Content Provided by Kodak
Becoming a more environmentally sustainable printer means looking at every piece of the business for opportunities, and more and more printers are setting environmental performance goals and regularly measuring performance in areas such as recycling and water usage. Other initiatives include switching to vegetable-based inks, using low-VOC solvents, and offering recycled paper or paper that has been sourced in an environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and economically viable manner.
Looking at ways to save energy is frequently a first step for a printer when they start a sustainability program, and there are many opportunities here, from lighting to process to equipment. Kodak has long been a leader in providing energy-efficient prepress equipment for printers, and new technology advances with both equipment and plates are providing additional energy savings for printers.
CTP Technology Can Make a Big Difference
The CTP device is often the biggest piece of equipment in the prepress department, so it's one obvious place to look to reduce energy usage in prepress. Printers can reduce energy cost either by running equipment that uses less power or by running the equipment less. Cutting down on unnecessary imaging time, such as remaking plates, is important, but running equipment that uses less power will have the biggest impact.
The latest 4-page and 8-page thermal CTP devices use 400 to almost 8,000 watts while imaging, and VLF devices use up to 12,300 watts for a manual load device, and even more when you add in automation. That's a big range, so let's break down why some platesetters use more power than others. Printers need to carefully consider all the factors to choose a device that doesn't use a lot of power and still provides the performance needed for their business.
Each CTP device uses different technology under the hood--violet versus thermal, electrical motors versus pneumatics for actuators, or a combination, all of which influence power consumption. One important choice is the type of laser imaging system. The swath width is key. Some systems with a greater width only need to spin the drum up to 400-500 rpm, while other systems with a narrower width need to spin much faster, sometimes over 1,000 rpm. Faster speeds increase complexity by requiring vacuum systems to hold the plate down at that faster speed, and the introduction of a drum vacuum system increases power requirements significantly.
Of course, many other designs and components, such as cooling systems, electronics, and power distribution systems, also influence the power consumption of a system.
High-Performance CTP Devices . . . That Don't Use a Lot of Power
Kodak has made it a priority to optimize both power savings and performance. The latest KODAK TRENDSETTER Q400 and Q800 Platesetters use only 770 watts while imaging, a 30% power savings compared to the 2015 model, which uses 1,100 watts, and up to 90% power savings over comparable platesetters from other manufacturers. TRENDSETTER Platesetters have always used minimal power because the drum spins slowly. It can spin slower partly because the swath of the laser is wider than that of other CTP devices. The slow drum speed also makes it possible for the CTP device to use less vacuum to hold the plate on the drum, saving power. For the latest models, Kodak's engineers developed a new cooling system and incorporated the latest, state-of-the-art electronic and mechanical systems to reduce power usage.
KODAK ACHIEVE T400 and T800 Platesetters use even less power, only 400 watts while imaging, a 43% power savings compared to the 2015 model and up to 93% less than other comparable CTP devices.
However, low power consumption doesn't translate to reduced performance. Both TRENDSETTER and ACHIEVE Platesetters offer stable and accurate imaging, several speed options, and a complete range of automation options, including the new multi-cassette unit, which can load up to 480 plates automatically--all with the same low power consumption.
The numbers above represent power used while imaging, and it's worth noting the power being used when the platesetter is turned on but is not actively imaging plates. Many newer CTP devices have a standby mode that uses less power. In standby mode, Kodak's CTP devices can save up to 72% compared to when imaging. For example, the ACHIEVE T400 and T800 Platesetters use only 180 watts in standby mode, down from 400 watts while imaging.
How much energy you save is a result of all the different decisions that you make for your business, and energy savings needs to be considered along with business needs and customer demand. The good news is that new equipment and other technology allows you to save more energy than ever before, while still improving performance.