Over the summer there were a raft of acquisitions within the industrial print sector. One of these, announced to coincide with the InPrint Development Forum in Cambridge in July, was Lubrizol's acquisition of Diamond Dispersions. In this blog I talk to Sue Wright about the companies development and what this change means to them and their customers and the industrial print community.
So Diamond Dispersions have experienced an exciting few months – tell us more about this ?
Yes, it has been a very exciting few months. Lubrizol is merging us into their systems and is handling the integration strategically. From the outside, nothing has changed much! It is very much business as normal!
How do you see the partnership between Lubrizol and Diamond Dispersions working going forward?
Prior to the acquisition, we realised there was great synergy between our Research and Development departments. Since the acquisition, we have begun working on a number of projects together and there are some exciting new product developments already in the pipeline. Diamond’s in-depth knowledge of milling and handling dispersions and Lubrizol’s knowledge of additives and dispersants makes us a very exciting and vibrant combination. Diamond has also now been able to purchase further assets in terms of equipment and laboratory mills to strengthen an already strong research capability. We have also taken on two new chemists so we are both much stronger in the digital field working together.
The past five years have been, interesting, challenging, exciting and in the end fruitful & successful. As two entrepreneurs from outside the business - How have you managed to keep going and keep the faith ?
We have always believed in Diamond. Never ever doubted that. We found an exciting niche in a growing market and steadily built up our knowledge and expertise to become an outstanding supplier in our specialist field. We also used fun and impactful marketing to create visibility for the brand, differentiate ourselves, and communicate our real value.
We see growing pains in the market, do you agree? And in your opinion how do entrepreneurial businesses manage growth?
There are growing pains, but despite this everyone is rushing to get a digital offering in their sector - which is exciting. The opportunities for digital across multiple industries are huge. This could be textiles, or wall paper, or floor/wood laminates, or packaging. So yes, the opportunities seem endless. We don’t see digital printing replacing other forms of printing but rather taking a small niche share of these markets by adding value and creating new brand opportunities for personalising and limited tailored print runs. You could, for example, print millions of sandwich boxes by analogue traditional print methods and then overprint digitally the local weather forecast on sandwich packs sold in Paris, Glasgow or Berlin etc.
What is happening in textile and pigment inks?
This is a huge area of research for many companies and the challenges are great, but the opportunities for those who are good at this are enormous. Diamond has a range of pigment dispersions for textiles, but we are always working all the time on new product ranges and opportunities especially in the field of water based pigments.
On a personal level, you and Peter have worked together for a long time, why do you think that you work so well together?
I think there were two main factors. One is that we trust each other to both be working towards the same goal for Diamond. We are motivated by doing anything that is for the good of Diamond. The other factor is that we are both competitive, very competitive. I think this inherently pushes us to achieve more than we could without that healthy competition.
We don’t think there are enough entrepreneurs in the industry, tell us your view ? What’s the story of your success?
Yes, I think the industry is mainly dominated by large corporate companies with huge spending power. They can spend 5 years developing a product and not make any money from it until year 7. Small entrepreneurial companies often don’t have this luxury, but must realize profits much sooner in order to survive.
I think, inadvertently, that was our strength. We knew that we could not be everything to everyone, so we had to focus. We decided what we were good at was making dispersions. We bought the best equipment we could and did that to the best of our ability. We were tempted on many occasions to consider actually making the inks, but always held back. We wanted to work with our customers and not compete with them. Ultimately, a key to our success is maintaining a realistic view of the market and a realistic view of the achievable goals and then going for it both in terms of constantly researching to improve and grow whilst monitoring quality combined with innovative marketing.
Diamond Dispersions are again pleased to be the sponsor of the Networking evening at the InPrint Milan event on Tuesday 15th November from 5.00pm.
For further information on Diamond Dispersions check out their website