The Converting Curmudgeon
The official AIMCAL Web Coating & Handling Conference USA 2016 mobile app is now available for download to iOS and Android devices. The app has everything you need to navigate your way through the upcoming event Oct. 9-12 at The Peabody in Memphis, TN. Install it to have full access to the detailed guide to 100+ technical presentations and 75 tabletop exhibits, and social media functionality. Scan the QR code below for quick and easy access.
A new study by Trucost finds the environmental cost of using plastics in consumer goods and packaging is nearly four times less than it would be if plastics were replaced with alternative materials. The study, based on natural capital-accounting methods, measures and values environmental impacts—such as consumption of natural water and emissions to air, land and water—which are not typically factored into traditional financial accounting. The study was funded by the American Chemistry Council.
Previous reports, such as “Valuing Plastics” (2014) by Trucost and “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics” (2016) by the World Economic Forum, examined only the environmental costs of using plastics.
Trucost’s latest study, “Plastics and Sustainability: A Valuation of Environmental Benefits, Costs, and Opportunities for Continuous Improvement,” builds on earlier research by comparing the environmental costs of using plastics to alternative materials and identifying opportunities to help lower the environmental costs of using plastics in consumer goods and packaging.
These significant results disrupt a common misperception around plastics. Trucost found that replacing plastics in consumer products and packaging with a mix of alternative materials that provide the same function would increase environmental costs from $139 billion to $533 billion annually. That’s because strong, lightweight plastics help to do “more with less” material, which provides environmental benefits throughout the lifecycle of plastic products and packaging.
The study also concluded that the environmental costs of alternative materials can be lower per ton of production but are greater in aggregate due to the much larger quantities of material needed to fulfill the same purposes as plastics.
In addition, the report’s authors recommend steps to help further reduce plastics’ overall environmental costs, such as by increasing the use of lower-carbon electricity in plastics production, adopting lower-emission transport modes, developing even more efficient plastic packaging, and increasing recycling and energy conversion of post-use plastics to help curb ocean litter and conserve resources.
I was able to help Pillar Technologies celebrate its 50th anniversary on Wednesday during a special open house event at the supplier’s headquarters in Hartland, WI. About another 60 visitors took part over the course of the day in plant tours and a presentation on the latest developments in induction-sealing, and corona- and atmospheric-plasma surface-treating systems.
Here’s a quick rundown on the newest technical advances Pillar has come up with.
Check out these photos from the plant tour.
I joined about 250 other attendees yesterday at the PCMC Impact 2016 event in Green Bay for the unveiling of the Fusion C printing press – the latest addition to the firm’s Fusion Series of equipment. The “C” stands for Compact, and that certainly is true as the 10-color, 42-in. gearless, servo-driven CI-flexographic press measures only 44 ft long by 24 ft wide by 15 ft tall.
Two different print runs at 1,000 fpm were demonstrated with a CI-drum cleaning and print-sleeve exchange performed during the changeover. Details of the 8-color backside print job on 75-gauge OPP film include four process, three spot colors and white using 175-line-screen image and ITR plates from OEC Graphics and INX solvent-based inks. Harper Corp. of America anilox rolls were 1,200-line / 2.0-bcm for CMYK, 1,000-line, 2.2-bcm for orange, violet and green, and 400-line / 6.0-bcm for white. Flint Group provided the plate sleeves.
Other specs on the Fusion C: Standard print-repeat range of 12-30 in.; prints solvent, water, UV and EB inks; runs film, foil and paper substrates. The compactness of the press allows easy changeover of the bottom eight print sleeves from ground level; operators need to use the staircase only for the two top print sleeves. The Fusion C also features PCMC’s Vortex HP automatic wash-up system that cleans all decks in only 4 mins; and the Flextreme high-velocity, air-impingement dryer that uses 50% less air as well as renewable electric energy via regenerative power braking. Other Premium Sponsors at the event were Filmquest Group, 3M Co., Taghleef Industries, Klockner Pentaplast and Rossini.
The Impact 2016 program also included a print demo on the 42-in. Fusion Board press at the PCMC facility. A zero-speed splice of the paperboard substrate was performed during the 1,000-fpm press run via its integrated Martin Automatic unit. The press itself features Meech static control and web cleaning, Enercon Industries corona surface treating, AVT 100% print inspection and AccuWeb guides.
My Thoughts: It was interesting to note the latest stage in the evolution of CI-flexo printing as demonstrated at PCMC. When I first wrote exclusively about the converting industry back in 1995, 8-color presses were nearly unheard of, let alone 10-color. And the dryers and the gears and motion-control technology of that era made CI presses more cumbersome compared to the new Fusion C. PCMC says it chose a 42-in. web width for the C because it meets the most apps for the markets the press is aimed at. Going much wider would kind of defeat the point of a really “compact” press.
Mark A. Spaulding
The Converting Curmudgeon is a regular reality check into the true value of all that impacts the management, marketing and growth of your business.
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