Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Certain Prose by Any Other Name Wouldn't Smell as Sweet

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Certain Prose by Any Other Name Wouldn't Smell as Sweet

Article excerpt

Byline: By Rebekah Ashby

Colourful, fragrant or hi-tech, Multichem's North-East-made inks have sparked a worldwide craze, Rebekah Ashby finds.

Smells of lime, lemon, banana and lavender waft around a Northumberland business. You'd be forgiven for thinking they emanate from a fruit shop or beauty parlour, but they are actually from a world-leading maker of inks.

Multichem, which exports its products from Hexham in Northumberland to 33 countries, makes inks for marker pens and whiteboards and was awarded a Queen's Award for enterprise in international trade two years ago.

Now its research and development (R&D) department has come up with scented inks which make a whole room fragrant.

According to general manager Robin Nirsimloo, people around the globe approach it with some strange ideas and Multichem will do its best to comply.

He says: "People do come to us with some wacky ideas but if we can do it, we will.

"Somebody asked us if we could develop an ink for the tags which go in cattle's ears. Now while that may sound straightforward in principle, the problem is if you have animals standing on the fell in Northumberland, then normal inks wouldn't stand up to the elements. We came up with an ink that etches into the plastic and stays permanent. It's the application of the product that's diverse because it doesn't just sit on the surface."

Multichem was founded 31 years ago as a paint maker by George Zibe, who died last year, leaving his son Kaleel to head the business.

Its first products included waterproof roof coatings and heavy-duty protective paints, but its dedication to designing new products saw the development of the first inks that could penetrate polyurethane permanently.

This breakthrough led it to diversify and in the late 1980s the company, which now employs 18 people and exports 95pc of its sales, embraced the challenge of creating whiteboard ink. After four years of refinement the first commercially available whiteboard ink was produced and since them Multichem has concentrated on R&D to maintain its position as a market leader.

Mr Nirsimloo says: "We are having a big push at the moment into China and India. …

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