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Flexo Sustainable : Spring Summer 2009
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 find ways to “do things right the first time.” Environmental impact can be reduced by rightsizing, virtual prototyping, and online review and approval. Benefits 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-efficien- cy analysis of flexo inks was presented by John Serafano of BASF Corp. An eco-efficiency analysis is a strategic tool to help drive toward and measure sustainability. The cradle-to-grave assessment included not only environmental, but economic impacts. He presented information on water, solvent and ultraviolet (UV) cured inks, covering production, use and disposal. (See page 10 of this issue for the complete study). Paul Zeinert of Anderson & Vreeland, spoke about water- wash 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 benefits 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. Disposal and handling of solvents has always been a concern of flexo 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 specifically, he talked about reducing airflows by improving process control and interfacing, thereby reducing gas and electric costs. Airflow can be reduced through better air management resulting in reduced demand on oxidizers. Good maintenance and housekeeping is imperative to help systems operate efficiently. Both equipment efficiency up- grades and replacement with higher efficiency 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 “For most applications, water is a viable candidate. It can decrease the environmental impact, while still providing the same quality dry film that your packaging customer deserves.” —Stephen Postle, Sun Chemical 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 specifics of the operation. Solo replaced duplicate aging flexographic platemaking systems with one that improves efficiencies, 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 flexographic 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 effluent 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. n Ranking of Printability Characteristics WPLA Dyne Dot Gain Tone Reprod. Density Type Quality Dot Shape Specular Gloss Rub Resistance Ink Adhesion Tensile Strength Clean Print AVE SCORE 4 4 1 best 1 highest 1 best 2 2 4 4 2 1 best 2.36 Source: California Polytechnic State University. 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 5 CPLA 2 1 best 4 2 4 2 1 highest 5 5 1 best 2 2.64 PET 1 highest 5 3 5 2 1 best 4 1 best 1 best 3 3 2.64 3 2 3 3 3 5 2 2 4 4 3.09 OPP OPS 3 3 2 5 4 5 4 3 3 3 5 5 3.82