by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Flexo Sustainable : Fall 2012
the benefits may outweigh the drawbacks. The approval window becomes much shorter when physical shipping is no longer an element in the delivery process (also reducing the carbon footprint of the proof), and the limitation of the gamut in an inkjet proofer no longer plays a factor in capturing the full color spectrum of the profile because of the much larger RGB color space of a monitor. ENERGY UTILIZATION Dr. Alexander Wissner-Gross, a physicist and fellow at the Harvard University Institute for Applied Computational Science, caused a stir in 2009, when London’s Sunday Times reported on a study completed by Gross and his team indicat- ing that a single web search produces 7g of CO2. (Google later answered back with a claim that only 0.2g of CO2 result from the servers at Google, with much more coming from the personal computer executing the search.) Regardless, this anecdote illustrates something that often gets lost in discus- sions of data: even electronic data has an impact on the environment. Older computers with outdated motherboards can con- sume much more energy than modern computers. ENERGY STAR has stringent guidelines for both computers (Version 5.0) and servers (Version 1.0), and using computers or serv- ers that meet these requirements can significantly reduce the energy required to process prepress work through the system. Additionally, newer and faster workstations mean more efficiency and fewer complaints from operators trying to execute their work against a schedule. For prepress trade shops that also run a manufacturing operation making plates, sleeves or engravings, energy us- age runs much higher. To effectively analyze the impact that any equipment has on the electric bill, power meters can be purchased and connected to the power supply to effectively monitor power and demand usage. An effective exercise to determine the percent of the operation’s energy usage dedicated to the manufacturing process is to hook power meters to the different pieces of platemaking equipment and total the kWh usage from each over a month-long period, and then subtract that amount from the total kWh usage on the energy bill. With regard to the production of photopolymer, a drying unit and a solvent recovery system account for the majority of energy usage in digitally produced solvent plates. The energy consumed by this equipment — unlike exposure, ablation and washout equipment — has more to do with the opera- tional settings and less to do with the amount of material sent through it. For instance, drying one 42-in. x 60-in. sheet of photopolymer placed into a drying unit on Day One uses about the same amount of energy that drying 20, 42-in. x 60-in. sheets of photopolymer on Day Two would use if the dryer was switched on for the entire time. To compensate for the elevat- ed amount of energy usage per square inch of photopolymer in these areas, plate makers must either run high volumes of material through the equipment or learn to effectively cycle it on or off depending on when it is needed. IMPACT OF PHOTOPOLYMER When photopolymer printing plates are exposed to UV light, the monomers in the plate cross-link and harden into the durable image carriers that we print with on press. Unfor- tunately, this hardening leaves little opportunity for a plate afterlife, other than the landfill, and only recently have some of the major plate vendors been able to offer programs to help responsibly dispose of scrap or used photopolymer. DuPont has partnered with a recycler and created the TR3 Program, where it takes a cradle-to-grave approach in picking up and disposing of a trade shop’s plate scrap, used plates, plate coversheets, thermal developer rolls for its FAST units and all packaging materials. Flint Group offers a program that picks up all plate scrap, used plates and coversheets and ships it to a cement production company that utilize 100 percent of the material in a waste-to-energy conversion. Plate suppliers have differences of opinion about which photopolymer production method (solvent, thermal, liquid or water-wash) produced the most environmentally sustainable option. DuPont, Flint Group and MacDermid Printing Solutions each commissioned their own independent life cycle assess- ments to determine the overall impacts on the environment. Electricity usage monitors can range in size from those used in single appliances and electronics to large meters used for three-phase heavy machinery. They can monitor energy usage and help forecast electric costs. 10 Sustainable FLEXO fall 2012 www.flexomag.com