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Deadly China plant explosion hits ink supply

Wednesday, 10 April 2019
By Jake Nelson

Ink raw material supplies are being impacted by a Chinese chemical plant explosion.

An explosion at a Chinese chemical plant has led to thousands of factories in the country being shut down for inspection, which is severely impacting the global raw material supply chain for inks.

The explosion at Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical resulted in 80 deaths, hundreds of injuries, and thousands of evacuations. According to Arno de Groot, vice president of procurement for ink supplier Flint Group, the aftermath is having a significant impact on the wider chemical industry.

“Government investigations and safety inspections will impact the total chemical industry in China, and will not be limited to the province where the catastrophic accident happened,” he said.

Supply chains for UV and publication printing inks have been hit by the closures, as they affect companies that supply photoinitiator materials, and components for red and yellow pigments. Michael Podd, chief procurement officer of Flint Group’s CPS inks business, says it will not affect Flint customers’ supply.

“Our preferred status with our partner suppliers helps us minimise supply chain disruptions, even during unforeseen crises like this one,” he said. “Our customers can rely on us for an uninterrupted supply of inks, though these raw materials will come at a higher cost due to the supply / demand imbalance this event has caused.”

Inkjet print systems manufacturer EFI is the world’s biggest UV ink supplier. Speaking to Print21 this morning from the US, product specialist Danny Alkalay assured printers that supply would continue uninterrupted.

“We are talking with our channel partners who supply our raw materials and looking at all the options,” he said. “Our customers can rest assured that, as the world’s largest UV ink provider, EFI is in prime position to continue supply to the market.”

There is as yet no timetable for the reopening of shut facilities.

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