Schaumburg, Illinois-based ink manufacturer INX International says that it may be expanding its Lebanon, Ohio, solvent packaging ink and digital inkjet ink manufacturing facility in 2019, as well as adding staff, to keep up with growth.
The Lebanon facility opened as a solvent ink production facility in 2015. In December 2017, the company transferred its digital inkjet ink production to Lebanon from Dixon, California.
Solvent packaging ink is still the bulk of the Lebanon facility’s output. Since the plant’s opening, production has increased to 2.5 million pounds monthly, and that’s expected to jump to 3 million pounds per month in 2019, according to Jim Kochanny, director of liquid operations at the site.
INX president and chief operating officer, John Hrdlick, says his company originally invested $22 million in the 63,000-square-foot facility, both in state-of-the-art equipment and in features to ensure a safe working environment for its 60-plus employees.
The facility sits on 11 acres and is strategically located near Interstate 71 and several other major east-west and north-south highways.
The planning for bringing its digital inkjet production to Lebanon from California started in September 2016. Heidi Dudley, director of U.S. digital manufacturing and a 14-year company veteran, along with quality control manager Jose Angel and lead quality control technician, Mathis Gardner, oversaw the transfer of all product lines, from clear coat to UV, taking care that consistent quality was maintained during the transition.
Equipment and several key employees came along with the digital inkjet transfer, and the company invested another $1.5 million in manufacturing equipment for the site. The company says the Lebanon facility is on goal to manufacture 1.6 million pounds of digital ink this year, increasing to 2 million pounds in 2019.
“Automated manufacturing has had the largest impact in Lebanon, with more efficient equipment utilizing computer programming to monitor and maintain the desired specifications,” says Dudley. “This allows for a controlled energy-cost-per-pound and increased pound-per-man-hour at the facility. The same technology is being used for digital manufacturing.
“The Lebanon facility is also the industry leader for safety engineering. From metalized flooring to reduce static charge to the integrated ground and bonding of all equipment, we are proud to be able to provide a manufacturing environment for our employees that we feel safe working in.”
The company says future growth will not only impact Lebanon but also its manufacturing facilities in Dunkirk, New York, and Appleton, Wisconsin.
“The entire digital manufacturing transfer project to Lebanon, as well as the introduction of digital manufacturing in our Dunkirk facility, has been supported by Sakata INX research and development and INX R&D, operations and sales here in the U.S.,” says Hrdlick.
“At the same time we began the transfer of our digital ink manufacturing, we also experienced significant growth in our solvent packaging ink business. Both of these events led to using our existing space in Lebanon to the fullest, which required us to utilize outside warehousing. Future expansion and the use of our Dunkirk facility will help us tremendously, but we are currently making upgrades to our Appleton facility to make sure we continue to keep ahead of solvent packaging growth.”
With the Dunkirk, New York, plant contributing, Hrdlick says INX is well positioned for continued digital growth.
“Our digital volume is showing additional growth opportunities to the extent that we are involving Dunkirk for a portion of our digital manufacturing needs,” he says. “This is exciting news for us, and with our two facilities involved in digital ink manufacturing, we will have back up capabilities we did not have in the past.”
Hrdlick adds that its Lebanon facility tries to be active in its community in supporting local causes, and in 2017 it was selected Industrial Business of the Year by the Lebanon City Council.