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TRIM WASTE RECYCLING — REPURPOSED DOLLARS

June 2006 BY ERIK CAGLE, Senior Editor
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SOME PEOPLE look at paper trim and see scraps of refuse. Others see dollar signs. In an industry where chief execs need to keep track of every nickel coming in and going out, there is no scoffing at opportunities to turn trash into cash.

When printers think of money makers, they think of heavy iron from manufacturers such as Heidelberg, KBA and MAN Roland, the press makers. But there are other manufacturers, such as G.F. Puhl, Vecoplan, Ohio Blow Pipe, Air Systems and Design, and American Baler, that may not have the household name recognition level, but can spur a ROI while those Komori and Mitsubishi presses are churning away in the pressroom.

Recycling and selling trim waste can be quite lucrative for those graphic arts establishments that generate copious amounts of said material. Quad/Graphics, of Sussex, WI, certainly fits that description—if any printer can fill a scrap box with paper scraps, it’s a $1.8 billion annual performer. Quad averages about 1,500 tons of trim per month from press and finishing, not including the process tonnage of signature and white waste, etc., according to Pat Rock, recycling manager for the Sussex plant. That tonnage (total waste is 4,500 tons/month overall) is generated in the Sussex facility alone.

Major Machinery

With increasing business and a paper recycling system that was beginning to show its age, Quad/Graphics decided to embark on an installation of mammoth proportions. North America’s largest privately held commercial printer tapped G.F. Puhl to design and install what is believed to be the largest trim paper collection system in the country, with seven 45-foot-tall cyclones housed in their own 15,000-square-foot facility. Each cyclone is rated at 50,000 cubic feet of air per minute which, according to an executive at G.F. Puhl, is enough to fill one hot air balloon in less than two minutes. The installation included four new high-capacity, auto-tie balers and, all told, the trim collection system encompasses more than two miles of piping.

In determining how big of a system the Sussex plant would need, Quad looked at the balers’ ratings, as well as redundancies. “We always want to have a backup line. That way, when we do maintenance on the equipment, we don’t have to shut down the binder, stitcher, multimailer or flat cutter,” Rock says. “They can run without a hitch or hiccup, and we just keep maintaining the equipment.”
 

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