IKONICS Corporation

2017 Annual Report

Through processes based in photochemistry, abrasive etching, chemical etching and other technologies, IKONICS participates in a diverse spectrum of markets. From traditional and high-tech screen printing, to decorative and industrial etching.

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4 1997. IKONICS' quality function goal is to train all employees properly in both their work and in the importance of their work. Internal records of quality, including related graphs and tables, are reviewed regularly and discussions are held among management and employees regarding how improvements might be realized. The Company has rigorous materials selection procedures and also uses testing procedures to assure its products meet quality standards. Research and Development and Intellectual Property The Company incurred costs totaling 4.0% of sales, or $689,000, on research and development in 2017, and 3.7% of sales, or $647,000, in 2016. In its research program, IKONICS has developed ultraviolet light-sensitive chemistries used in the manufacturing of screen print stencils, photoresists for abrasive etching and acid resist and prototyping ink jet fluids and ink jet receptive films. The Company has a number of patents and patent applications on these chemistries and applications. There can be no assurance that any patent granted to the Company will provide adequate protection to the Company's intellectual property. Within the Company, steps are taken to protect the Company's trade secrets, including physical security, confidentiality and non-competition agreements with employees, non-disclosure agreements where applicable, and confidentiality agreements with vendors. Over the past few years, the Company has directed a larger portion of it research and development resources towards industrial inkjettable fluids and ink jet receptive substrates along with dye sublimation films. The Company has also invested significant resources for personnel and equipment to develop proprietary products and techniques for the etching of composite materials, industrial ceramics and electronic wafers. In addition to its patents, the Company has various trademarks including the "IKONICS," "Chromaline," "IKONICS Imaging," "Precision Abrasive Machining," "SmartFlex," "PhotoBrasive," "AccuArt," "Nichols," "image mate," "Alpha FlexTrace," "Alpha MicroCap,", "DTX" and "SubTHAT!" trademarks. Raw Materials The primary raw materials used by IKONICS in its production are photopolymers, polyester films, polyvinylacetates, polyvinylalcohols and water. The Company's purchasing staff leads in the identification of both domestic and foreign sources for raw materials and negotiates price and terms for all domestic and foreign markets. IKONICS' involvement in foreign markets has given it the opportunity to become a global buyer of raw materials at lower overall cost. The Company has a number of suppliers for its operations. Some suppliers provide a significant amount of key raw materials to the Company, but the Company believes alternative sources are available for most materials. For those raw materials where an alternative source is not readily available, the Company has contingency raw material replacement plans. To date, there have been no significant shortages of raw materials. The Company believes it has good supplier relations. Competition The Company competes in its markets based on product development capability, quality, reliability, availability, technical support and price. Though the screen printing market is much larger than the awards and recognition market, IKONICS commands significantly more market share in the latter. IKONICS has two primary domestic competitors in its screen printing film business. They are larger than IKONICS and possess greater resources than the Company in many areas. The Company has numerous competitors in the market for screen print emulsions, many of whom are larger than IKONICS and possess greater resources. The market for the Company's abrasive etching products in the awards and recognition market has one significant competitor. IKONICS considers itself to be the leader in this market. There are significant competitors, using different technologies in the new markets being entered by the Company. The primary competition for AMS is from other machining methods, most of which are well established. The primary competition for DTX comes from old, well-established technologies based on wax and screen printing and new competition from laser technologies. Government Regulation The Company is subject to a variety of federal, state and local industrial laws and regulations, including those relating to the discharge of material into the environment and protection of the environment. The governmental authorities primarily responsible for regulating the Company's environmental compliance are the Environmental Protection Agency, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District. Failure to comply with the laws promulgated by these authorities may result in monetary sanctions, liability for environmental

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