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Flexo Sustainable : Spring Summer 2009
Greener Pastures Sustainability Stands Out At Forum 2009 T he future is now, and the future is green! That was the attitude of the estimated 1,200 flexographers who came from all over the globe with intentions to innovate, educate, and communicate at FFTA’s 2009 Annual Forum and INFO*FLEX Exhibition, May 3-6. Despite a slumping economy—or perhaps because of it—industry professionals from all levels, representing all segments, flocked to the Disney Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL with hopes of “Navigating the Future of Flexo.” Across three sessions and dozens of speakers several mes- sages shined through: The market will come back. Flexography will thrive, and the tools to for a more ecologically sound operation are readily available. ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT & ELECTRONS Energy costs, environmental sustainability and electron- beam curing came together to form the backbone of the Ink Session on Tuesday, May 5 at 10:30 a.m. Four speakers and two chairs sequentially intoned one very similar message, “Environmental issues will drive printing’s future.” Session chair John laboration between an ink manufacturer, electron-beam curing manufacturer and press manufacturer.” As demonstrated at drupa, press speeds approximate 500 m/min., or 1,640 fpm. Santiago dubbed present-day flexography as “the start of a new technological era.” In doing so, he affixed the “easy but different,” label to EB, and immediately noted that its application reduces dot gain, betters image resolution, and promotes in-line converting. Documentation has shown that the process can save up to 40 percent on energy costs. He assured the audience that wet-on-wet printing entails no curing, results in no volatile organic compound or carbon dioxide emissions and is pollution free. James Ford, Color Resolutions International, stressed the “Eco-friendly packaging is in demand.” —Jose Santiago, Comexi Daugherty of the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers, was the first to make the observation as he opened the discussion in front of some 50 flexographers. It was soon echoed by co-chair Joseph Schlinkert of Color Resolutions International and then voiced in turn by a press manufacturer, student, professor, and two inkmakers. Two hours of remarks honed in on pigments, performance, priorities press speeds and pollution control. Jose Santiago, Comexi, declared, “Eco-friendly packag- ing is in demand.” He further noted that both “green inks” and recyclable substrates were hot properties. Santiago then launched into remarks on what he termed “a revolutionary new technology”—”wet-on-wet” printing. “This technology is real and commercially viable,” he declared. “It represents a col- metrics of sustainability in a presentation entitled “Beyond the Binder.” He pointed out that ink is composed of resins, solvents, colorants and additives, then noted that the greenest alternative in each component class is coming into higher and higher demand. Defining “green” as “tending to preserve environmental quality,” Ford said that he sees sustainability as a growth business. Strategies that printers/converters can deploy or expect to see their peers implement entail simplification of the supply chain and Lean Manufacturing. Both measures are designed to improve pressroom productivity, reduce waste and to some degree promote environmental responsibility. Stephen Postle of Sun Chemical took the role of clean-up speaker as he compared and contrasted water-based and solvent inks. He admitted that solvent has long been king, but maintained that water-based inks are coming into their own. Research, he noted, now credits solvent inks with having better adhesion and dry film, resistance properties. Lamination bonds and handling characteristics were quite similar between the solvent- and water-based options. www. f l e x oma g . c om S P R ING/SUMME R 20 0 9 Su s t a i n a b l e F LEXO 3