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FLEXO Magazine : June 2009
FTA TODAY Green Gauges Substrate Session Speakers Talk Eco Impact rintability, sustainability and the all-important link between the two, dominated discussion, with the focal point being substrates; the time span stretching across two full hours; and a total of six speakers expressing their perspectives. Environmental consciousness came into clear view for Forum delegates on hand for the Substrate Session on Tuesday, May 5 at 8 a.m. Session chairs Paul Kearns and Marc Edlein set things in motion as they explained, “A good substrate is the building block to great printing.” Elaborating on the point, they indicated that a package’s function is fourfold: contain, protect, preserve and communicate. Advances in substrates, particularly the technical elements of the paper board and fi lms, they argued will have a profound effect on printers/converters abilities to meet and exceed customer expectations. Most notable is the growing demand for green alternatives and the fl exibility, innovation and dedication required to go green and establish much more earth-friendly printing plants. Malcolm Keif a professor at California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, CA, told listeners that polylactic acid (corn-based) has been the subject of signifi cant interest in recent years. It’s been converted into packaging fi lms and marketed as a compostable, carbon-neutral, renewable resource. Keif reported that Cal-Poly research showed that printability of PLA appeared comparable to other common fl exible packaging fi lms. Providing details and documentation, he indicated that measurements of several variables, namely: dyne, dot gain, tone, density, type, dot shape, gloss, rub resistance, tensile strength and clean print, produced an average score of 2.36 for white PLA ,while clear PLA tallied a score of 2.64. This compared to 2.64 for PET, 3.09 for OPP and 3.82 for OPS. Keif observed that research on the PLA front is destined to continue. Questions to resolve include: What are the ramifi cations of sourcing corn for non-food products? P What is the impact on the world’s food supply? Are the environmental benefi ts minimized when PLA is co-extruded or hybridized with other plastics? Continuing to speak to sustainable substrate options, Nilesh Savargaonkar, Dow Chemical, stated, “Packaging does not create waste, packaging helps prevent waste.” After issuing what some saw as a startling claim, he explained the thought behind it. “A lightweight package is a fl exible package and fl exible packaging by nature reduces post consumer waste landfi ll discharge, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption at the point of manufacture.” Savargaonkar proceeded to compare and contrast the fl exible pouch with other container options across the three prominent environmental concerns. Landfi ll discharge can be reduced by 96 percent when substituting a fl exible pouch for a glass bottle. Similarly greenhouse gas emissions drop by 87 percent and energy consumption in production is decreased 46 FLEXO JUNE 2009 Ranking of Printability Characteristics WPLA CPLA PET OPP OPS Dyne 42 Dot Gain 41 best Tone Reprod. Density Type Quality 1 best 1 highest 1 best Dot Shape 22 Specular Gloss 21 highest Rub Resistance 45 Ink Adhesion 45 Tensile Strength 21 best Clean Print AVE SCORE 1 best 2.36 Source: California Polytechnic State University. by 81 percent. Replacing a box with a pouch, the statistics remain impressive. Landfi ll discharge drops by 68 percent, gas emissions are cut by 69 percent and energy consumption falls 23 percent. Looking to the future and the current efforts developing to “Change the game for the ethylene value chain,” Savargaonkar pointed to the fact that LLDPE can, and will be made from sugarcane. Marie A. Dumontier, Fraser Papers, stressed, “Calculating a plant’s carbon footprint demonstrates environmental leadership.” She also said, it serves as a point of differentiation from the competition and at the same time, sends a clear message to green-minded CPCs and environmentally conscious consumers. That message: Demands are being heard. Actions are being taken. Outlining some of those actions, Jay Sperry Clemson University, noted that printing substrates play a critical role in fi nal color appearance. He advocated development of, and adherence to, a standardized substrate profi le format that would replace ICC and better predict color’s behavior. The point reiterated: Four primary factors infl uence spot color reproduction—substrate, pigment, ink fi lm thickness and TVI (tone value increase).” Kearns summarized what was said, as he offered the following take-aways from Forum 2009’s Substrate Session. Carbon will affect your fi nancial future. Be careful when comparing data. Understand how substrates perform. Experiment and study before moving forward. ■ www. f le xography. org 23 4 2.64 2.64 3.09 5 3.82 1 best 1 best 34 5 23 23 1 best 45 3 34 43 2 25 3 42 3 5 4 5 1 highest 53 2 33
Sustainable Spring 2009