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FLEXO Magazine : May 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES sustainability goals for your entire operation. To get a true understanding you must consider the big picture. Industry data indicates that the greatest environmental impact that can be achieved by fl exo plate choice is in print production, so the fl exo plate should be chosen to optimize productivity and minimize waste in the pressroom. The next biggest impact is related simply to the number of plates used. Reducing the number of plates used to print a complete job has a direct positive environmental impact. And third, and much less signifi cant, is the contribution made by the platemaking method itself. Most environmental waste is generated on press. These features combine to give printers plates that last longer on press and print consistently throughout the run. ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS Sustainability has been a hot topic of debate over the last year among fl exographic plate manufacturers as the fl exo industry searches for information that makes sense and guidance that allows them to make the correct fl exo plate choices. Confl icting information and complex analyses have done little to answer these questions and have often served to confuse rather than educate. Actually, whether you should choose solvent, thermal or water wash processing for your fl exo plates is not the primary question you should be asking yourself. Rather, you should be identifying how your plate choice can have maximum impact on your Speed to color, minimal setup time and materials, plate life and consistency are key parameters in minimizing this environmental impact. The improved predictability, reliability and consistency that Kodak’s plates deliver enable printers to achieve signifi cant waste reduction in production. To reduce the number of plates used, Kodak’s system enables greater use of process printing, which results in fewer spot colors and therefore typically fewer plates and fewer color changes on press The robustness of the plates allows greater reuse for repeat jobs and longer plate life, reducing the need for multiple plate sets on long runs. Plate processing is arguably the smallest contributor to environmental impact. Kodak believes that solvent processing is the way forward for fl exo for optimum performance and quality and has made the greatest strides forward during the last decade in reducing operator and environmental impact. Kodak’s recent acquisition of certain assets of NuPro Technologies in December clearly indicates its commitment to this sector and allows Kodak to deliver to the industry the latest technological developments in low odor and reduced VOC washout chemistries, as well as innovative solutions for cold solvent recycling that eliminate the need for a distillation process. These steps further reduce the environmental impact of the fl exo plate and the required processing. WHAT’S NEXT? Converters and trade shops using Kodak’s new system are im- pressed with the gains in productivity and effi ciency that they’re seeing today. And the benefi ts they’re seeing today are only the start. Kodak recently added the capability to produce off set plates on the system’s imager, allowing shops that make both fl exo and off set plates to reduce their equipment costs by imaging everything on one device. Stay tuned for more developments coming soon with this sys- tem. Kodak has long been a leading innovator in the off set printing industry, and now that it has set its sights on the packaging segment, you can expect to see some exciting new solutions. ■ ABOUT THE AUTHOR: This article was submitted by Unlike rounded dots, fl at-top dots print the correct size dot with light pressure, and the change in dot size is minimal, even as pressure increases. Eastman Kodak Co. For more information, contact 585-724-7009 or visit www.graphics.kodak.com. www. f le xography. org MAY 2009 FLEXO 29