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EuPIA takes the European stage.

Europe has changed greatly in recent times, as an economically unified European Union (EU) has emerged as a potent force. At the same time, challenges have sprung up that have made the world of business much more complex.

Ink manufacturers are facing these new challenges and opportunities, and they believe that the time has come to handle these matters themselves. For years, the European ink industry has been a part of CEPE, but the organization also encompasses the paint industry, a much larger industry. Now, key leaders in the European ink industry have decided that the time is right to form their own association: the European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA), using the U.S.-based National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) as a model.

While the organization has been in existence for a little more than a year, the perfect time to introduce it came at this year's Drupa.

European Ink Industry

Printing ink is a sizable business in Europe. In 2002, sales of ink accounted for 3.3 billion [euro] ($4 billion). EuPIA represents 75 ink manufacturers who have 155 facilities and 12,000 employees in the region. All of the ink companies that were represented in CEPE automatically became EuPIA members, and the 10 Eastern European countries that recently joined the EU had no national associations for CEPE, thus offering new membership potential.

EuPIA was founded by seven companies: Akzo Nobel Ink (now ANI Printing Inks); BASF Drucksysteme; Flint-Schmidt Group; Huber Group; SICPA Group; Siegwerk Group AG and Sun Chemical Europe. Peter Koivula, president and CEO of ANI Printing Inks, is the chairman of EuPIA, and he has been actively promoting the organization's efforts.

"At CEPE, we had been a POG (product oriented group), and we felt there was a lack of recognition for the printing ink industry in CEPE, in which paint has five times the sales," Mr. Koivula said. "In many national names, ink was not mentioned at all."

"We have to have a better role in communicating the value of our industry," said Felipe Mellado, EuPIA's vice chairman and corporate vice president of marketing and technology for Sun Chemical Europe. "We need to provide awareness of an industry that continually moves, evolves and contributes what we do for society. We have to be united with respect to REACH. Our concern is bureaucracy and the unnecessary costs, plus the loss of low volume, low margin raw materials and concern over confidentiality. Our competitive position may be eroded, as imported materials will get a free ride."

Mr. Koivula stressed that CEPE would remain a close ally, which is signified by Paul Keymolen, assistant secretary general of CEPE, serving as EuPIA's secretary.

"We did not want to be separatists," Mr. Koivula said. "CEPE encouraged us. There are a lot of synergies with CEPE, particularly with regulatory and HSE issues."

"EuPIA focuses, concentrates, lives, eats and sleeps the ink industry, as it should be," said Neville Peterson, CEPE's former president. "We look forward to moving from success to success with you."

The EuPIA Council reads like a Who's Who of the European ink industry. In addition to Mr. Koivula and Mr. Mellado, other members include Herbert Forker, Siegwerk Group AG's president and CEO; David Meldram, Sun Chemical Europe's senior vice president; Heiner Ringer, managing director of Huber Group; Antonio Saez, managing director for Sakata INX; Dr. Helmut Schmidt, president and CEO of FlintSchmidt; Jan Secher, president and CEO of SICPA Group; and Dr. Michael Stumpp, BASF Drucksysteme's group vice president, GBU performance chemicals for printing industry.

It should be noted that two men who recently retired, former BASF Drucksysteme president Jurgen Steinmetz and Jean Daloglou, SICPA Group's former president and CEO, both had a hand in forming the organization.

"The whole European ink industry is behind us, as is Neville Peterson," Mr. Koivula said.

"EuPIA is a good move," Mr. Ringer said. "Now we as an industry will find the right focus. We will be a European NAPIM to help our industry and our member companies, especially the smaller ones."

"The target of EuPIA is to have the voice of the European ink industry acting for the ink industry," Dr. Schmidt said. "It will provide us with better statistical information and allow us to coordinate the different national organizations."

"I think EuPIA will be a new platform to express our interests and concerns," Dr. Stumpp said. "We have REACH, and if it goes through, it will affect our businesses. Now we have our own organization within CEPE. It gives us more power to express our concern."

"We were all members of CEPE, which was organized in product development groups (POG)," said Cyrille Monnin, SICPA Group's marketing project manager, commercial inks division. "We decided that an autonomous presence under the umbrella of CEPE would be best."

"We need to work together on a European basis," Mr. Forker said.

"The Siegwerk Group fully supports EuPIA and its objectives," said Dr. Peter Langhammer of Siegwerk Group AG, head of EuPIA's Technical Committee. "These objectives of EuPIA are mostly congruent with those of the Siegwerk Group. One of these is, for instance, the creation of an improved image for the entire European printing ink industry. We do not see the EuPIA as a rival to the European association of the paints, printing inks and artists colours industry (CEPE), but as a consequential completion of the existing structure of CEPE.

"The Siegwerk Group believes that the new foundation will strengthen the interests of the printing ink industry regarding all current political issues of high relevance for all member companies," Dr. Langhammer added. "Recent examples are the intensely discussed new EU chemicals policy, or the European legislation on consumer safety."

Dr. Langhammer noted that EuPIA is emphasizing technical matters, particularly health, safety and environmental (HSE) issues.

"The new EuPIA Council will closely cooperate with its technical committee and its various subcommittees," Dr. Langhammer said. "However, more than 90 percent of the issues dealt with are HSE issues. The whole EuPIA organization will allow for a more efficient and flexible handling, of these issues. EuPIA should develop into a platform for the communication between the industry and public authorities, politics and media on relevant topics including technical and HSE issues. The function of EuPIA will be to demonstrate and convincingly sell the added value that the printing ink industry provides for the graphic arts industry, the packaging industry and other branches including technical aspects."

Early Successes And Future Plans

In March 2004, EuPIA held its first conference, in Florence, Italy. No matter how one looks at it, the conference was a great success for the fledgling organization.

"The meeting in Florence was a huge success," Mr. Koivula said. "Our first conference was attended by 55 people from 13 companies and 11 countries. All told, there were 77 attendees plus their spouses, and 90 percent of the European ink industry was represented."

As for the future, Mr. Koivula said that EuPIA has major plans.

"We are implementing specific activities and will be involved in graphic arts events such as Drupa," he said. "Our goal is to promote the added value of printing inks. We will make EuPIA into a successful association, and we are already changing our industry."

There remain challenges within the industry, as EuPIA needs to overcome the concern of smaller ink companies that EuPIA will be centered on larger companies.

"We want EuPIA to be the natural home for all ink companies and all the regions of Europe," Mr. Koivula said. "This will not be a club just for the large ink companies. While the big companies need to Lake the lead with meetings with authorities, all of our members will share the benefits. I understand being with ANI that thought. On the council there will be four seats for regional companies."

There are many challenges facing the European ink industry. With the advent of EuPIA and the dedication of its members, the ink industry is now much better prepared to handle these challenges and move forward into the future.
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Author:Savastano, David
Publication:Ink World
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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