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FLEXO Magazine : November 2008
SOLVENT-BASED PLATE DEVELOPMENT PROCESSINGMETHOD PRINTING PLATE SIZE THICKNESS CONSUMABLEMATERIAL SOLVENT / WEB CONSUMPTION ANNUAL PLATE USAGE Plate Volume = User Benefit (UB) 10 m2 Solvent—87.5% recycling 22.5 l / 1000 µm relief / m2 (for full material removal to relief depth) unpolymerised plate material removed by washing with solvent mixture followed by plate drying and recycling of solvent Solvent Digital THERMAL PLATE DEVELOPMENT unpolymerised plate material removed by heat / PA non-woven Thermal Digital 920 × 1200 mm 114 PA web—20% excess of nominal consumption 11.3 m2 10.000 m2 per processing run (50% material removal of total relief volume) TABLE 1. Consistent base assumption to compare both alternative processes of plate production. / m2 plate / 700 µm relief (plate size 920 x 1200 mm) Solvent Platemaking Eco-Efficiency Analysis Flexographic Products: P 64 ackaging printers feel the public pressure regarding CO2 emissions, global warming, waste reduction and sustaina- bile manufacturing. The branded goods industry, and trading companies in particular, react to the growing environ- mental awareness of their customers and pass on the require- ment for the most environmentally friendly production possible to their suppliers. Flexographic printers/converters cannot, on their own, determine which technologies are really more benefi- cial in this respect. In addition, viable and embracable ecological policies and technologies must also be cost effective. That’s why, earlier this year, the Flint Group Flexographic Products business unit commissioned an Eco-Efficiency- Analysis with the BASF SE company. The central issue of this research was the search for the most advantageous technology for the processing of flexo printing plates, which in the final analysis can be equally convincing in terms of criteria based on F LEXO cost and ecological factors that also reliably realize high quality requirements. In principle, the study amounts to a comparison of processes in which the proven technology of photopolymer plates which can be washed out by solvents and thermal technology, which has been in the flexograhpic marketplace for several years, are compared. As Flint Group was interested in a long-term de- termination of technological development, the company con- sciously chose the complex format of the Eco-Efficiency-Analysis. Ultimately, customers are to be offered the process which is con- sidered superior overall in the future as well. For the vast majority of users of this technology, it was an important confirmation that, in the end, washing out flexo-printing plates with solvents—and with it the prevailing technology—had its nose just in front with respect to ecological factors, but above all, was able to come off better in terms of costs. NOVEMB E R 20 0 8 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g Flint Group