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Printing Ink Making Plant


1.     Product Description: The ink used in the printing industry is known as printing ink. It is applied to paper through printing machine in the form of a thin film. The film consists of individual letters, isolated designs and solid areas separated by blank unprinted spaces. Printing ink is essentially an intimate mixture of pigments, oils, varnishes, driers and some other additives. Printing ink must posses suitable physical characteristics such as viscosity, length and flow and it should be possible to adopt it for the particular type of printing press and stock which it is to be used. Printing inks are divided into three main classes which are: Planographic printing ink, typographic printing ink and intaglio printing ink. Plano graphic inks are used to print from plane surfaces as in lithographic and offset processes. These are generally heavier and shorter in characteristic. The pigments and vehicles used in these inks must not be affected by water. Typographic inks are used to print from a raised surface such as ordinary type with line and half one cuts. These inks are very long i.e. they may be drawn out in fairly long threads. Typographic prints are of four types automatic press ink, job press ink, flat bed press ink and sheet fed rotary press ink. Intaglio printing ink are originally called steel or copper plate inks and are used to print from engraved or depressed surfaces. The character of the ink depends upon to kinds of plate, the type of press being used and the speed of operation.


2.         Rationale: There are more than two hundred small and large printing plants in the country. Most of these were established during the last 10 years. With the expansion of elementary and secondary education in the country, the printing demand especially the book printing demand has greatly increased. In 2004, there were more than 11 million students in elementary and secondary schools; all these students require books of different subject for their education. This is one important indicator of the expansion of the printing industry. This also shows the increase in demand for printing inks. However despite all this huge market for printing ink, the product is still being imported consuming a substantial amount of foreign exchange every year. The expansion of the printing business has resulted in the establishment of many printing plants.


Another result of this situation should be the establishment of a plant that will produce printing ink for the expanding printing industry.


3.         Market potential: As indicated above, for the expanding printing industry the demand for printing ink per year could be measured in the hundreds of tons. The minimum economy of scale for producing printing ink is in the region of 100 kgs. Per day or about 27.5 tons per year. There is a market whose absorption capacity is greater than 27.5 tons per year. Hence, establishing a printing ink making plant will be a viable venture.


4.     Raw Material Source:- Raw materials used to manufacture printing ink include different types of inputs which can be generally classified as organic and inorganic pigments, oils resins, driers, solvents and diluents, waxes, and surface active agents. Each group of inputs performs different functions in the making of a given type of printing ink. Almost all the inputs for making printing ink will be imported. However, there is also a high potential for producing some of the ingredient locally.


5.         Process and Technology: The process of printing ink manufacturing is simple. First the various ingredients are mixed together as per given formulation and the mass is ground (made into powder). While mixing, initially a semi-viscous paste is prepared by mixing pigment in same amount of vehicle and then in this paste other ingredients are added. This mixing operation is carried out either in paddle mixer or dough mixer. The next step is grinding of paste which is generally done in water cooled three or five roller mills or pebble mill. Since heat is generated during the operation, water cooling is required to remove the heat. When the printing ink material has been ground in paste or semi-paste form, the vehicle or solvent is incorporated for mixing the finished product. For this change can mixer is often used. Finally the product is packed in suitable containers with the help of a felling machine.


Major machinery units required include storage tank for solvent, grinder, mixer, storage tank for ink, miscellaneous such as pipes, pipe fittings, etc and filling and packaging machine

6.         Estimated Investment: For a plant which will produce about 100 kg. of printing ink per day, the investment requirement will be the following.

§         Building/shade 200 m2 at Br 2000/m 2 = Birr   400,000

§         Machinery       …………………………  = Birr  500,000

§         Working Capital ………………………   = Birr  400,000

                             Total …..                           =Birr   1,300,000


7.         Benefits: Promotes self sufficiency in a critically important industrial input, saves foreign exchange, will bring in financial resources to the region through export, introduces new skill and technology,


8.         Location:   Bahir Dar, Combolcha, Debre Birhan