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FLEXO Magazine : November 2008
INDUSTRY INDICATORS Calvin Frost of Channeled Resources (the 2006 recipient of the R Stanton Avery Lifetime Achievement Award), offered his defi- nition of sustainability: “Best practices resulting in actions and initiatives that rely on recycling, reducing waste and supporting renewable resources.” He informed attendees that, “We generate 50 percent waste in printing.” Much of that comes from liner (35 to 40 percent) and matrix (60 to 65 percent). There are solutions, though, he declared. “All silicone-coated liners are recyclable,” he said, as are PET and PP. In the end, he stated, “You, the converter, must commit to change.” In the session that followed, two representatives from Wal-Mart discussed the firm’s Lean and green efforts. Karen Eshelman, quality manager of the Print, Mailing and Distribution Center (PMDC), revealed results of a case study on waste and sus- tainability conducted between 2005 and 2008. “We knew what we recycled, but we didn’t know why,” she said. The company literally emptied its compactor and asked, “What is this?” Today the Wal- Mart PMDC recycles 70 to 80 percent of its waste, and has sent zero print matrix to the landfill since 2006. The company earns $650 dollars per day in income for its recyclable waste. Its total waste generated has been reduced from 1.34 tons per day to 1.18 tons—a reduction equivalent to one roll of label stock. Marty Vavra, label product manager, followed Eshelman by telling the audience that he came to Wal-Mart from the flexo industry. “The changes in flexo since the mid-1980s have been 18 F LEXO incredible!” In 2004, Vavra said, he started a flexo label operation at the PMDC. “Whenever we got bigger, better and faster, we got more waste.” He encouraged attendees to “empty your garbage cans and look at what you are throwing away.” Vavra added that 3 percent scrap rate on 1 million sq. ft. is a lot. “Waste is money,” he declared. “Automation is where we found ways to reduce waste.” ON THE FLOOR Walking the 400+ booth trade floor, the presence of digital press- es and their branding as a complimentary, rather than competitive technology to flexo and other print processes, could not escape anyone’s notice. Engaging in conversation at a sampling of displays, the likes of Epson, Xeikon, EskoArtwork and Kodak confirmed it, and shed some light on both thought process and rationale. Speed and short runs were seen by many as the critical link between flexo and digital. Compatibility of digital with flexo pre- press programs and proofers, was said to be driving acceptance. “Flexo and digital can share a common workflow, exist side-by- side on the pressroom floor, enhance and expand scheduling opportunities, and bring newfound flexibilities and efficiencies to the operation,” several market observers commented. “Integration between processes is proving successful at creat- ing efficiencies, and generating less waste,” according to major prepress systems providers. One noted tremendous interest in off-the-shelf software that can eliminate the need for comps. NOVEMB E R 20 0 8 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g