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July 15, 2013
IIMAK President Expects Bright Future For TTR

In early October  2012, Doug Wagner  was appointed president of IIMAK,  a global provider  of thermal transfer ribbons (TTR) and packaging technologies.

Wagner  had held several executive sales positions at the company  before  the promotion to president.  Prior to joining IIMAK, Wagner  spent nine years with Avery Dennison working in their Retail Information Services  Group  (RIS) in various positions, the last of which was vice president of sales & marketing  for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region.

Now that Wagner  has had some  time to settle in to the new position, we decided  to touch base with him to see how things are  going. Wagner  told SCAN/DCR, “Everything  is excellent. The beginning  of this year was slower than expected  but bounced  right back.  We had a record second  quarter and a record first half  with respect to sales.”

“Our core  TTR business is still producing  modestly solid gains,” he continued.  “And, our efforts in adjacent  markets are  paying off, as well.”

iiMED Division Pays Off

While perusing the IIMAK Web site, the company’s iiMED Medical Manufacturing  Solutions division caught our attention. About 10 years ago, IIMAK opened  a manufacturing site in Reynosa,  Mexico.  After a period of time, IIMAK leaders realized there were  other ways of using  their skill sets. The company  evolved into the medical sector.

iiMED  offers assembly and packaging services of Class I and II medical devices.  Headquartered  in Buffalo, New York, the state-of-the-art nearshore  manufacturing operation in Reynosa is ISO 13485 certified and FDA registered.

“This part of our business has been growing in leaps and bounds,” said Wagner. “Our sales have grown 500% in the past three years, and we are currently moving to a larger facility. Our  sales projections  for the next three to five years are  quite high.”

We asked Wagner if he could give us a few examples of the “devices” that iiMED  produces.  “I don’t want to give out too much  information, because  it might compromise our relationships with our customers,”  he replied. “One example might be wraps for the treatment of deep vein thrombosis.

“This is a soup-to-nuts operation,” Wagner  continued. “We cut the materials, assemble them, package them in the format chosen  by the customer, and ship them to their proper  destination. We offer ultrasonic and RF welding. Everything is done under  stringent guidelines with respect to cleanliness and sanitization. Our  customers are traditionally small- to mid-size companies. The team is bi- lingual, and the cost difference between the products we produce and those produced  in China is minimal. This is quite  a stretch from our core technology  offering, but it is one that is really paying off.” (Learn more at

Constant Evaluation

Over  the years, in our interviews with Dick Marshall, IIMAK chairman/CEO,  we have found IIMAK to be a company  that never  rests on its laurels. Although it is one of the clear leaders  in its core market, the company always looks for new  business opportunities in adjacent  markets. And sometimes, in markets that may even be more of a stretch….such as the iiMED division.

Wagner  told us, “We are always looking at new ways to do things-investing in our core technologies. That is the key to our success. We are on track to have a record year in sales. In addition, we have  completed  two acquisitions and are assessing several other opportunities.”

On April 25, 2013, IIMAK announced its acquisition of Graphic Controls’ inkjet ink business, effective May 1, 2013. This includes all respective manufacturing assets and processes from Graphic Controls to produce large character inks, high  resolution  inks, solid inks, and miscellaneous supplies.

Graphic Controls made a strategic decision  to divest the inkjet business and focus on its three core  market  segments  of industrial, medical,  and transactional media.  In turn, IIMAK’s strategic focus on printing, imaging,  marking, and coding consumables positions IIMAK as an ideal successor for this business.

IIMAK is headquartered in Amherst, NY, a suburb of Buffalo, where the company’s ink development & production, film coating, and primary converting facilities reside. It has additional converting facilities in Mexico,  Brazil, and Belgium, as well as U.S. distribution centers on the East and West Coasts.

The transition teams have been working closely to transfer knowledge, systems, and training.

On July 1, 2013, IIMAK announced its acquisition of Specialty Inks Company’s business. This includes all formulas, brands, processes, and assets from Specialty Ink Company to produce inks, stamp pads, and related items, with the exception of Mark II Stamp Pads.

Specialty Inks made  a strategic decision  to enact a business succession  plan that provides President Gary Werwa an opportunity to take a step closer to retirement while ensuring the customer base will be supported accordingly for many years to come. In turn, IIMAK’s strategic focus  on printing, imaging, marking, and coding  consumables positions them as an ideal successor. IIMAK has been partners with Specialty Inks, producing a portion of Specialty’s inks for several  years.

Although Gary Werwa will be moving toward retirement, and Keith Werwa will be retaining the Mark II Stamp Pad business, IIMAK said that both Gary & Keith will stay on with IIMAK for 12 months to continue to support the business. Both teams have been working closely to transfer knowledge, systems, and training to ensure a seamless transition.

“The global TTR market on its own won’t support the growth we want to achieve,” Wagner  continued.
“That is why I keep going back to the statement that you must look for opportunities outside  your core.  Fortunately, our acquisition by Altus Capital Partners II, L.P.  has provided  us with the necessary funds to expand.”

IIMAK, Amherst, NY

(716) 691-6333 Web site: