Lorie Russo tells the story of The Braden Sutphin Ink Company, which has built a national reputation on making ink "jump off" the printed page.
It was founded in 1913 and 87 years later, still operates on the same fundamental premise: producing quality printing ink and backing it up with superb customer service. That’s the philosophy behind Braden Sutphin’s success, says company chief executive officer Jim Leitch. From humble beginnings – founded by Jim Braden and taken over in 1929 by Al Sutphin, Braden’s first employee – to a vastly changing industry in which clients demand more from their suppliers, Braden Sutphin continually has expanded and upgraded its facilities to offer the best products.
Growth plans continue with the purchase, in January of 1999, of Water Color Graphics, a water-based flexographic ink manufacturer, providing Braden Sutphin the opportunity to enter new markets with a wider range of products. The company also has purchased Consolidated Litho in Sacramento, Calif., to provide a West Coast presence. Other facilities are located in: Detroit; Baltimore/Washington; Pittsburgh; Indianapolis, Ind.; Cincinnati/ Dayton, Ohio; Buffalo, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; Richmond, Va.; Columbus, Ohio; Nashville, Tenn.; and Philadelphia.
With sales exceeding $40 million, Braden Sutphin now offers a product line that includes pastes for all types of printers and lithographers, including commercial sheetfed offset, web heat set, web forms, non-heat set, duplicator, rubber base, oil base, soy-oil inks and other low-volatile-content products.
Filling Diverse Needs
A 45,000-square-foot manufacturing facility was added in 1992 in Carlisle, Ohio, specifically to produce web heat set and forms products. “The techniques used in production allow us to process our web heat set and forms inks as economically as possible, yet still maintain the flexibility to manufacture customized products,” Leitch says. “We manufacture a complete line of web heat set products, all of which are manufactured and controlled for high-quality, batch-to-batch consistency.”
Admiral Web Heat Set products, he explains, recently have been improved and upgraded to exhibit enhanced transfer properties. These inks offer excellent release qualities, which produce less picking on lesser-quality stocks, and perform superbly and print more smoothly on lower-grade stocks as well as on the highest-grade papers. The Admiral Lo Gain web heat set product line is a combination of the highest quality vehicle system and modern manufacturing capabilities providing the foundation for this product. This premium ink is designed to produce high gloss with low dot gain while providing the best trapping possible.
Also new from Braden Sutphin is its Hi Tech process, a sheetfed series designed to print as sharp as possible while producing the optimum dot structure. Hi Tech has excellent press stability and produces exceptional mileage, and is now available in vacuum-packed cans.
Showing Its Colors
Other high-quality sheetfed products include:
• Stay Fresh Process – This is designed to “stay open” in the fountain for extended periods of time, reducing waste from skin in the cans and eliminating hickies from the skin. Stay Fresh also eliminates having to spray rollers during normal periods of downtime.
• Ultra Process – This is a moderately fast work-and-turn series that has excellent press stability and works very well on two-color presses.
• Earth Pride Tuff Skuff – These inks were developed with the environmentally cons-cious printer in mind. They are manufactured with a special blend of various vegetable oils, including soy oil. These inks reduce VOCs and are designed for the commercial and folding carton printer.
• Earth Pride UV Coatable – These have the same properties as Earth Pride Tuff Skuff but contain bleed-resistant pigments for solvent laminating, UV coatings and blister pack applications.
• Carton and Label Fade Resist – These are designed for use on a variety of label, carton and board stocks. This is an extremely press-stable series that produces clean, dense prints with little picking.
• Synthetic Stock – These are designed to print on synthetic (plastic) papers such as Kimdura, Tyvek and other non-porous printing surfaces that require specially formulated inks.
• Super Fade Resist – These are made with special pigments to provide maximum lightfastness for use on bumper sticks and similar surfaces. These inks are designed to print on synthetic papers and other non-porous printing substrates that require specially formulated inks.
• Acrylic – This non-skinning series is designed to print on a wide variety of coated and uncoated stocks. Only one ink is needed for many different applications.
• Hi-Gloss Dense Black – K0650 – This is a very strong, dense black that produces exceptional gloss levels with little or no dry-back; the result of a major breakthrough in black ink technology. The pigment and vehicle system is produced specifically for the strongest, densest black ink available in the industry.
Non-Heat Forms products include Utopia Forms. This line offers the best of both worlds: one ink for both regular forms and laser printing applications, reducing inventory costs. One ink stock will eliminate the possibility of using the wrong ink, such as non-laser accidentally for a laser applications. The inks are non-skinning, meaning reduced waste and fewer wash-ups.
Braden Sutphin is waste-deep in its product; the company annually produces more than 9.1 million pounds of ink. Its finished-goods inventory, stored in Cleveland and at branch locations, is approximately $4.5 million. Braden Sutphin also stocks approximately $2.5 million worth of raw materials.
“Our growth continues as we concentrate efforts on teamwork to produce consistent quality products and provide highly skilled technical assistance,” says Leitch. “Our research-and-development department encompasses 5,000 square feet, containing state-of-the-art technical equipment used to keep up with industry standards. Over the years, we have added more than $2 million in new research and manufacturing equipment.” Braden Sutphin’s technical department consists of a team of highly skilled and experienced chemists. Incoming raw materials are tested to ensure that they meet the company’s rigid pre-established requirements, Leitch says.
To better facilitate growth, Braden Sutphin employs a sales force of 19 field and 12 telephone representatives, each with extensive training and experienced in all phases of printing processes. Backing up the sales force are technical service specialists available around the clock to solve any press-related problems. Each representative is highly trained and skilled in ink chemistry, and has a vast knowledge of press-room conditions and variables. In addition, with the help of a fleet of tractor-trailers, mid-sized trucks and vans, all orders are processed and shipped without delay to provide better service to printers in 50 states and dozens of countries worldwide. Says Leitch, 95 percent of orders can be shipped within three days.
“Being a family-owned company, Braden Sutphin is committed to providing the highest-quality products available to the printing industry,” says Leitch. “We’re a dedicated company, and it’s very important for us to earn the respect of our printer friends. We do that through technical support, utilizing the latest technology and aggressive leadership. We’re responsive to any customer requirement and will do our utmost to fulfill their needs. Every employee in this company is pledged to total commitment in formulation, manufacture and timely delivery.”