Carbon Paper and Inked Ribbons

SIC 3955

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing carbon paper, spirit or gelatin process and other stencil paper, and inked or carbon ribbons for business machines.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only about 50 establishments operated in the carbon paper and inked ribbon category in the early twenty-first century. Companies in this industry tended to be small in size, with about 80 percent employing fewer than 100 workers. Overall shipments for the industry were valued at $398.3 million in 2009, down from $480.4 million in 2008. In 2010 the industry fared better, having recovered somewhat from the economic recession at the end of the first decade of the 2000s, and industry shipments were approximately $476 million. The capital requirements for this industry were relatively low, with the average investment per establishment 59 percent of that for the manufacturing sector as a whole.

Imports in the industry, which came from 38 different countries, were relatively low, at $119.4 million in 2010. Exports were shipped to 131 countries with a value of $358.3 million, according to research firm Supplier Relations U.S. LLC.

In the early 2010s, industry leaders included Clover Technologies Group of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, which had 2010 sales of $400 million; Datamax-O'Neil Corp. of Orlando, Florida, a subsidiary of Dover; and Honeywell subsidiary International Imaging Materials Inc. (IIMAK) of Amherst, New York, with sales of almost $40 million in 2010.

Shipment values in this industry declined steadily beginning in the late 1990s. In 1997 the value of shipments was estimated at $850 million. By 2002 this figure had decreased about 24 percent to nearly $650 million and another 17 percent in 2005 to $542 million. By 2007 industry shipments declined further to just over $459 million, and in 2009 the industry shipped only $398.3 million worth of goods.

The number of employees also dropped during that time. In 1997 the industry employed 5,673 workers. By 2002 this figure had fallen 35 percent to 3,671, and 2005 dropped an additional 22 percent when the industry reported a total of 2,876 employees. Employment in 2007 was down to 1,730 workers, and the downward trend continued into the second decade of the twenty-first century.

The industry is divided into two categories: inked ribbons and carbon paper and stencil paper. Inked ribbons accounted for nearly 75 percent of shipment values at the end of the first decade of the 2000s and included inked computer (electronic data processing) ribbons, inked typewriter ribbons, and other inked ribbons. The states with the highest number of establishments in the industry in 2006 were California with 15 and Pennsylvania with 12. New York, however, reported the highest shipment values with more than $140 million from eight establishments.

The top industries and sectors buying the products of the carbon paper and inked ribbons industry included businesses buying manifold business forms, state and local government purchases for education and hospitals, exports, banking, libraries, and the retail trade.

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