Printech Archive
Re: Env benefit of waterless printing

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Date: Tue Apr 04 2000 - 10:40:39 CDT


I am not aware of an objective scientific study performed on waterless
lithographic printing as compared to conventional lithography. I looking at
the two processes, there are several areas that need to be focused on
including energy consumption. The other areas include the plate processing
chemistry as waterless is a solvent-based system that can't be discharged to
the POTW and must be sent off-site for treatment or recovery. Waterless inks
contain a higher level of VOC and some of the data I have seen indicate that
they can have up to 40% VOC content. However, some have reported getting
greater mileage from these inks, but mileage comparisons contain a great deal
of uncertainty and are influenced by many factors.

Because fountain solution is not cleansing the blanket, the frequency of
blanket cleaning can be greater thus leading to more VOC emissions. I am not
certain about the recyclability of the waterless plates in terms of the
silicone coating, but they do have an aluminum base.

The above factors are not all inclusive, but at least identify areas that
need to be investigated. I am not aware of any group that has undertaken an
objective study. It is also important to keep in mind that the promise of
waterless has not been met in terms of its widespread adoption. It remains in
more of a "niche" mode due to other production related challenges.

Gary Jones
Graphic Arts Technical Foundation
200 Deer Run Road
Sewickley, PA 15143
412/741-6860 x608 - Phone
412/741-2311 - Fax

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