VIRUS: Equipment and ink supplies may be impacted
The increasing global nervousness over the coronavirus is starting to impact print, with ink and equipment manufacturers among those dependent on China now looking at dealing with the looming Covid-19 shadow.
Already wide-format systems manufacturer HP Inc has said it will take a hit from the Chinese shut-down, as this is where some of its equipment is manufactured. Its CEO Enrique Lores said the company was looking at an 8 per cent reduction on its earnings per share as a result of the virus. Many other print systems manufacturers source all or some of their parts from China and will also be working to mitigate difficulties.
Inks remain susceptible to shortages, particularly UV inks used for the modern offset presses and for wide format print systems. Most of the pigments and photo initiators for UV inks are manufactured in China, and they have only recently recovered from supply disruptions last year caused by a huge fire at a major plant.
The world’s largest ink manufacturer, Sun Chemical, is also issuing warnings over its supply capability. “Over these last several weeks, we continue to monitor the extent of the novel coronavirus (also referred to as Covid-19) around the world,” said Jeffrey Shaw, chief supply chain officer, Sun Chemical. “The potential supply chain impact of the coronavirus around the world is vast and unpredictable. Nonetheless, we stay committed to manage our supply chain in a proactive and comprehensive manner. We continue to monitor the labour situation, the run time of supplier manufacturing sites, the logistics providers for over-the-road, ocean freight, and even seaport services in China and other high-risk areas around the globe. The situation remains volatile and can change very quickly.”
Chinese factories are starting to return to work after an extended shutdown which began with the planned lunar new year holiday period. However, output is likely to remain severely impacted while the virus remains.