Posts Tagged ‘Laurel Brunner’

  • Spreading the sustainability message

    We’ve heard it from brands, environmental groups, consumer associations and governments and more recently credit card companies. They are all doing a great job at communicating the need to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions through reduced environmental impacts. But much more could be done and we see a massive opportunity for industry associations to take up the mantra and provide guidelines for their members.

    Print industry associations, publishers associations, author and journalists associations et al, should be doing their bit for the environment. But relatively few have any sort of coherent policy when it comes to supporting members’ aspirations to be more green. Trawling sites online dragged up a few cursory attempts, but it’s clear that many industry associations, say for the newspaper sector or for book publishing, have any solid ideas or guidance for their members. In fact it looks like they haven’t a clue.

    We need sector specific policy statements for managing environmental impact and sustainability and they should cover shared concerns, tweaked to be meaningful for different member interests. All of these policy statements should include an environmental checklist, and should provide a sensible starting point for how to reduce negative environmental impacts. A bit of basic background wouldn’t go amiss either.

    Top of the list should be improving waste management throughout the supply chain, with suggestions for how to meet the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in order to cut waste. For printed newspapers, for instance, there are plenty of options, such as lining cat litter trays, packing precious stuff for storage or transport, papering a wall with favourite front pages, composting, insulation, starting fires and barbeques, sorting for recycling and so on. For books the same ideas apply, but with less perishable content you can also focus on reuse. Share books with friends; donate them to schools, hospitals and care homes; leave a few tomes at local rail and bus stations to help bored travellers to wile away the time; and use them to prop up wonky furniture. They can even be turned into sculptures or some other form of artistic expression.

    The point here is for associations in the graphics industry and its supply chains to take a leadership position, share ideas and encourage members to take ownership of improving print’s environmental impact. The difference could be substantial and might encourage more people to use print instead of electronic media. Knowing that they are using a sustainable channel can make a huge difference to how they invest in knowledge and entertainment. It starts with the three Rs.

    – Laurel Brunner

    This article was produced by the Verdigris Project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps 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, EFI, Fespa, HP, Kodak, Kornit, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.

  • UV-curing inks can double plate use: Brunner

    UV-curing inks can mess with the printing plates and compromise run lengths, sometimes cutting plate durability very substantially, writes printing industry sustainability consultant Laurel Brunner.

    ‘Not an entirely rosy picture’: Laurel Brunner, MD Digital Dots.

    It seems so simple, you invest in new technology that’s got a lower carbon footprint and you’re making a more sustainable choice. And achieving a lower carbon footprint is a lot to do with why companies invest in upgraded digital presses, new computer-to-plate systems and even processless plates, such as Kodak’s Sonora. But what are the knock-on environmental effects of new, more sustainable technologies? It’s a problem not only for technology investments, but for everything we do that is intended to be environmentally friendly.

    In the case of UV-curing litho presses, which generally have interstation curing, the on-press chemistry can vary and this has to be accounted for in environmental impact evaluations. Litho presses have used UV curing for longer than pretty much any other printing method. The science is well-advanced for both web and sheet fed presses and such presses produce many applications on many different substrates. UV-curing litho presses are generally more expensive to own and run than conventional offset presses, but they are considered to have solid advantages that translate into improved margins. Drying is instant with UV curing inks so there are no delays prior to finishing, which can mean a two-to-three-days saving compared to prints printed with oil based inks. UV cured inks stick to pretty much anything and there are virtually no VOC emissions associated with them, so no additional venting is required in the press hall. The prints can be of very high quality and be resistant to mechanical degradation and chemicals. But it’s not an entirely rosy picture.

    UV inks behave very differently compared to conventional oil-based inks, so every production component has to be compatible, including fountain solution and the printing plate. If any of the settings on press are set to run conventional rollers and blankets say or minders use conventional cleaning materials, things can quickly go awry. On press chemistries that are incompatible with UV-curing inks can mess with the printing plates and compromise run lengths, sometimes cutting plate durability very substantially. With hybrid presses, press maintenance and process control is even more important. Some printers we have heard from have experienced a noticeable loss of quality on the plates and have had to replace them after a few thousand impressions. For a job that’s 10,000 impressions long, that’s twice as many plates, and for a run length of 40,000 it’s four times as many adding a load of cost for not much gain.

    This obviously has a severely negative environmental impact as well as a severely negative margin impact. It means more plates, more processing chemistry, more stopping and starting the press for plate changeovers, and additional energy emissions. The moral here is to consider the environmental benefits of a given technology in the wider context of overall system environmental impact and to adjust things so that you optimise both the technology and its environmental impact.

    – Laurel Brunner

    This article was produced by the Verdigris Project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps 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, EFI, Fespa, HP, Kodak, Kornit, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.