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Improving energy usage of digital printers

Monday, 06 June 2016
By Laurel Brunner
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At the recent ISO working group meetings for graphics technology, a new standard was introduced for improving the environmental impact of digital production printing devices. The new standard is closely related to the ISO 20690 document for measuring the energy consumption of this sort of device. However, the new standard has a very different target user base.

Laurel Brunner

ISO 21632 still hasn’t got a formal name, but work has already begun to develop it. The document is designed for measuring the energy usage of machines that print very short runs. It follows the same methodology as ISO 20690, which focuses more on transactional work and long run digital printing. ISO 21632 is intended for devices designed to print, say a few dozen page impressions, more or less. These are machines for which the print time is very short, generally under half an hour.

Digital production machines designed for industrial applications or sign and display work often print only a few impressions at a time. However, they may be printing many hundreds of thousands of page impressions per month, so they will use a considerable amount of energy.

Digital printing devices printing only a few copies, the so-called short run engines, will have numerous power surges during the production process. This is no different than the situation for long run printing because every digital printing production run will have power surges. However, if a device is printing for more than thirty minutes, the surge power is a minor contributor to the overall power consumption values.

But for short run work the contribution unstable power usage makes to the overall power usage calculation is relatively high. On a machine printing steadily for an hour or so, the surge values are lost in the overall requirement. Whereas for a machine that prints only for a few minutes, that contribution will be substantial.

ISO 21632 will provide guidelines for how to measure the energy usage in short run printing situations. The document is still very much in the early stages, but work has at least started. Over the next few months the document will be developed, its methodology tested and refined. It is hoped that ISO 21632 will make a significant addition to accurately measuring the energy of large format digital printing devices. This will help manufacturers to benchmark their machines and buyers to quantify energy consumption before they invest. They will be able to calculate the likely return of investment and related cost of ownership calculations with more certainty. Over time these factors will contribute to improved energy efficiency of large format digital printing devices.

– Laurel Brunner

The Verdigris project is an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. It provides a weekly commentary to help printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines.

Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa Graphics, Digital Dots, EFI, Fespa, Heidelberg, HP, Kodak, Ricoh, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.


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