The Printing Ink Company, Rycoline Inc., of Vaughan, Ontario, has created a behind-the-scenes video about the creation of its offset printing inks. The video is presented by Peter Welfare, President and Head of Research and Development.

Titled The Making of Ink, the video has garnered much attention outside of the graphic arts world, reaching over half a million views to date on YouTube

You can view the video below:

Due to the increase in energy and raw material costs, Kodak has announced it will be increasing the prices of all of its flexographic plates by seven percent as of July 15. The increase will be implemented globally.

“It’s never easy to pass these kinds of price increases along to our customers, and we are committed to working with them to ensure that their plate needs and business requirements are met as effectively as possible,” said Mohan Garde, Vice President and General Manager, Packaging Business, Prepress Solutions, Kodak. “The value that our plates bring to the market—high quality, efficiency, repeatability, and more—continues to make them a sound investment for flexo printers who desire the best possible results. As always, we’ll continue to pursue manufacturing efficiencies that will minimize any future pricing impacts for our customer base.”

Details of the new pricing structure will be communicated over the next month to all customers and dealers. All current contractual commitments will be honoured.

Sun Chemical has announced a new round of price increases effective July 1 which will see the price of inks rise by as much as 14 percent.

“We have seen unprecedented cost increases on many raw materials including nitrocellulose, acrylic and polyamide resins, TiO2, and Violet 23 pigments. We’re also facing significant surcharges for the cost of freight due to the steep price of oil,” said Rod Staveley, President, Sun Chemical Canada. “We simply cannot offset the drastic raw material price increases and global supply chain instability we have seen this past year across all our product lines. Despite these challenges, we are looking for ways to work closely with our supply chain partners on controlling our own costs.”

Below are the increases outlined by Sun Chemical:

• 4 to 14 percent for solvent-based inks;
• 10 percent for heatset inks;
• 8 percent for coldset black inks;
• 6 percent for coldset colour inks;
• 4 to 6 percent for water-based inks;
• 4 to 6 percent for water-based coatings; and
• 10 percent on all blanket and roller washes.

Sun Chemical will also implement a temporary fuel surcharge which is dependent on the cost of diesel. "Beginning at $0.02/kg for diesel gas prices ranging between $1.06-$1.10/litre, the surcharge will increase $0.01/kg for every $0.05 increase in diesel fuel."

Agfa Graphics on May 9, 2011, added a silver surcharge for all of its graphic film products. Agfa did not release exact-dollar details about the surcharge, instead stating it will vary as the cost of silver fluctuates.

“The price of silver continues to escalate to all-time high levels,” Peter Wilkens, President of Agfa Graphics. “Year-to-date, silver prices have increased almost 60 percent with no signs of stabilization. This follows an 80 percent increase in silver prices throughout 2010.  

“Agfa can no longer absorb the ongoing increase in silver prices,” continued Wilkens. “Due to the rapid rate at which silver prices are escalating, it is impractical to offset these increases with a traditional price increase.”

Agfa states the silver surcharge will be discontinued when the price of silver returns to January 2011 levels.

Effective May 1, 2011, Kodak will be raising prices of its plate products in all regions of the world. The price of conventional plates can increase by as much as 20 percent. Digital plates will increase by five to 10 percent.

“Kodak understands the difficulty our customers face with increasing costs for many of the consumables used in the printing process, from ink and paper to energy and fuel,” said Doug Edwards, General Manager, Prepress Solutions and Vice President, Kodak. “During a time when all companies are facing added costs of doing business, we will work closely with our customers to ensure that both their plate needs and business requirements are met as effectively as possible.”

Kodak attributes the need to increase prices to rising key raw material costs. Specific costs will be conveyed to users and dealers in April.

Flint Group North America has announced price increases on certain printing inks and pressroom chemistry sold in the United States and Canada. This is in addition to the news ink price increase implemented January 1st and previously announced increases for blankets and sleeves.

Prices will increase on inks, overprint varnishes and pressroom chemistry as follows, effective February 1, 2011 and subject to existing contracts:

Liquid Packaging & Narrow Web Inks:
All Whites - up to 10%, depending on technology
Solvent Colors - up to 8%
Specific increases for the above products, as well as for nitrocellulose-based clears, other solvent-based clear formulations, and all violet colors will be communicated individually to customers depending on formula make-up and technology.
Print Media Inks:
Sheetfed Conventional - 8%
    Process- 10%
    Blends, Metallics, Fluorescents and OPVs - 12%
Directory - 9%   
Publication Gravure - 9%

Print Media Chemicals:

Spray Powders - 8 – 15%
Press Washes - 8 – 12%
Web Conditioners - 6 – 10%
Fountain Solutions - 5 – 8%
Aerosols - 8 – 15%


 “We’re facing challenges on a multitude of fronts: Capacity constraints, government policies around the world, environmental concerns, decreased production of feedstocks, and more," says Diane Parisi, Vice President Supply Chain for Flint Group.

Following the announcement late last year of price increases for "scarce colours," Sun Chemical has announced a broader range of increases, effective February 1.

The increases are (all prices are in US$):
  • $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 color 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.
"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 eight percent increase announced for January 1, 2011. With the market’s continued tightness, TiO2 is forecasted to increase another six to eight 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."

Sun Chemical announced worldwide plans to raise pigment prices on what it refers to as scarce colours in the marketplace. The company explains the price increase is due to supply shortages and continued cost increases of the raw materials used to manufacture Phthalocyanine Blue and Green pigments.

Effective immediately, Sun Chemical Performance Pigments is raising global prices for Phthalocyanine Blue dry pigments up to $0.65 per pound, Phthalocyanine Green dry pigments by $0.85 per pound, and all other physical forms including preparations depending on pigment content.

"We continue to see a challenging marketplace where supply shortages and increasing demand across the chemical industry are leading to significant increases in raw material prices," said Mehran Yazdani, VP Marketing, Sun Chemical Performance Pigments. 

The price increase applies to all markets that purchase pigments including the ink, coating, and plastic industries.

As a result of rising raw material prices and growing demand, Flint Ink and Sun Chemical in North America have announced increases of six percent across its heatset and directory ink and overprint varnishes, effective July 1.

"We're working to control our costs closely with our supply chain partners and to improve the efficiency of our internal operations," said Dennis Sweet, Vice President, Product Management, Publications Inks, Sun Chemical. "While these efforts have helped offset growing cost pressures, we can't eliminate the need for a price increase at this time. We will continue to work on controlling our own costs closely with our supply chain partners, improve our internal operations, and develop new value-oriented products and services that can help improve customer productivity and grow their business."

Flint Group issued a press release echoing the sentiment: "Flint Group works very hard to shield customers from the impact of raw material trends," said Michael Podd, Business Director of Heatset Inks North America, "but the recent level of activity makes it impossible for us to absorb the effects completely."

Flint attributes the price hike to "ongoing raw material trends, including supply shortages, have pushed up the price of pigments, resins and other intermediates used in the manufacture of heatset & directory inks in North America."

In the European market, Flint has announced price hikes of between five and eight percent.

Fujifilm announced at Ipex this year two new plates: the Brillia HD LH-PLE plate and the Brillia HD LH-NI3. The company places the new plates in its low-chemistry family based on its compatibility with its FLH-Z ZAC processor, which the company says can reduce chemistry use by up to 75 percent.

Fujifilm calls its Brillia HD LH-PLE plate "the next generation of high speed, high quality thermal plate." It is aimed at the heatset web market with run lengths of up to 300,000, without baking. The plate is manufactured at the Fujifilm plate line in Tilburg using a new aluminum alloy, designed for more durable operation in long runs. The Brillia HD LH-PLE plate is completely interchangeable with Fujifilm's Brillia HD LH-PJE plate, printers can use the same platesetter and processor for both with no changes required.

The Fujifilm Brillia HD LH-NI3 plate is a third generation bakeable negative thermal plate targeted at very long run lengths for sheet-fed and web offset applications.

Agfa at IPEX will debut the latest generation of its Azura line of chemistry-free plates. Known as the Azura V, the new violet photopolymer plate works with all mainstream violet CTP machines and does not require any traditional photopolymer developer.

Agfa says the Azura V is designed for small- to medium-sized print shops with run lengths of up to 100,000. The Azura V is a plate which operates similar to its ThermoFuse-based Azura thermal plates and employs a pH-neutral gumming process via a clean-out unit or an adapted existing plate processor. According to the company, it does not require extra rinsing water, which contributes to a better ecological footprint.

The plates will be commercially available after IPEX.

Kodak has announced a new thermal plate which makes significant claims on cost savings, environmental impact and on-press performance.

The Kodak Trillian SP is a thermal plate with a claimed unbaked run length of 500,000 impressions (post baking increases the length to 1-million impressions). Additionally the plate can be imaged on largely existing CTP equipment using up to 25 percent less energy and processed with up to 70 percent less in imaging chemistry.

Kodak also says the plate can be used for a variety of applications, from commercial offset to publication printing to packaging and on challenging substrates. The plate will make its debut at IPEX in Birmingham, UK this May.

Kodak has launched its new VioletNews Gold printing plate designed for newspaper production, which the company claims to require “notably lower chemistry consumption.”

According the company, the VioletNews Gold plate, using a new developer and replenishment system, allows printing operations to reduce their total developer consumption by up to 40 percent.

The negative-working, violet-photopolymer plate is rated by Kodak for 200,000 impressions, while its handling requires darkroom conditions with G10 safelights. VioletNews Gold is available in all standard newspaper sizes, while Kodak claims it is compatible with most exposure devices and processing systems.

Presstek Inc. introduced a waterless ink, called DI-Dry, that is optimized for its 52DI and 34DI presses, as well as the Ryobi 3404 DI and Heidelberg QMDI. According to the company, DI-Dry is designed to stay open in the ink fountains for up to a week.
“It has a heavier ink pigmentation density, which means using less ink while achieving truer colours and denser solids – in effect, getting more miles per gallon,” said Kathy McHugh, Presstek’s VP and CMO. “Using less ink also facilitates a faster drying time for faster job turn around. And, in line with Presstek’s commitment to environmental sustainability, DI-Dry contains more than 50 percent renewable content, also known as bio-derived raw materials.”
In addition to the process colour set, Presstek DI-Dry inks are available in basic Pantone colours, special mix PMS, metallic and fluorescent colours, as well as varnishes.
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