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Flint Group has invested about €2 million in the 400 square meter facility in Shanghai. The Technology Center features a complete solution of nyloflex, nyloprint and ThermoFlexX plate processing equipment as well as facilities for training, education, and in-depth evaluation.  Roy Schoettle, VP Flexographic Asia Pacific, emphasizes: “Asia has the confluence of large and fast-growing markets. As it is Flint Group’s ambition to become the innovation leader in flexographic plates and sleeves solutions, we are addressing this challenge through continuous innovation for our customers as well as offering space for developing our employees, as they are our important guarantors for the success of our company.”

Chinese chemical plant explosion kills 80, hits ink supply chain: An explosion at the Jiangsu Tianjiayi chemical facility which spread to adjacent units on 15 March killed nearly 80 people, injured hundreds more and forced thousands nearby to evacuate as the Chinese government forced the industrial park to shut down. In the wake of the explosion, impacts on the international supply chain have hit the provision of pigments, pigment feedstocks, biocides and photoinitiators required for the manufacture of publication and UV inks. However, provision of Flint products around the world will not be reduced, the manufacturer stated.  While raw material suppliers are raising prices, Flint has yet to announce any increased prices for customers, though the group has intermittently raised ink prices since early 2018 to offset disturbances along the supply chain. Flint Group started this year by increasing prices for packaging inks in Europe, while UV sheetfed and conventional inks were hit by a squeeze on raw materials last September.

Lecta launches new range of BPA-free thermal paper. On December 12, 2016, the European Union prohibited the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in the composition of thermal paper, setting the deadline of January 2, 2020, for mandatory compliance with this regulation. Lecta has been working for some time on replacing this component. It has announced that starting on July 1, 2019, all the thermal paper it supplies to the European Union will be BPA-free, thereby guaranteeing compliance with the regulation by January 2020.    While Lecta is committed to optimizing the process, the transition to BPA-free alternatives could entail higher production costs and therefore some price changes.

Local newspapers springing back up in print. Local news is turning back to print to get closer to its readers in UK, with national newspaper consumption seeing a slight increase last month. The latest newspaper ABCs for March showed a marginal month-on-month circulation growth of 0.1%, although the market is down by 8.5% year-on-year. Free papers in London saw a drop of 2.2% over the month, but prospects appear better for hyper-local titles around the UK. In February, for example, it was reported by Hold The Front Page that Newsquest would launch the Harlow Guardian, a new weekly in its East London & West Essex Guardian series priced at 70p.