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FLEXO Magazine : Sustainable Summer 2010
www.flexomag.com SUMMER 2010 Sustainable FLEXO 9 simple procedures; inventorying of inks, substrates, solvents and other items can be controlled and waste minimized. To avoid having to dispose of unused materials, a number of in- ventory control practices are discussed in the inventory section. ENERGY & EMISSIONS Sometimes seen as insignificant when compared to the social, economic and environmental impacts of press opera- tions, opportunities in prepress should not be underestimated. The prepress section of the new EHS chapter covers the grow- ing number of opportunities that offer users a chance to lower impacts on workers and the environment, often while lowering overall costs and improving efficiencies. Beginning with design and moving through platemaking, it is possible to reduce ener- gy, emissions, waste, materials and natural resource use. Each business, however, will select and prioritize these opportunities based on their unique needs and requirements. The anilox roll precisely controls ink delivery. Since a great deal of raw materials can be consumed and waste generated during the color match and makeready process, the proper se- lection and condition of the anilox rolls is extremely important. The extensive anilox roll section covers how to optimize anilox use to minimize waste. In addition anilox cleaning is critical to the performance of the anilox rolls, so the environmental impli- cations of anilox cleaning were thoroughly covered. Ink metering systems remove excess ink from the anilox roll surface, allowing the cells on the anilox surface to precisely deliver the proper amount of ink to the plate. The benefits of closed chamber systems to reduce environmental impact during operation and cleanup are discussed. CHEMICAL INTENSITY & VOC CONTROLS Printing is a chemical intensive process and the chemical use section is one of the most extensive. A major environmen- tal impact of solvent-based systems is the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are precursors to ozone air pollution, a health hazard. They are also a fire hazard. Us- ing products with fewer VOCs and minimizing the overall use of solvents is important to environmental success. Although water-based materials have less VOCs and are less flam- mable, there are still handling and waste considerations that flexographers needs to be aware of. Finally, radiation-cured systems, although lower in VOCs, have important handling and disposal issues, including the curing lamps. The efficiency with which a printer matches color and at- tains acceptable print quality has a huge effect on raw mate- rial consumption, as well as the volume of waste produced. The makeready waste section highlights how documentation, process optimization, and standardization, can reduce a printer 's environmental impact. Evaporated VOCs must be controlled to meet the require- ments of the Clean Air Act, as developed by the federal government and regulated by state and local agencies responsible for implementation. A section covers the various emission control options that the solvent-based flexo printer may use to reduce VOC emissions into the atmosphere. They include regenerative thermal oxidizers, catalytic recuperative oxidizers, thermal recuperative oxidizers and even biofilitra- tion. Permanent total enclosures and their EHS implications are also covered. There are numerous ways to reduce the energy consump- tion in a manufacturing facility, many of which can be quite costly, but provide significant savings over time. The energy section highlights areas in a facility where a printer may reduce energy and manage lighting and equipment. The sec- tion also provides a discussion of energy production options. ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP & SUSTAINABILITY Incorporating water-efficiency programs is an effective way for a facility to reduce operating costs by saving on electric power, gas, chemical, and wastewater disposal expenses. By implementing water-efficient practices, a facility can convey an image of stewardship to its employees, customers, and the general public because it is helping to conserve water resources for future generations. Minimizing use of water makes environmental and economic sense. Each manufac- turing process is unique and this section discusses ways a facility can examine water use and make positive changes. When considering the multitude of elements of a sus- tainable printing operation, the facility itself should not be overlooked. Whether during new construction or remodeling, more and more green technologies are available for en- hanced energy and water efficiency, enriched ambiance and reduced consumption of natural resources. Sustainable solu- tions are incorporated into construction materials, landscap- ing and building maintenance. Employee health and safety is a key element in the sustain- ability triad (People, Planet & Profit). The health and safety section offers information on how to comply with the OSHA regulations that printers tend to violate, as well as the most common safety programs and tools printers can use. Those tools include: • Job hazard analysis. • Personal protective equipment program (PPE). • Hazard communication emergency plans,. • Flammable materials storage and handling. • Machine guarding and lock out/tag out. FP&P 6th Edition will provide forms to be used in conducting evaluations of a facility. Additional health and safety subsec- tions include recordkeeping, reporting and posting; ergonom- ics hazards and solutions in the prepress, pressroom and post press areas of a facility. The final section covers heat hazards in a typical flexo facility. In summary, the new EHS chapter in Flexography: Prin- ciples & Practices, 6th Edition, takes a holistic approach, covering best practices that can be used by any flexographer on his/her own sustainability journey. Editor’s Note: Flexographic Technical Association/Founda- tion of FTA and FTA's Training Education and Services Team (TEST); with the support and commitment of an extensive, highly experiences cadre of expert volunteers, is engaged in a far-reaching and comprehensive update of one of its flag- ship textbooks: Flexography: Principles & Practices. Release of the 6th Edition is set for late 2010. More than 50 people, split into 12 teams are diligently preparing the text and all accompanying worksheets. FLEXO and Sustainable FLEXO, along with the Association's Inside the FTA Newsletter will present regular updates on work-in- progress. Teams/topics entail: Design, Ink, Substrates, Process Control/Quality, Process Color, Mounting and Proofing, Envi- ronmental Health and Safety, Prepress, Plates/Platemaking, Presses and Press Equipment, Barcodes, and Industry Size, Scope and Historical Perspective.