Content Provided by Kodak
On February 28, 2018, Kodak executives presented the 2017 SONORA Plate Green Leaf Award to winners from the U.S. and Canada at the Kodak headquarters in Rochester, NY. The award recognizes printers that are leaders in sustainability initiatives in the print industry and is named for KODAK SONORA Process Free Plates, known for yielding dramatic environmental and economic benefits for customers without sacrificing quality and output.
Congratulations to Alcom Printing and Mitchell Press for winning the 2017 award! Below are excerpts from interviews with the two companies.
Alcom Printing--U.S. Winner
Alcom Printing, based in Pennsylvania, provides integrated solutions for print, direct mail marketing, and business development solutions. The company is focused on continuous improvement projects such as converting to controlled LED lighting throughout the facility, recycling of virtually all materials used in print production and overall operations, and installation of a complete energy efficient IT infrastructure.
Kodak asked Douglas Yeager, Chief Operations Officer of Alcom, when they first got started with its sustainability program and what made them switch to process free plates:
On Alcom's sustainability program:
If you think about it, printing companies have focused on sustainably for a long time. As an industry, we've been recycling the byproducts of our manufacturing process for their value. For Alcom, a real turning point came when the Printing Industries of America came out with the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership certification process. As we reviewed the program, we realized that we already met many of criteria, so we decided to pursue the full certification and ended up becoming the 13th printer in the United States to become SPG certified.
From that point on, we began to accelerate what we were doing in this area as a core part of how we operate our company. It is what we do day to day, not because we are forced to do it, but because it makes sense for our business and is driving down our costs. Alcom's commitment to the environment is robust and as vigorous as our commitment to customer service and the quality of our products.
On the switch to process free plates:
As part of our continuous improvement project, we had been aware of the process free plate technology, and we decided to test it out with the goal to replace all our processing equipment. After testing the plates, we were immediately convinced it was the right decision to make the switch to SONORA. Our plates are now 100% SONORA, which has sped up our plate making process. It goes from plate making to rolling right up onto the press. It was a relatively easy process to make the change with no challenges for our team. The result is an improved operating environment, a faster pre-press operation, and the benefits of reducing our environmental footprint!
Mitchell Press--Canadian Winner
Mitchell Press is a high speed, premium quality, commercial printer based in Vancouver. They recycle the full gamut of materials, including paper, ink, cardboard, wood, and plastics. They also collect key data on projects to aid their clients' efforts to track their environmental footprint, paper usage, distribution, and transport data. They have advanced HVAC and IT systems that save energy, and they donate electronics and other materials to charities.
Kodak asked Scott Gray, VP Sales and Marketing of Mitchell Press, to comment on sustainability and SONORA Plates:
For Mitchell Press, we simply believe it's just the right thing to do. We've taken the mindset that green should be part of our DNA as a company. As we built our new 64,000-foot facility, we made a clean break from the past. Our previous facility was an old cookie factory from the early 1900's. From the start, sustainability was a critical factor in our design plan and how we operate the facility today.
It was built with exceptionally high building standards including among many features, a thermal roof liner, intelligent energy consumption and hyper-efficient workflows. Scrubbers ensure we emit virtually zero VOCs from our facility. Our afterburners use solvents from the printing ink as fuel, enabling us to consume less gas and still destroy 99.9% of the volatile organic compounds. Right now, we are on a 3-step journey to becoming a carbon neutral operation. Last year we began that process in earnest when we hired our first full-time sustainability coordinator to start counting and measuring everything we are doing that is sustainability related.
On SONORA Plates:
The impetus came from a challenge we were facing with plate consistency and run lengths with our process plates. We decided it was time to test some new plates and our Kodak rep broached the idea of including SONORA amongst the test group. We were a bit skeptical but thought it was a good idea to evaluate. When we ran SONORA, we could not believe how well it performed. And we challenged the plates under harsh conditions. For example, we tested it with 100% uncoated, post-consumer recycled paper that is very coarse with a 300,000-run cutoff.
We went through two sets of plates, and the color quality and stability were rock solid, and the fit and register were tight, and the balance on press was excellent. Of course, the benefit of zero water going into or out of the system was huge! The whole experience was a real "ah ha" moment for our team. After that experience, we moved all our plates to SONORA and have not looked back. Our operation produces an average of over 2 billion publication pages per year, so the environmental and productivity improvements we see from SONORA are tremendous.
Kodak will be accepting entries for the 2018 SONORA Plate Green Leaf Award starting in September 2018.