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Litho is changing. What can a small printer do?

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 AM

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Recently a small printing company asked me what they could do to set themselves apart from others and truly impress buyers of print? The printer did not have much money to spend — that was the challenge.

My answer, after a fair bit of thought, was to go green and sell green. Why? Well, let's look at a few observations and facts:

  • It costs little or no money to go green.
  • Most print buyers are young people who are concerned about the environment.
  • It is easier for a small printer to do this than it is for a large printer.

Now, let's look at how we can implement green printing:

  1. Forest Stewardship Council approved papers.
  2. Paper waste — sort and recycle.
  3. Reduce paper waste and all waste.
  4. Wind energy credit for electricity.
  5. Zero VOC sheetfed inks.
  6. No alcohol in fountain solution.
  7. Low VOC wash up solutions.
  8. Reduce energy use — all-fluorescent lighting, etc.
  9. Use chemistry-free plates.

What does this do to print quality?

Print quality can actually go up! CTP — as well as using a chemistry-free plate — brings about dot size stability. The zero-VOC inks now have improved runnability and gloss. Getting rid of alcohol will reduce streaking.

Editor's note:
Ray Prince's “Tech Thought” series appears each month in AP's New Products section. See

Raymond J. Prince is a leading expert in pressroom technical and operational issues. He is vice president and senior consultant, operations management, for NAPL (Paramus, NJ). Contact him at (605) 941-1492 or