Consumables
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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