Reducing Ink Costs

With the ink dispenser program, Thoro Packaging can mix smaller batches to match what is needed for any print run.
Albéa and Thoro Packaging use an ink dispenser program from Sun Chemical to reduce ink inventories and waste.

If there is one certainty ink manufacturers could guarantee in today’s marketplace, it would be uncertainty. While there has been a slow but steady recovery for ink manufacturers since the global recession, the industry continues to face persistent volatility in the global supply chain.

Over the past three years, ink manufacturers saw many raw material suppliers shut down their plants and rationalize product lines leading to a major imbalance in supply and demand and a sharp rise in prices. This led ink manufacturers to pass along many of these costs to their customers.

Uncertainty continues

Perhaps the most important area of concern for ink manufacturers revolves around oil and petrochemical derived products, such as mineral oils, solvents, carbon black, resins, and intermediates. Oil and feedstock costs driven by geopolitical risk and commodity investor activities make these products very difficult to predict despite relatively static supply and demand fundamentals.

Other factors, such as competition for the same raw materials in other markets and weather conditions all contribute to the rising costs of printing ink.

Despite these price increases, ink costs may seem trivial at an estimated five percent or less of the total cost of a printed job. Package printers frequently find that inks can cost them in other ways, such as incorrectly mixed spot colors that not only waste ink, but could also result in rejected printed material.

While purchasing ink containers of special colors can eliminate much of the risk, this approach also frequently results in leftover ink that needs to be properly disposed of or takes up valuable shelf space in the production area, again increasing overall ink costs.

Solving the ink cost puzzle

Two converters have saved a significant amount of money through the Sun Chemical Dispenser Program, a system that provides in-house ink dispensing and gives printers the ability to mix the exact amount of ink that they need when they need it. Package printers that participate in the program must agree to purchase a minimum annual amount of Sun Chemical bases and inks and in return receive a GFI Mx12 dispenser that provides spot color accuracy to within 0.001/lb.

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