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FLEXO Magazine : Sustainable Fall 2009
Platemaking YNN/A Comments 1. Is the distance to carry film and plates minimized? Work areas should be designed to reduce the distance and time necessary to hand-carry film and plates around the prepress area. 2. Are employees trained on proper ergonomic handling of plates? Frequent use of the pinch grip can put excess strain on the hands. Carry flexo plates by draping them over hands or fingers. Employees should avoid prolonged torso bending. 3. Are plate processors properly maintained, exhibiting no evidence of leaks, etc? Equipment should be maintained properly to avoid chemical loss, potential leaks of hazardous materials into the drains, injury to employees, etc. Poorly maintained equipment can cost more in the long run due to poor quality product output, etc. 4. Are all plate developing chemicals stored consistent with manufacturer recommendations? Most film processing chemicals are UV-sensitive and should be stored in a light and temperature controlled area where minimal foot traffic puts containers at little risk of damage. 5. Are squeegees or other methods used to remove excess chemicals following processing and washing? Squeegees help reduce drag out" of plate processing solutions. This helps reduce chemical costs as well as minimize the amount of waste solution that must be handled and disposed. There are innumerable products and services out there that can help printers/converters adopt more environ- mentally conscience workflow and ensure that a given operation is in compliance with current health and safety regulations. For seven years, Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association (FFTA) has offered a Self-Assessment for Flexographic Printers. The document is a comprehensive checklist of items in various categories (General and Main- tenance, Product Design, Press Area, Waste Water, etc.), designed to give flexo printers a snapshot of how safe and sustainable their plants are. More importantly, it can highlight areas where improvement is necessary. In some cases, a simple policy change is all that's necessary. Other times, a plant may find it worthwhile to investigate new technologies or enlist the aide of outside services. What follows is an excerpt from the most recent edition of FFTA's EHS Self-Assessment for Flexographic Printers (v2.0). Disclaimer: FFTA does not endorse specific products or methodologies. Technologies referenced in this publication may not always represent the best solution for a given opera- tion. Each facility must evaluate its needs and make the most educated decision, keeping in mind potential environmental, health and safety implications Platemaking Self Assessment How Green Is Your Process? Photo courtesy Flint Group Flexographic Products 14 Sustainable FLEXO FALL 2009 www.flexomag.com