Reducing Environmental Impact with Waterless Printing
Advantages and future potential in Europe’s expanding market
Waterless printing making further inroads in eco-aware Europe
General Manager, Sales Department, Graphics Division, Toray Textiles Central Europe s.r.o.
Offset printing is a commonly used method in the printing industry. Conventional offset printing is a lithographic process that uses large amounts of a water-based dampening solution containing organic solvents or other chemical substitutes in addition to printing ink.
Approximately 30 years ago, the Toray Group introduced the world’s first offset printing technology that worked without dampening water.
The Toray waterless printing process uses a silicon polymer layer on the printing plate rather than dampening water from the press to repel the ink in the non-image areas, thus greatly reducing the emission of toxic substances during printing. Waterless printing also cuts the waste compared to conventional offset printing, where large amounts of paper spoilage occur due to ink transfer inconsistencies at the start of printing runs.
In Europe, waterless printing has until now mainly been used for newspaper production. However, several factors are driving the broader adoption of waterless printing, which increases production efficiency and offers precision printing on paper and non-paper media alike, in addition to its environmental benefits. These factors include the high proportion of small-size diverse printing jobs, the demand for high quality in luxury brand advertising, and the need to satisfy the special requirements for printing on non-absorbent media substrates such as labels and credit cards.
The Toray Group is working to deliver even greater value with waterless printing, going beyond environmental benefits, which are already a baseline expectation in the European market. The Group is developing ultra-precise waterless printing technologies, so that waterless printing can be deployed as the preferred method for other applications such as passports and driver’s licenses, which require very high-quality, duplication-proof printing to prevent counterfeiting.
Waterless technology offers a huge potential in many ways and led to our decision to choose the waterless printing system instead of its conventional counterpart. Paramount is the positive impact on construction and operating costs due to the optimal configuration and design of the printing machines which is raising the efficiency of the operating staff.
The printing machines do not need any lubricants, dampening agent, or water, and a low developer requirement for the printing plates can be cited in pre-press, not to mention the press start-up waste savings. Besides the increased productivity, the high quality of the printed products is another important benefit of the waterless printing system. Several awards received during our long standing membership in the WAN-IFRA International Newspaper Color Quality Club prove us right. Waterless printing also offers ecological advantages and helps save valuable resources such as energy and raw materials. As for our expectations of Toray, we wish to maintain our reliable and trustworthy partnership. As a printing company, we highly appreciate the quality products and the friendly and helpful service Toray provides.
Managing Director Freiburger Druck GmbH & Co. KG