The European Printing Ink Association, sees governmental activities and REACH-related issues to be the main causes of photoinitiator shortages


As has been the case during the past few years, the consistent supply of raw materials remains a concern for ink manufacturers. The latest issue relates to a potential shortage of photoinitiators.

EuPIA, the European Printing Ink Association, sees two main causes of this issue to be governmental activities and REACH-related issues.

Over the last few years the global geo-political situation has undergone a number of changes, including a shift from attempts to reduce trade barriers to ideas about increasing trade barriers.

In China, where the majority of photoinitiators and their precursors are manufactured, governmental initiatives for environmental protection have prompted many suppliers to either cease or reduce production for limited periods of time. 

The supply of photoinitiators has been further impacted by major incidents; a factory fire, unforeseeable events (force majeure) at chemical plants, low stocks, unplanned maintenance and production outages – all recent examples.

As the deadline for registration under the REACH regulation approaches, some raw material suppliers have chosen either not to register some raw materials or to register them only for low volume usage. This has the potential to narrow the choice that ink manufacturers have when substituting photoinitiators.

According to the EuPIA, ‘all our members are highly engaged to safeguard supply for their customer bases, searching for alternatives whilst encouraging their suppliers to develop as broad and diverse a supply base as possible.’

Ink supplier Sun Chemical reported that ‘customers that receive energy curable inks could experience product delivery delays in the future.’ 

‘Sun Chemical is working hard to safeguard supply and mitigate the potential shortage of photoinitiators by qualifying new grades and developing new sources,’ said Felipe Mellado, chief marketing officer and board member. ‘We encourage our customers to call their sales representative if they have any questions or concerns.’