Meeting The Demands Of Quality And The Environment
Purchases should reflect the turnaround time needed by your ink and chemical supplier to meet your needs. Price advantages based on quantity are of little value if the ink or press wash will stand on the shelf for months or years. What comes in as a good product can only leave as a printed product or a waste—possibly a hazardous waste in the case of chemicals/inks.
Computer programs can often be helpful in minimizing changes in inks to meet color standards. Mixing inks by formula to match accepted standards and doing this in the amount needed for the job can provide additional profits for the print shop. Poor color matches only waste time and materials. Too often, they can get into the system and result in rejection of finished products—not the best way to make a good impression on your parent organization.
Where Are We Heading?
Cleanup of inks with fairly heavy-duty solvents is responsible for considerable exposure and concern by the community and the environmental agencies. The air emissions and the hazardous wastes resulting from these cleaning solutions trigger adherence to strict federal and local regulations of all types. But hope may be on the way.
Work is being conducted on strong pigments that will be incorporated with an aqueous base, capable of being mixed to match colors in the same manner as paints in a local paint store. These inks will be capable of being washed from the press rollers and parts by a water-based cleaning solution. Elimination of the typical hydrocarbon solvents from the pressroom washes will keep most printers from having to comply with air and hazardous waste regulations.
The key to this development will be the introduction of new resins that will make it all possible. With considerable research and development of resins to accommodate waterborne flexographic and gravure inks, the design of a water-compatible resin for offset should be feasible.