Sign & Digital Graphics

March '20

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1 0 • M A R C H 2 0 2 0 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S items and tips that shops can implement to improve their own carbon footprint. Suppliers Addressing Demand "The demand for more eco-friend- liness is being addressed in a few ways. The obvious ones are better manufac- turing practices and materials," reports Michael Maxwell, senior manager at Mimaki USA in Suwanee, Georgia. "However, some manufacturers such as Mimaki have improved efficiencies on the equipment side resulting in an eco-friendlier platform. Features such as Mimaki's Core Technologies not only lower costs and improve throughput, but are also better for the environment. As an example the Nozzle Check Unit decreases waste by ensuring that the printer is actually producing a drop of ink. This device reduces the potential for wasteful reprints that require more ink and material." He says with global warming and the environment needing as much help as possible, shops need to research new products on the market as they look into fabricate eco-friendly signs using media, printers and recycling. "Print service providers interested in more ecologi- cally friendly production should look for products that address and reduce waste. Printers that minimize production pit- falls and require lower power consump- tion are a great way to start." More Sustainable Options Available Mark Rugen, director of product mar- keting and education at Mutoh America, Phoenix, Arizona, says some trends seem like they are more continuously develop- ing ideas from over the last few years. "For example, paper manufacturers are continuously developing better recycla- ble papers. With that said, print manu- facturers are developing compatible inks. Many print manufacturers are also care- fully developing machines that use less power or have power-saving features as well as inks with lower volatile organic compounds that increase both environ- mental and human safety," he explains. "Let's also talk about the power to run the wide-format printer. Using 110 volts instead of 220 volts saves energy for everyone. Also, developing inks that require less heat to cure can mean less power used and again that saves in many ways." "Users might be tempted to turn off the printer when not in use, but this could be detrimental to the environ- ment. How? Well, when a printer is off, the internal cleaning mechanisms for printheads are also off. That can result in failing heads. The user would then do more ink nozzle checks and cleanings, wasting inks that then must be disposed of properly. Besides, there is a possibility that a printhead could fail due to non- use and that means once again disposal and replacement. Both causing greater damage to the environment than simply leaving the power on so that internal cleaning is continuous," Rugen adds. Sustainable Materials Kevin Duffy, vice president, sales & marketing at Vycom Corp. located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, says there are a number of eco trends particularly in the media category. "Speaking strictly of rigid media, eco-friendly graphics can include material content/construction and/or post-use recycling. Regarding content/construction, performance plas- "Print service providers interested in more ecologically-friendly production should look for products that address and reduce waste," says Mimaki's Michael Maxwell. Image courtesy of Mimaki USA. Vycom's Celtec line of foamed or solid PVC sheet products generally contain around 20% of post-industrial recycled material. Images courtesy of Vycom Corp.

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