Posts Tagged ‘plates’

  • 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.

  • Next-gen Kodak plates give printers sustainable edge

    Kodak and Heidelberg are giving local printers the ability to keep up their platemaking capacity without sacrificing their sustainability, following the release of the new generation Sonora XP process-free plates.

    The new Kodak plates, which are being distributed locally through Heidelberg ANZ, represent the next generation in Kodak’s platemaking technology, which removes the necessity of chemical processing, speeding up the platemaking process, while maintaining high-quality contrast.

    While the new generation plates were first introduced commercially in April, Heidelberg announced on 30 May its launch of the product in the local market.

    According to John Hatzimanolis, marketing manager of Kodak Australia, the new plates allow printers to have their cake and eat it too – doing away with the chemical process while providing faster and sharper images than many other plates in the market.

    “The main benefit from the improved process-free plate is that it maintains the same good points of thermal direct plates, but it’s got faster imaging and stronger plate image contrast, among other things,” says Hatzimanolis. “Our hope is that the end user benefits from a combination f all the new features, reaping excellent print quality and running a sustainable organisation where they no longer have to make the choice between profitability or their sustainability.”

    Kevin Birch, Heidelberg product Manager – Consumables, says the new generation of process free Sonora XP plates has been popular with customers around the world.

    “We’ve been getting tremendous feedback on the high productivity rates, improved sharpness of the print and the cost savings that customers can realise with the new generation Sonora XP process free plates,” he says.

    For Greg Howse, Victoria’s Signs Publishing pre-press manager, the fewer processes allow a much faster throughput of work.

    “We’ve been able to halve our exposure time with the new generation Sonora XP plates and that’s made a dramatic difference to the workflow,” says Howse. “We’ve literally doubled our output. In addition to the productivity benefits, using the process free Sonora XP plates also means we don’t have to worry about having to clean up chemicals or the related maintenance issues of a wet processing environment. As a result we are very happy with the Sonora XP Process Free Plates”.

    Birch backs up Hatzimanolis’ claim, saying that the new generation Sonora XP plates are based on technology that gives customers the ability move to a process free platform and benefit from the productivity and environmental gains.

    “Everyone is looking to produce work more profitably and the Sonora XP Process Free Plates enable print service providers to ensure quality, and at the same time remove a whole lot of processes and costs from the production chain,” he says. “Removing the need to purchase and dispose of chemicals, reducing water usage and also energy consumption, can deliver immediate savings and reduce your environmental footprint.

    “From a quality perspective the Sonora XP process free plate removes the variables associated with chemical processing and delivers great resolution and sharper print. All round the new generation Sonora XP Process Free Plates is a great, versatile solution that is compatible with all press types,” he says.