Printech Archive
Re: Need Help Reducing HAPs from Gravure Printing

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From: Wayne Pferdehirt (
Date: Wed Mar 18 1998 - 15:10:12 CST

Forwarded reply from Dean Cornstubble, RTI:

Mr. Jaimez,

We recently finished conducting an evaluation of enclosed double
doctor blade systems. Review the abstract below. You can contact me
or Carlos Nunez, EPA, (919) 541-1156 for more information. Also, you
may want to check out the Coating Alternatives Guide (CAGE) or the
Solvent Alternatives Guide (SAGE) for options.
========================================== Dean R. Cornstubble,
Research Chemical Engineer "Research Triangle Institute - Research
that meets needs" 3040 Cornwallis Road, P.O. Box 12194, RTP, NC 27709
(919) 541-6813; Fax: x-7155 ( Visit the Coating
Alternatives Guide at

Flexographic and gravure printing operations use low viscosity,
solvent-based inks that dry by evaporation. Fugitive emissions from
the use of these inks are present in the pressroom and, in many cases,
are uncontrolled. These fugitive emissions are primarily volatile
organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to ozone nonattainment
problems throughout the country.

RTI worked cooperatively with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
to investigate and assess pollution prevention strategies for reducing
fugitive emissions from ink feed systems used in the gravure and
flexography segments of the printing industry. These strategies
include modified, "innovative" ink feed systems.

During this research, RTI performed the following activities:

  Conducted a literature review, contacted equipment vendors, and
conducted site visits to gravure and flexographic printing facilities.
These activities were performed to gather information about printing
processes and traditional ink handling systems, and to evaluate
alternative ink feed systems as ways to reduce fugitive emissions from
printing operations.
  Selected enclosed doctor blade (EDB) systems for further
evaluation of emissions reduction potential and performance. An EDB
system is an innovative ink feed system that contains an enclosed ink
chamber, which reduces fugitive emissions.
  Developed a test plan and a Quality Assurance Project Plan for
evaluating the EDB.
  Arranged for tests to be conducted on a flexographic printing
research press in South Carolina, and during an actual production run
at a gravure printing operation in Pennsylvania.
  Designed and constructed temporary enclosures for capturing and
measuring fugitive emissions during the tests.
  Obtained and set-up RTI equipment for conducting the tests.
  Took measurements and analyzed data to evaluate emissions
reduction from use of the EDB system at both printing facilities.
  Conducted a qualitative evaluation of the effectiveness of an
EDB system that was used in gravure operations.
  Summarized the research results in two reports.

Results from this work will benefit the gravure and flexographic
segments of the printing industry by describing new pollution
prevention technologies, and quantifying the emission reductions that
can be achieved by enclosed doctor blade systems. Research findings
are presented in two reports. The first report, entitled Ink Feed
Systems in the Gravure and Flexographic Industries: Existing
Technologies and Opportunities for Pollution Prevention Evaluations,
summarizes background information gathered about innovative ink feed
systems for gravure and flexographic printing. The second report,
entitled Fugitive Emission Reductions Due to the Use of Enclosed
Doctor Blade Systems in the Flexographic and Gravure Printing
Industries, presents the results of the RTI evaluation of the enclosed
doctor blade system.

Wayne P. Pferdehirt, P.E., AICP
U. of Wis., Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center
610 Langdon Street, Room 529, Madison, WI 53703-1195
Phone: 608/265-2361 Fax: 608/262-6250

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