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FLEXO Magazine : June 2009
FTA TODAY Greener Pastures Sustainability Stands Out At Forum 2009 A lthough addressed in detail in both the Ink and Substrate Sessions, the topic of sustainability was, once again, a focus of an entire series of presentations at Forum 2009. The Sustainability Session, chaired by Allen Marquardt of Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Doreen M. Monteleone of FTA, included six industry experts speaking on technologies and techniques that could be implemented to improve a printer’s sustainability performance throughout a fl exo facility. Taking place on Tuesday, May 5 at 10:30 a.m., it was stressed throughout that every printing facility is unique and each has to examine its particular operation to determine the best approaches to sustainability. Ian Hole of EskoArtwork presented guidelines to strengthen fl exo’s sustainability performance in packaging design, prepress and platemaking areas. Companies need to set sustainability objectives based on their particular operation, he claimed. Collaboration among package buyers, package designers and producers is key to fi nd ways to “do things right the fi rst time.” Environmental impact can be reduced by right-sizing, virtual prototyping, and online review and approval. Benefi ts may include reducing redundant material layers; material “footprint” of the package; emissions from shipping and transportation; hard copy proofs and delivery to the customer; energy throughout process; time in the process; and cost. An in-depth eco-effi ciency analysis of fl exo inks was presented by John Serafano of BASF Corp. An eco-effi ciency analysis is a strategic tool to help drive toward and measure sustainability. The cradle-tograve assessment included not only environmental, but economic impacts. He presented information on water, solvent and ultraviolet (UV) cured inks, covering production, use and disposal. (Additional details of this study can be found in the upcoming issue of Sustainble FLEXO at www.fl exomag.com). Paul Zeinert of Anderson & Vreeland, spoke about waterwash platemaking systems. He told the audience that dot size made the most difference, not the chemistry that makes the plates. Quality plates reduce the amount of print waste due to unacceptable product. Today’s water wash plates can do more than 150 line screen and work with water, solvent and UV inks. Some of the additional benefi ts of water wash plates include: the solution can be used over and over before being disposed of; dry time is reduced greatly using less energy in the drying process and there are no VOC emissions. 50 FLEXO JUNE 2009 Disposal and handling of solvents has always been a concern of fl exo printers. David Roey of Max Daetwyler Corp. spoke on the topic of safe recovery of contaminated solvents. Some waste solvent generators struggle with the risks of hazardous waste storage and the dangers of transporting hazardous waste. The waste is handled repeatedly increasing the risk of accidental spills or injury to personnel. Replacing the solvent is also costly. As an alternative, David discussed how solvents can be distilled by heating the liquid past its boiling point to create pure, clean vapors using different systems. The vapors are condensed into a liquid state, free of its original impurities. A printer recovering contaminated solvents can develop a self-sustaining process that may reduce overall solvent costs by as much as 90 percent and cut waste disposal costs by as much as 80 percent. Chris Worachek of MEGTEC Systems presented ways that companies that operate oxidizers can reduce their energy consumption by optimizing their equipment and re-circulating exhaust air. More specifi cally, he talked about reducing airfl ows by improving process control and interfacing, thereby reducing gas and electric costs. Airfl ow can be reduced through better air management resulting in reduced demand on oxidizers. Good maintenance and housekeeping is imperative to help systems operate effi ciently. Both equipment effi ciency upgrades and replacement with higher effi ciency equipment are available and reduce energy use. Add-on heat recovery equipment will channel the unused energy to other areas of a facility. The last presentation was a printer case study by Richard Rosenberger of Solo Cup Co. He revealed how his company lowered costs and reduced its sustainability footprint based on the specifi cs of the operation. Solo replaced duplicate aging fl exographic platemaking systems with one that improves effi ciencies, has less of an environmental impact and was less costly to operate. Solo Cup was using three different platemaking technologies to make 18,000 plates each year. The company evaluated the different systems on today’s market and retired 11 old fl exographic platemaking systems in the nine printing facilities, replacing them with nine new, state-of-the-art thermal platemaking systems. By doing so, the company eliminated the need to purge 240,300 gallons of chemically-treated effl uent and 89,000 dry pounds of chemicals annually. In addition, the handling and disposal of 2,900 pounds of hazardous waste was eliminated. Bottom line: $384,918 will be saved each year moving forward. ■ www. f le xography. org
Sustainable Spring 2009