*NEWS*UK IN DANGER OF RUNNING OUT OF INK

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*NEWS*UK IN DANGER OF RUNNING OUT OF INK

 user 2007-03-20 at 9:35:00 am Views: 49
  • #17602

    Danger of cutting off ink supplies
    Moira
    McMillan, CEO of the British Coatings Federation (BCF), shares some
    thoughts on the imminent and very serious potential threat to the ink
    supplies of UK printers. ‘If the printing industry has advanced in
    leaps and bounds over the last decade or so, then ink may be its unsung
    hero’. ‘The demands of end-users have become increasingly complex, with
    companies looking for eye-catching printed literature and packaging
    that can withstand extremes of treatment, such as food containers that
    can be microwaved and still retain their good looks’.'Ink companies are
    at the forefront of printing technology, addressing complicated
    technical issues, tackling new regulatory requirements and providing
    high levels of customer service’.'However, if ink has become the
    critical component of the printing industry – perhaps it could even be
    said to be its lifeblood – its role is not always appreciated’.The high
    levels of customer service offered by ink companies, often at no extra
    charge, are now almost taken for granted by customers’.'The packaging
    sector is a good example of the pressures facing the printing industry
    as the demand for advanced products collides head-on with the
    end-users’ determination to keep prices low’.'Printers and converters
    are increasingly relying on ink producers, both in terms of technical
    know-how and physical support’.

    But financial pressures caused
    by the rising price of raw materials, energy and other costs, together
    with increased service expectations, mean that it is becoming difficult
    to maintain this level of support without passing on some costs to
    customers’.'Ink producers are looking into the future to predict new
    packaging trends and technical requirements so that they can develop
    coatings to meet the needs of their customers in five or ten years’
    time’.'Ink solutions are becoming increasingly complex, yet the
    producers feel their products and services are still viewed as mere
    commodities, with customers unwilling to pay more than commodity
    prices’.'The UK print industry is facing competition from printers and
    packaging companies in low-cost countries, but companies choosing to
    source packaging materials from abroad face major issues in terms of
    quality, reliability and legislative demands’.'If end users go overseas
    they will find that foreign companies are not governed by the same
    tough legislation as British firms’.'This means that foreign inks and
    print might not comply with EU rules on Health and Safety and food
    packaging’.'Without a local source of ink expertise, printers could
    struggle to obtain the print quality they seek, converters could find
    that their packaging concepts fail, and end-users may discover that
    their products suffer due to poor standard packaging’.'It is time that
    UK ink users began to value the excellent products and services
    provided by their ink manufacturers, because, ultimately, if the
    industry is unprofitable, it will not be sustainable.’ Mark Sutton, UK
    and Ireland Sales and Marketing Director, Packaging Inks Division,
    Flint Ink UK., commented; ‘The industry cannot continue to support the
    kinds of services we are providing, without getting some kind of
    return’.'The UK printing ink industry has to recover more of its costs,
    otherwise it will not survive.’ Tony Palmer, General Manager of the UK
    Packaging Division for Sun Chemical, agrees; ‘It is now taken as given
    that a full ink management service is provided to support the highly
    pressurised UK packaging converters’.'These services range from
    supplying precise JIT deliveries provided by mini ink colour kitchens
    installed at the customer’s site, through to innovative development
    initiatives resourced fully at the ink maker’s facilities’.'It is
    uncertain that this can continue in the future.