What are Leuco Dyes and how are they affecting millions across the globe?
Todays’s Post is by Eli Razov, SafeSourcing Account Manager.
What are Leuco Dyes and how are the affecting millions across the globe? Right now the world is seeing huge increases in the thermal paper market. Leuco dyes are made of many different chemicals which can combine to achieve the desired color. These dyes have a colorless leuco form when crystalline or when in a pH neutral environment, but become colored when dissolved in a melt and exposed to an acidic environment. Lueco dyes provide little color when melted unless they are melted with one or more organic acids. These are called developers. One example of organic acid is Bisphenol A (BPA). These developers and Leuco dyes often mix poorly upon melting. A third chemical called a sensitizer is often added to the imaging layer to increase the effect. So what does this mean?
These are the components used to make thermal paper. The same paper you see daily from receipts at the local grocery store to fast food chains. The world thermal paper market is about one million tons annually, with about 2/3 of that tonnage for receipt paper. But right now, there is a major shortage in Lueco Dyes. This shortage is due to a company in China named Connect Chemicals which is responsible for 35% – 40% of global dye demand for thermal coaters. In September of 2017 the Connect Chemicals was shut down due to environmental reasons and China’s new anti-pollution laws. This spells disaster for retailers especially Going into the holiday season, which is the busiest time of year. Thermal paper pricing has seen an increase of over 20%-45%. This is making the demand outgrow the supply in many cases. Many major distributors have been unable to supply their entire current customer base and are preventing them from acquiring new clients.
There is hope because this shortage is estimated to be only roughly 3 months while Connect Chemicals closes to conform to China’s new environmental laws. This will take months to recover losses and hopefully set the market normal again.
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