It’s been clear for years that digital technology has massively revolutionised the prepress industry. But for some printers and publishers of a greenish hue, prepress and digital process management are also tools for reducing their environmental impact. You may wonder, how so?
The obvious answer is that digital technologies take processes out of the workflow, so less energy and consumables are required and waste is reduced. Computer to plate production does away with the film stage and its associated chemical processes. Going direct to press takes films, plates and their associated chemistry out of the equation altogether. And production runs can be as short as you like because the cost per page is the same for runs of one or one thousand. Preflight checking using specialised software is fast and reliable, delivering production ready files for proofing or print without the torture and cost of trial and error to-ing and fro-ing between service providers and their clients. Traditional arguments for economies of scale no longer apply, so print is now a radically different and much cleaner industry than it ever has been. Now printers and publishers are starting to recognise that a colour managed workflow is a means to further tighten up efficiencies and consumables usage, with the added insurance of print media production that is right the first time.
Many companies are managing colour data to minimise proofing cycles, increasingly relying on softproofing instead of hard copy proofs. Ink saving software is the latest tool for improving cost control and waste reduction. This is by no means a universal innovation. Whereas some systems calculate the minimum amount of ink required on a given substrate to achieve perfect colours, others do not. There are still many printing systems that pour on the ink to get the desired colour result. This may not mean much in the documentation and transaction markets, but it can make a substantial difference in wide format digital sign and display production.
The point about this is that getting it right the first time, whether on proof or press, saves energy, consumables and waste. It also makes for happier customers, customers who are less inclined to bicker about costs because they know their jobs will be accurate and delivered on time. Colour and process management have been the secret and magical preserve of prepress and print for decades. Technology helps to take away the mystique, making the whole business more transparent, efficient and predictable. As with all things environmental, improving your control over production processes helps improve control over your environmental management. This can only be a benefit for the environment and of course can enhance a printer or publisher’s bottom line.
– Laurel Brunner
Verdigris supporters who make the blog possible: Agfa Graphics (www.agfa.com), Digital Dots (www.digitaldots.org), drupa (www.drupa.com), EFI (www.efi.com), EcoPrint (www.ecoprintshow.com), Fespa (www.fespa.com), Heidelberg (www.uk.heidelberg.com), HP (www.hp.com), Kodak (www.kodak.com/go/sustainability), Pragati Offset (www.pragati.com), Ricoh (www.ricoh.com), Unity Publishing (http://unity-publishing.co.uk) and Xeikon (www.xeikon.com)
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