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Agfa pushes sustainability at drupa

Tuesday, 19 April 2016
By Laurel Brunner
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Agfa headquarters in Mortsel, Belgium

The industry’s mega show is an all consuming beast that is already exhausting. There has been an onslaught of previews, announcements and rumour, so much so that we all just want it to be over. Based on what we have heard so far, drupa 2016 will not be remembered for driving conversations about the environmental impact of print. Fortunately for our industry, some exhibitors, a rare few, are making sustainability a key platform at the show. Among these, Agfa has gone furthest so far.

Laurel Brunner

Agfa has been engaged in the environmental impact debate for many years. Along with Kodak and Fujifilm, the company has been pushing uptake of processless plates and has continued to invest in improving this technology. Producing a printing plate direct from digital data collapses the series of processes and the time and costs required in prepress. The imaging of processless plates takes this model one step further. Processless plates require no additional development following imaging, so they save time, processing chemistry and waste handling.

Agfa is putting environmentally friendly processes at the heart of its drupa presence with ECO3. ECO3 stands for Eco-friendly, Economic and Extremely Convenient. It’s a bit cumbersome as slogans go, but the idea is to include the cost of operations and the value of convenience into the eco concept. Agfa is applying its ECO3 concept not just to the Azura line of processless plates. The company is also applying ECO3 to its other products. This will help to raise environmental awareness and supports Agfa customers who are making an effort to manage their environmental impact. This will also help get more attention for the sustainability benefits of process management. Technologies such as Agfa’s Apogée and Asanté workflow technologies and of course colour management, will also benefit from the ECO3 moniker.

drupa will see the release of further Agfa products that fit the ECO3 ethos. These include the Avalon N8-90 thermal platesetter and the new Energy Elite Eco thermally imaged positive printing plate. This plate is suitable for UV and metallic inks where it has a run length of 100,000 without baking. For less aggressive inks it will last for 350,000 impressions and it works for both sheetfed and heatset applications.

ECO3 is a touchstone for Agfa, as the company continues to develop graphics technologies with sustainability and environmental impact in mind. Hopefully there will be more companies at drupa giving sustainability such a high profile. We’ll let you know, if we hear anything more.

– Laurel Brunner

Verdigris supporters who make this blog possible: Agfa GraphicsDigital DotsEFIFespaHeidelbergHPKodakMondiPragati OffsetRicohShimizu PrintingSplash PRUnity Publishing and Xeikon

Verdigris is a industry research initiative that examines the environmental impact of print media.

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