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printreg, December, 2000
RE: Smoke, Odors and alternative inks


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From:GaryJGATF (gjonesprinting@aol.com)
Date:Thu, 14 Dec 2000 00:24:46 EST


Gary: From your question, it is not apparent what type of offset printing press is being used by the printer. Usually in these situations, it would be a heatset web offset press that is not controlled as the "smoke" is actually condensed ink oil. Since the condensed ink oil can exceed state opacity limits under times of heavy coverage printing, a NOV can be issued. Your message also did not specify what the actual observed opacity limit or the state's regulatory limit. This is important as they may not actually be violating the limit. Under most the opacity regulations, water that condenses is not considered a regulated visible emission and can be subtracted from the plume. Heatset web offset dryer exhaust can contain about 5-10% water and if they are borderline, they may not have an actual violation. In terms of solutions, if they are close to the limit, then they might be able to use a soy ink. The ink should actually cause less of an opacity problem as some of the petroleum ink oil is replaced with soy oil, which does not volatilize. However, there is a limit (about 7%) as to how much soy oil can be used in heatset inks as inks with high levels of soy oil will not dry. Typical heatset inks have about 35-45% petroleum ink oil, and I have seen some of the soy inks running about 30-33% for inks printed on uncoated stock. I would definitely have them explore these inks as a possible solution. Water-based inks are not possible as they will not work with a lithographic process. Between UV and EB, UV is more cost effective. The actual cost of converting the press should be less than $1 million and some of the cost factors I have range between $100,000-$300,000 for the lamps. The inks cost about 20% more than conventional ones and new blankets and rollers will be required. UV has other challenges associated with it in terms of production concerns, high maintenance costs, health and safety, and odor concerns. It might be best if they want to explore this approach to contact several vendors to get a more specific price on converting to UV. The odor problem could be directly related to the ink emissions, a result of other chemicals being emitted, or another source. While I know this is a tough question, what does the odor smell like? What other chemicals are they using in their process? Is the odor constant or intermittent? Is there another source nearby that could be causing it? What are the prevailing winds? There have been odor problems that were thought to have been originated by a printer, but were found to be coming from another source. It is worth investigating. 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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