It seems that the water crisis in Australia will be with us for
some time yet and water conservation is here to stay.
As we are expected to reduce our water consumption in our
homes, it seems only natural that all industries also look to
reduce their water usage.
Printers have adopted ways of becoming more eco-friendly,
with the use of recycled papers, chemicals that are less harmful to
the environment and reducing alcohol use, but so far water
conservation has not been a major focus. Water use cannot be
avoided in printing, and the majority of the used water becomes
Most of the water used in print shops falls into two
categories - that used for the actual printing process, and the
water used to wash and prepare a press for printing.
Machine manufactures have addressed the washing process by
either switching to wash cloth systems, or increasing the
efficiencies of traditional brush wash ups, thus reducing the
amount of water used. Companies with presses that still use brush
wash ups can also purchase cleansing and filtration systems 90% or
more of the wash solution to be reused. Such systems like
Technotrans Eco-Clean are available from Heidelberg.
Waterless printing can eliminate the need for water in the
printing process, but this comes at a cost, and also makes the
printing process more difficult.
When printing 'waterless', special plates are required and
these can cost up to 3 times more than conventional plates! Also by
removing water, problems with static increase and machine
productivity can drop.
As all printers will know, keeping dampening solutions clean
The dampening system easily picks up contaminants such as
ink, paper dust and chemicals and quickly becomes unusable. As a
result large amounts of water are tipped down the drain when the
solution needs to be replaced.
The remedy is simple and now available from Heidelberg. The
simple inline fine filtration system filters the dampening solution
continuously as the press operates. In field tests at existing
sites show the life of the dampening solution can increase by over
600%, meaning the solution only has to be changed once or twice a
The fine filtration process happens in two stages. Once the
filters become clogged the operator only need to change the filters
rather than dump and replenish the solution. Other benefits
achieved by fine filtration are improved print quality, less down
time for maintenance as well as consistent pH and conductivity
Installing an inline filtering system will not only help the
environment by conserving water, but your plant could actually
become more productive and in turn improve your bottom line.
Lindsay Barnes - Product Manager, Sheetfed
Tel. +61 3 9263 3381