Explosion at Chinese chemical plant spurs global tightening of raw materials for publication and UV inks

A recent deadly explosion at Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical in Xiangshui County in the Jiangsu Province of eastern China, is severely impacting the global raw material supply chain – including materials used in publication and UV printing inks. The March explosion, the worst in China in 4 years, also caused environmental damage and spread to adjacent facilities, causing nearly 80 deaths (at press time), injuring hundreds of people, and forcing thousands of evacuations of nearby areas. The China Earthquake Administration said that a magnitude-2.2 earthquake may have caused by the explosion, but that has not been confirmed pending ongoing Chinese government investigations and safety inspections.

Arno de Groot.

“Our hearts go out to the loved ones of those hurt or killed,” said Michael Podd, Chief Procurement Officer of Flint Group’s CPS Inks business. According to Arno de Groot, Vice President of Procurement for Flint Group Packaging, “thousands of factories have already been shut down. Government investigations and safety inspections will impact the total chemical industry in China and will not be limited to the province where this catastrophic accident happened.”

The impact has already affected UV and publication printing ink supply chains, as the closures affect companies that supply materials for photo-initiators and for red and yellow pigments. Podd noted that the raw material shortage will not affect ink supply for Flint Group’s customers. “Our preferred status with our partner suppliers helps us to minimize supply-chain disruptions, even during unforeseen crises like this one. Our customers can rely on us for an uninterrupted supply of inks, though these raw materials will come at a higher cost due to the supply/demand imbalance this event has caused.” No date was released at press time for the re-opening of the chemical plant.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.