Green Printing: Perception vs. Reality and the UV Edge
Frustrated with the premature failure of UV printing blankets compared to conventional printing blankets, a group of experienced professionals in the UV printing industry—including chemists, consultants and a high end UV printing plant (that agreed to host the trial and error testing)—formed a dedicated research and development team. Their goal was to develop a UV blanket rejuvenation process.
After four years of beta testing and significant funding, the team developed a rejuvenation program, which is currently patent pending. The resulting specialized technology, which was awarded a PIA/GATF InterTech Award in 2007, is sold throughout the United States, Canada, and Asia under the brand name Enviro Image Solutions (EIS).
Printers who subscribe to the EIS program are reporting that their blankets are being refurbished four times on average. Additionally, they assert saving of over 65 percent of the cost of new blankets by embracing this refurbishment program.
During the test phase, a UV printer sends 10 spent printing blankets to EIS. The blankets are rejuvenated and returned to the printer at no cost. The printer uses the rejuvenated blankets for self-assurance that the blankets print like new ones.
Once a successful test is run, EIS provides a transport cell, which safely stores and protects approximately one hundred spent blankets. Once the cell is full of spent blankets, the printer ships it to EIS’ facilities in Canada.
Accompanying the returning rejuvenated blankets is a report indicating the number of times blankets have been rejuvenated and suggesting corrective measures to further improve the rate of rejuvenation. EIS works with each printer to maximize savings and environmental benefits as part of the program. Some printers post these reports in their pressroom or employee lounges as educational tools.
Printers indicate that these reports have proven beneficial not only because they pinpoint hidden costs that otherwise go unnoticed, but also because, once issues are corrected, can help to increase production efficiency.