Heidelberg Pushes "Eco Printing"
Environmental issues are playing an ever greater role in the
For a number of years, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG
(Heidelberg) has been working on solutions for press development,
production and utilization that will limit the consumption of
resources, reduce emissions and cut wastage.
The ambitious end-to-end concept that Heidelberg has
developed is proven in practice. Ever since the company-made
environmental protection a key business aim in 1992, this crucial
issue has become increasingly important. "After all, we have a
responsibility to the environment, to our customers and - in the
long term - to the next generation," explains Dr. Jürgen
Rautert, Management Board Member responsible for Engineering and
Development: environmental portal drives standards
Heidelberg is the only company in the industry to focus
on delivering a comprehensive, carefully conceived and integrated
solutions portfolio that covers the entire printing process.
"We are confident that a truly holistic approach is the only
way we can effectively lessen environmental impact," stresses
Rautert. This approach incorporates all the key stages in a press'
life cycle, in other words, not just the printing process itself,
but the production and development of a press too.
Last year, to push ecological factors higher up the agenda
when designing and developing new presses, Heidelberg joined forces
with the Darmstadt University of Technology to develop an
intranet-based environment portal. Developers working on a new
inking unit, for example, can use the portal to search a
comprehensive database and extract the environmental requirements
relevant to their work. Moreover, they can also feed their own
environmental protection know-how into the database, where it can
be used in the medium term as an example of best practice. The
portal is to be launched shortly and has been designed to anchor
environmental protection in the very first stage of the product
life cycle - a stage that is also crucial for shaping the future
and driving standards forward.
Production: environmental certification at all sites in Germany
When it comes to manufacturing presses, Heidelberg
strives to ensure that its in-house production processes are as
energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. For a
number of years, environmental standards at the company's German
sites in Heidelberg, Wiesloch-Walldorf, Amstetten, and Brandenburg
have been certified to the widely recognized ISO 14001 standard.
Heidelberg also employs environmental officers at all production
and development locations.
Heidelberg sites log a whole range of key environmental data,
including their consumption of electricity, gas and water and the
volume of waste they generate. This data is regularly sampled and
analyzed by both internal and external specialists. A management
review is also carried out on an annual basis, when all relevant
issues are closely scrutinized and the potential for further
improvements and savings is discussed. It is worth noting that,
over recent years, key environmental data at several Heidelberg
sites has improved significantly, despite a clear growth in
production. For example, the foundry in Amstetten (Southern
Germany), which is an energy-intensive plant by nature, succeeded
in reducing its consumption of natural gas for each metric ton of
output by 30 percent and cutting water consumption by 20 percent -
all in just one year. This end-to-end environmental philosophy also
incorporates the suppliers for each site, who need to meet similar
environmental standards to Heidelberg.
The printing process: paper and power consumption are not the
The wide range of technical solutions built into
Heidelberg presses help print shops to improve the environmentally
friendly credentials of their production processes in a variety of
ways. Indeed, the "Green Printing Catalog" from
Heidelberg boasts a total of more than 50 different measures.
The printing process utilizes a whole range of different
resources - paper, power, inks, alcohol, cleaning agents, water and
powder. In terms of their output, presses generate alcohol,
cleaning-agent and powder emissions, as well as paper waste.
"By developing pioneering new technologies, Heidelberg has
succeeded in ensuring that resources are used in a much more
efficient manner and that both waste and emissions are cut,"
The most striking results are the reductions achieved in paper
consumption. Heidelberg offers two innovations in this area - the
Prinect workflow product family and, for small format presses, the
Anicolor short inking unit. When used together, the Prinect
Prepress Interface, Color Assistant and Inpress Control solutions
enable print shops to cut paper waste by 1.8 million sheets per
year, thereby saving five percent on the amount of paper they need.
This in turn means that 200 fewer metric tons of CO2 are released
into the atmosphere. A significant proportion of these paper
savings are achieved by lowering startup waste. In small-format
printing, it is the Anicolor short inking unit that has the
greatest impact. When used in conjunction with Print Color
Management, this device can in many cases cut startup waste to just
ten percent of previous levels.
The second major resource consumed during the printing
process is power. The majority of power savings can be achieved
through peripheral equipment, an area where the "Star"
product family marketed by Heidelberg is delivering ever better
results. The new high-speed turbo radial blower of the AirStar 3000
air supply system means print shops can cut the amount of power a
press uses for air generation by 30-40 percent. This leads to
savings of around 40,000 kilowatt hours a year and 20 metric tons
of CO2. When it comes to ink, using the InkLine automatic ink
supply system enables print shops to cut ink residues - and
therefore consumption - by up to four percent, which in our example
equates to two metric tons per year.
The use of alcohol in dampening solutions is becoming an
increasingly important issue. Compared with all other
manufacturers, Heidelberg offers the widest range of presses that
use dampening solutions with well below the average of eight to
nine percent alcohol, or indeed run without any alcohol whatsoever.
This also helps to dramatically reduce emissions of volatile
hydrocarbons, which are harmful to both health and the environment.
Similar emissions reductions can be achieved by using high-boiling
cleaning agents in cloth and brush washup devices. Heidelberg is
the sole manufacturer to develop such devices in house and use them
on a large scale. During drupa 2008, the company will be exhibiting
further presses that deliver alcohol-free printing processes.
There have also been significant improvements affecting waste and
powder. In our sample case, using improved filtration systems can
help to cut the volume of waste water that needs to be disposed of
as special waste by around three quarters. The PowderStar AP 500
also applies powder more efficiently to the printed sheet, cutting
powder consumption by 50 percent. And, last but not least, the
CleanStar ventilation system cuts fine dust emissions in the
pressroom to a fraction of the statutory limit.
The winners: the environment and customers
In the end, cutting consumption is not just beneficial
for the environment - it also helps to reduce print shop costs. If
we add together all the potential savings made possible by a
six-color Speedmaster XL 105 with coating unit, they enable the
print shop to reduce yearly operating costs by a good five percent,
or approximately 210,000 Euro. However, these savings are not just
reflected on the balance sheet - they also help to boost the print
shop's image. When placing orders, large customers in particular
will in future lay far greater store by the importance a print shop
attaches to environmental protection. "That is another reason
why Heidelberg is certain that investment in environmental
protection is not just worthwhile for the environment, it also pays
for itself very quickly" sums up Dr. Jürgen Rautert,
Management Board Member responsible for Engineering and
Input/output analysis of a press using the example of a
XL 105 six-color press with coating unit and dryer.
Image 1: Wiesloch-Walldorf
The Wiesloch-Walldorf site has operated a certified
environmental management system since 1998 and has been certified
to the international ISO 14001 standard since 2001. Almost all
Heidelberg sheetfed offset presses are assembled here, on an area
the size of 88 soccer fields.
Savings that can be made through green printing.
Image 2: PowderStar AP 500
The PowderStar AP 500 - shown here in the delivery of the
Speedmaster XL 105 - reduces powder consumption by 50 percent.