WHITE INKS: Is there a shortage?

August 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment

Rumors have been flying around the industry that there is a shortage of white ink due to shortages in raw materials.  Here is International Coatings’ President, Steve Kahane, with more info regarding this issue, specifically as it pertains to International Coatings:

We’re frequently asked whether our supply of white inks is being affected by the worldwide shortage of titanium dioxide (TiO2).  The short answer is no.  We are carrying sufficient inventory of TiO2 to more than meet customer needs.

 By way of quick background, the shortage of TiO2 started last year. Titanium dioxide itself is not in short supply, but the ability to process it is limited.  During the recession, a number of processing facilities were either closed or scaled back.  For reasons that are not quite clear, processors have not been able to (or willing?) to once again scale up to meet growing demands.  As a result TiO2 suppliers are allocating (limiting) available supplies to their customers.  And not surprisingly, prices of TiO2 have jumped by 50% since the start of the year.

 Why is TiO2 so important?  It is perhaps the most widely used pigment in the world.  TiO2 is used to make a wide range of commercial products, including white inks, white.  And why is TiO2 so important to us?  Of the wide range of colors we sell, white inks are by far our largest sellers. 

 We’ve worked closely with our suppliers over the past year forecasting and building inventory.  Where we carried a one to two month inventory a year ago, we now carry at least a three month inventory.  So, we see no squeeze on our ability to provide the market with the white ink it needs.

 Until the supply opens up again, we expect TiO2 costs to continue to rise.  The increased cost of TiO2 and other raw materials led us to one price increase this year.  Our many loyal customers know that we don’t raise prices often or more than we absolutely need to.  Since that increase a couple months ago, TiO2 costs have gone up by 24% and we are told to expect another 10% increase in the coming months. 

 So the challenge we’re facing is not so much supply, it’s managing the rapidly escalating cost of making our white ink.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whites, specialty inks, special effects inks, color matching systems, additives and reducers.  For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

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