analog applications.”