Since then, increasingly stringent environmental, health and safety regulations have added further constraints to the use of alcohol, putting pressure on lithographic printers to limit the release of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). But IPA is only one source of VOCs – others include ink oils, adhesives, coatings and cleaning solvents.
Aside from sustainability issues, however, there are many other advantages to the adoption of alcohol-free printing and, along with the rest of the world, the concept is fast capturing serious attention among South African printers; and this was the topic of a recent seminar held in Cape Town, facilitated by Printech Engineering’s Graham Townsend and conducted by experts from Prisco Europe.
Led by technical expert, Christophe Pieters, the seminar went a long way towards helping local printers understand the myriad benefits to be derived from a move to alcohol-free printing.
A century’s worth of pressroom expertise
While others talk about environmental remedies, Prisco (that stands for Printers’ Service – a company founded in New York in 1900), offers more than a century’s worth of pressroom expertise, supplying products and systems that really work when it comes to reducing the environmental impact of printing operations.
According to Christophe Pieters, Prisco leads the way in helping printers to standardise water quality, to reduce the need for chemicals and to limit emission of chemical waste.
‘We continually seek better and safer ways to improve business through advanced technologies and provide environmentally-friendly solutions to the printing industry,’ he says.
Adds Graham Townsend: ‘Prisco is committed to helping reduce the printing industry’s carbon footprint and minimising its impact on precious natural resources.’ At the forefront of these efforts is a complete line of low- and no-VOC fountain concentrates. Integrating these consumables into the litho printing production process ensures a reduction in VOCs while increasing quality and productivity.
Consumables, however, are only part of the Prisco story. The company’s many complementary products and systems offer serious process enhancements.
One example is the cost-effective FloClear system for fountain solution recycling. This patented technology – a PIA/GATF Intertech Award winner – is a world-leading process for recycling fountain solutions and is in use at printing plants worldwide. Fountain solution life is extended and its clarity maintained for months of press operation.
However, seminar delegates learnt, it all starts with consistent process water, with characteristics that can be relied upon day in and day out. ‘To better manage the printing process, you need this stable platform for your press chemistry,’ Christophe Pieters insisted. ‘Our PriscoTech, MiniFlo and AquaFlo II water processing systems provide just such consistency.’
And, as he went on to underline, there are many quality advances to be gained from alcohol-free printing – it allows the application of a thinner ink film while printing with less water, giving sharper dots, shorter drying times and more consistent colour reproduction – all while saving money and saving the environment.
‘Prisco was the first in the industry to introduce alcohol-free systems in the 1980s,’ sums up Graham Townsend. ‘As the world’s largest provider of low-alcohol and alcohol-free fountain solutions, Prisco and Printech are unbeatable when it comes to helping printers to switch to an alcohol-free environment, no matter which press, plate or ink technology they’re using.’