Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (630) 382-1800
Fax: (847) 969-9758
Sales: $427 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, CEO; John Hrdlick, president and COO; Bryce Kristo, EVP/CFO; Rick Westrom, SVP, strategic global sourcing/EHS; James Kochanny, VP director operations; Jonathan Ellaby, VP, international operations; Ron Deegan, VP sales North America; Dave Waller, VP sales North America, Rigid Packaging; Mark Hill, VP R&D director; Jon Graunke, VP, energy curable and assistant R&D director; Toru Kaneko, VP R&D director offset – 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 Digital Division; Joe Cichon, VP of manufacturing; Jim Bailen, VP of engineering; Chris Tucker, VP of offset operations; Susan Supergan, SVP human resources.
Number of Employees: Approximately 1,220.
Operating Facilities: Fifteen manufacturing locations and approximately 190 in-plant locations throughout North America. Two North American R&D Centers: West Chicago, IL (traditional ink technologies), and Huntsville, AL (inkjet electronics, software and specialty printers).
Subsidiaries: INX International UK, Heywood, England; INX International France, Bretigny, France; INX do Brazil, Sao Paulo, Brazil; INX Digital Milan, Italy; INX Digital Prague; Parent Company: Sakata INX, Osaka, Japan.
Comments: INX International Ink Co. is a subsidiary of Sakata INX, the third-largest international ink company. INX International Ink had an excellent year in 2018, as sales grew nearly 14% to $427 million, with strong growth in its packaging and digital ink segments.
“We experienced a strong year of sales growth in our Packaging ink product lines and improved performance in our Digital group,” John Hrdlick, president and COO of INX International Ink Co., said. “However, it was a challenging year related to raw material price increases, raw material supply issues, rising freight costs and tariffs. Balancing rising costs and selling prices is always a challenge.’
INX is well known for investing in new facilities, and the past year was no exception. The company is in the midst of a $7 million expansion of its R&D facility in West Chicago and completed its new metal deco ink plant in Brazil. The 24,000 square foot facility in Itatiba, Brazil will produce 2-piece metal decorating inks and is designed to manufacture approximately 9 million pounds of inks yearly.
“We’re very excited about the extensive expansion of our West Chicago R&D facility that began in the spring of 2018 and will be completed soon,” Hrdlick noted. “The successful opening of our Metal Deco facility in Itatiba, Brazil was completed and is progressing very well. We expect to see further opportunities for growth in South America going forward.”
In major news, Rick Clendenning has stepped aside from his role as president of INX International Ink Co. Clendenning began working for Acme Printing Ink, which would later become part of INX, in 1971, and was named president and CEO in 1999. In his place, Hrdlick was promoted to president/COO and Bryce Kristo to EVP/CFO.
“The time has come for us to start our executive transition plan, and for me to shift gears to spend more quality time with my wife and our two sons’ families, including six grandchildren,” Clendenning said.
Hrdlick started at Acme in 1977 and was promoted to SVP and COO in 2012. Kristo joined INX in 1991. In addition to his new role as EVP, he will continue his current responsibilities as CFO – general affairs. INX also announced two important promotions in R&D. Mark Hill is now VP, R&D director, and Jonathan Graunke added the title of assistant R&D director to his current role as VP, UV/EB technology.
Hrdlick noted that numerous raw materials remain a serious concern for ink manufacturers.
“Pigments and photoinitiators from China have obviously been a challenge for our industry and have received a lot of attention,” he reported. “However, many other raw material increases and shortages added to the concerns in 2018, including tariffs that began in October. We have been doing our best to mitigate increased costs as we do every year, but in 2018 we had to pass along price increases to our customers. In some areas, we expect to see the need for more price increases this year.”
In addition to tariffs, ink companies are working to overcome higher freight costs.
“Freight costs are obviously increasing and we are also seeing carriers continue to deal with a shortage of experienced drivers, bulk tankers and tighter pickup and delivery windows,” Hrdlick added. “The demand has been high for freight and we compete with larger industries for service from our freight carriers. Tariffs were implemented last October and remain an uncertainty in the first quarter of this year. Alternative sources for raw materials subject to tariffs still result in higher costs to a large degree.”
Hrdlick is optimistic that raw materials might stabilize in the upcoming year and anticipates further growth in key markets.
“We are hopeful that the raw material challenges will settle down in the next year, as well as the elimination of the tariffs,” Hrdlick concluded. “The growth in demand for environmentally friendly and sustainable products is becoming more prevalent and we are prepared to meet those trends in the US and globally. We are also excited about the expansion of our R&D facility in West Chicago. It has allowed us to combine our digital resources and grow our technical resource base. We expect continued growth in our Packaging and Digital businesses. We also are focused on our technology and improving our manufacturing facilities serving those markets.”