Print Media Inks: Sheefted: 5-8% Coldset: 8-10% Heatset: 10-12%
Print Media Chemicals: Fountain Solutions: 8-10%
"With crude oil prices exceeding $90 a barrel, tightness of supply and unprecedented increases in key raw materials, this price adjustment is necessary," said Gregory Lawson, President, Sun Chemical Latin America. "Some of the most affected materials are the main components of our inks like nitrocellulose and alcohol, acrylic and polyamide resins, gum rosin and tall oil resins, TiO2, and pigments like blue, and carbazole violet among others. We will continue to invest in quality, service, and innovation assuring our customers are on the leading edge in their respective markets."
In order to help printers and converters understand why their ink prices may be on the rise, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers, Inc. (NAPIM) issued a bulletin that provides insight into the current volatility facing the raw material printing ink market supply chain.
The bulletin, sent to NAPIM's members, reviewed the availability of critical raw materials likely used in the inks that printers' purchase in all of the major printing processes – lithographic, gravure, flexographic and inkjet.
Availability, driven by capacity and demand from competing regions and industries, remains the determinant on how much product any one manufacturer can obtain and at what cost. Some of the key raw materials causing price increases include: rosin, acrylic acid, carbon black, titanium dioxide, nitrocellulose, crude oil and natural gas, vegetable oils, and coloured organic pigments.
Rosin Rosin is a major ingredient in resin production. Gum rosin has experienced a nearly threefold increase in price during 2010 and supply remains constrained with very low inventories. The resins produced from rosin are not only used in offset, flexographic and rotogravure printing inks but are also used in adhesives, road markings and rubber.
Acrylic Acid Numerous production problems around the world and increased demand from other industrial applications have created a taut market that has experienced sales control initiatives from major producers. The cost pressure and supply constraints are expected to continue through 2011. These dynamics cause significant and on-going challenges in the water-based and UV markets.
Carbon Black Reduction in available capacity has been seen and lead times have increased significantly. Automotive demand is increasing as well as the demand in several other markets. Two major carbon black suppliers are for sale.
Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) Suppliers are not taking on new business as supply remains tight and inventory levels are very low. Global capacity, during the economic downturn, was reduced by 15 percent over the past 18 months and there is no indication that investment will be made to accommodate future growth in the industry.
Nitrocellulose Growing demand coupled with wood pulp production issues and harvest disappointments with cotton linters have created a difficult situation for nitrocellulose in 2010 that is not expected to improve in 2011. China has reduced exports to meet internal requirements and some industrial product will be removed from the supply chain when Maxam closes a facility in 2011.
Crude Oil and Natural Gas The refining of crude oil and the cracking of natural gas provide many of the precursor chemicals for printing ink raw materials and their intermediates. World oil consumption is expected to grow in China, Brazil and the Middle East which will sustain the regional competition for products and place the supplier in the advantageous position to sell where the profit is best.
Vegetable Oils Vegetable oils, primarily linseed and soybean oil are in a volatile and complex market. Prices are driven by several factors including: the acres planted, harvest yield per acre, weather, exports, value of the dollar, crude petroleum oil prices, bio-diesel production, and commodity prices. Based on these factors, it is expected that for the first half of 2011 prices will remain high versus last year.
Colored Organic Pigments Overall pigment capacity has decreased over the last several years and there is no indication that this will change. The pigment intermediate products derived from the refining of crude oil all continue to increase substantially in price and demand from other industries, which create a competitive situation for printing ink applications.
2011 Outlook In 2011, ink manufacturers expect feedstock inflation, tight markets and shortages to continue. Ink manufacturers will likely see an increase in issues related to nitrocellulose, titanium dioxide, and additives, as well as persistence of the issues in rosin resin and some pigments. Oil prices are expected to be higher in 2011 and subjected to high volatility with petrochemicals and oil derivatives following.
Throughout the years, Triangle Digital Ink was associated with producing innovative new ink products. Consolidated under the INX Digital International banner in 2009, the TRIANGLE brand continues to thrive today. The newest product to reach the alternative marketplace is PDQ, a multipurpose, high performance mild solvent pigmented ink that is considered ideal for super wide-format colour printing systems.
The PDQ inks offer tremendous colour gamut and great adhesion to multiple vinyl and banner stocks, including PVC-based substrates such as self adhesive vinyl (SAV) and banner prints. Designed for use in high resolution printers that have 32 to 42 picoliter (pl) print heads with a drop volume between 9-25 pls, these 4-colour CMYK inks provide stronger cyans, richer magentas, a jetter black and a true process yellow. Keeping with INX Digital's 10 year tradition of producing kinder products for the environment, PDQ inks are cycloxehanone free. While the company continues with the same quality control regiment that all of its inks are subject to, INX Digital has found more cost competitive pigments which are aligned with shorter ad campaigns and still boast up to one year of outdoor durability.
"This is a very good time to introduce PDQ, especially in the Latin American market," said Alex Garcia, Director of Latin America Business Development for INX Digital International. "These new inks show how our TRIANGLE brand continues to react and adapt to competitive market conditions, yet continues to offer the highest quality in the market. This gives end users one more tool to compete in today's extremely competitive markets. In Latin America, we are just around the corner from a large number of elections which require shorter advertising cycles and very competitive prices."
"PDQ will give printers many different options with TRIANGLE's huge portfolio of products. The pigment particle size is sub micron and the colour is computer controlled to guarantee batch-to-batch consistency," said Karla Witte, vice president of product development for INX Digital International. "These high performance inks work on Spectra, Xaar, and Ricoh print heads, and perform extremely well on PVC type substrates. We have kept the printer in mind and they will appreciate knowing PDQ is cyclohexanone free and with a reduction in odour."
X-Rite, Incorporated, the world leader in colour management, measurement and communication technologies, today announced the immediate availability of version 6 of its InkFormulation and ColorQuality software packages. Developed for ink manufacturers and printers who formulate their own ink, X-Rite's InkFormulation provides a fast, accurate and consistent ink formulation, formula creation, storage, approval and retrieval solution for offset, flexographic, gravure and screen-printing inks. InkFormulation 6 and ColorQuality 6 give ink suppliers and printers more flexibility over recipes and assortments, improve basic materials handling, automatically determines the right ink film thickness and helps to eliminate hazardous waste. InkFormulation 6 and ColorQuality 6 are now also XRGA compliant.
Thanks to a sophisticated maths engine that provides better prediction of ink interactivity with substrates, InkFormulation 6 is able to rapidly calculate the optimal and most cost-effective recipe based on the printing process, ink, illumination, pigment pricing, and number of components and materials to be used. InkFormulation 6 helps printers and ink suppliers speed up the ink formulation workflow process (including liquid inks and special inks), with consistent, reproducible results on a broad variety of substrates and ink film thicknesses, including transparent films and metalised substrates. It also increases colour accuracy, helping to meet colour specifications better than ever before.
With version 6's newly improved Basic Material Module, users can work with a variety of additives within one assortment, allowing them to change a single additive in a recipe without having to re-do the draw down or create a completely new assortment. The new enhancements of this module significantly simplify the handling of assortments and recipes, giving users more control over their ink database.
The new Film Thickness Calibration Module allows users to quickly and precisely determine the right ink thickness for flexo, gravure and screen-printing. Users no longer need to re-measure known recipes for different line screens or rollers and adjust the film thickness manually; they can simply enter the roller or screen volume as a parameter. The software will automatically calculate the required film thickness and apply it to the whole assortment.
InkFormulation 6 and ColorQuality 6 now both support the new X-Rite Graphic Arts Standard (XRGA). Databases in both applications contain XRGA data, and data being imported from connected instruments will automatically be converted, if necessary. Version 5 databases will be automatically converted as well when imported into version 6.
X-Rite's renowned Leftover Management feature, also included in InkFormulation 6 allows leftover inks to be reused in new recipes during the formulation process. InkFormulation provides recommendations on how to reduce the amount of leftover inks and allows for any surplus to be reworked into new formulations, reducing inventory and waste, lowering disposal costs and providing a rapid return on users' InkFormulation investment (typical ROI for spot colour printers, especially in flexo, gravure and screen printing is less than 6 months).
InkFormulation 6 offers unsurpassed flexibility of data exchange with networked databases and Internet communication features so ink suppliers and printers can efficiently share colour data with locations across the globe. The new version now also supports the latest generation of CxF (Color Exchange Format), the universal file format for colour communication, allowing them to accurately and unambiguously communicate all commercially significant aspects of their ink's formulation requirements. At each step of the process, colours are defined and stored as CxF files so that they can be seamlessly and faithfully exchangedbetween instruments and applications throughout the printing workflow.
Current users of X-Rite's Color Master software who choose to switch to InkFormulation 6 to take advantage of these new ground-breaking features will also be able to easily import their existing databases.
InkFormulation 6 also features a number of usability enhancements including: more flexible sorting criteria for recipes; direct and simplified substrate database access; a new Print Layout Editor to allow users to define and customise their print layouts (logos, images and labels can be inserted and printed to label ink cans and simplify inventory creation); a new 'undo' function to allow users to return to the preceding step within the formulation workflow rather than having to begin all over again; simplified user administration tools.
InkFormulation's advanced matching algorithms improve results, especially in highly opaque applications or when formulating for use on different substrates such as metallic foils and transparent films. Final colour correction is quick and easy, and can even be done on-press.
InkFormulation 6 now also features a digital library pack including the new PANTONE PLUS SERIES (C, U), PANTONE Goe System (C, U) libraries, the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM (M) libraries and the HKS (E, K, N, Z) libraries. The libraries provide data for No-filter, Pol-filter, D65-filter and UVcut-filter (PANTONE libraries only) measurements.
InkFormulation is available in four versions:
A cost-effective system designed for small to medium sized printers. Users can easily and quickly formulate custom inks, working with a database supplied by their preferred ink manufacturer. Configured with an X-Rite Color Handheld device, this solution is ideal for the printers who previously could not justify having in-house formulation capabilities.
Formulate custom inks without creating and maintaining a colorant database. You can import and work with colorant databases supplied by your preferred ink manufacturer. Includes ColorQuality software to guarantee precise measurement, continuous control, and consistent documentation.
A full version of InkFormulation designed for the Ink Manufacturer, providing the ability to create, store and modify a colorant database. This allows users to build and maintain a complete colorant database featuring all the inks they use.
A web-client solution for ink manufacturers and suppliers that allows their customers to access a centralised, easily-updatable database of ink formulation via the Internet. Printers who do not wish to install local ink formulation capability can easily access high quality ink formulation databases they can rely on for mixing and matching inks.
Faced with continued increases in the costs of raw materials and volatility in the global supply chain, Sun Chemical will raise prices on February 1, 2011 in North America by:
$0.14 per pound for sheetfed blending bases
$0.10 per pound for sheetfed blacks, whites and varnishes
$0.12 per pound for heatset process black and colour inks
$0.07 per pound for solvent-based liquid inks
$0.10 per pound for all white liquid inks
5 percent for screen inks
8-12 percent for heatset Pantone Matching Systems(PMS), fluorescent, metallic inks and overprint varnishes
5-10 percent for silicones and washes, and
5 percent for fountain solutions.
For over two years, raw materials cost and supply instability have significantly impacted the ink industry. Non-traditional factors that began early in 2010 to impact the price of major feedstocks and raw materials continue, including: supply base consolidation and capacity curtailment, significant decline in refinery margins, and rationalised operating rates to meet diminished demand. The combination of these factors has led to the elevated costs on such raw materials as TiO2, rosin and polyamide resins, nitrocellulose, and many more.
"In some cases, such as for TiO2, we have seen the global capacity reduced by as much as 10 percent in three years, demand driven up, and raw materials for manufacturing TiO2 become tight," said Tony Renzi, Vice President of Product Management, Liquid Inks, North American Inks, Sun Chemical. "These factors have resulted in an increase in this raw material pricing of 15 percent in 2010 with another 8 percent increase announced for January 1, 2011. With the market's continued tightness, TiO2 is forecasted to increase another 6-8 percent quarterly in 2011. Factors like these for TiO2 and other raw materials have made it difficult to offset the rising raw material costs and unfortunately has forced us to pass some of these costs on to our customers."
"At Sun Chemical, we have worked and continue to work extremely hard to control our own costs as well as work closely with our supply chain partners to curtail cost, but it has not been enough to offset the drastic raw material price increases we have seen this past year across all our product lines," said Charles Murray, President, North American Inks, Sun Chemical. "We will continue to work closely with our customers to help them get the most possible out of their inks, and to develop new value oriented products and services that can help them grow their business despite this challenging marketplace."
Toyo Ink Mfg. Co., Ltd., primarily known in the LFP industry as the provider of OEM inks to a number of Japanese large format printer manufacturers, have announced that following a resolution, it has acquired an additional interest in Sakata INX Corporation, with whom Toyo Ink has capital and business ties.
Sakata INX themselves have previously been on the acquisition trail, having acquired or created joint ventures with alternative ink manufacturers Triangle and Megaink.
The acquisition was made on Dec. 10, 2010, with Toyo Ink acquiring 3 million shares of Sakata INX stock. The number of shares Toyo Ink held before acquisition was 7,536,000 shares, or 12.04 percent. Toyo Ink now holds 10,536,000 shares, or 16.83 percent.
Large Format Review provides daily breaking news on digital printer technology as used for commercial production of print for wide-format sign and display, dye-sublimation textile and fabric printing, packaging and industrial applications. We also cover 3D print and additive manufacturing.