Page 22 - Print 21 Magazine March-April 2019
P. 22

Process-free Plates
Sunrise for process-free plate making
As the printing industry ‘greens up’, the elimination of chemistry becomes ever more important. Printing plates that do not require chemical development before going to the press are a major development. Rob Mollee explains why the increasing popularity of Kodak Sonora Process Free plates is good news for printing, not only environmentally, but also for a printer’s bottom line.
Process free printing
plates bring a type of improvement that is self- evident. They eliminate a noisome, environmentally
unsound, extra process in printing, one that requires extensive chemistry and water use. Until
now there were mitigating factors working against the move in terms of run lengths, quality and the breadth of printing it could handle. The arrival of Kodak Sonora Process Free plates 12 months ago has changed the paradigm and set the industry towards a process free destiny.
According to Rob Mollee, sales director, Kodak, the move to process free plates makes just as much sense from an economic point of view as from the environmental. Confident in the improved quality and robust performance of Kodak Sonora Process Free plates he pragmatically focuses on the economic benefits to start.
22  Print21 MARCH/APRIL 2019
Above: “A true watershed moment for the industry,” says Rob Mollee
“When you factor in the savings of not using chemistry, and in having to dispose of it, it starts to add up. Then there’s getting rid of the processor, along with its ongoing maintenance costs,” he said. “It all makes up to considerable savings. In fact, the environmental benefits of process free plates are really just the icing
on the cake. The main benefit is that they can save a printer money.
“One of the most obvious benefits and cost savings is eliminating the direct cost of processing chemistry. It’s easy to calculate. Printers only need to look at how much they pay for developer and finisher chemistry on a monthly basis to determine how much they would be saving.”
The cost of the chemistry is a hard cost and easy to determine, but printers are also reducing related soft costs around buying and storing chemistry, such
as maintaining storage space, tracking inventory, placing orders,
and handling containers. It also involves the cost of complying
with the regulations that help keep water, air, soil, and people safe. These vary greatly from state to state and change over time, usually becoming more stringent and complex. Keeping track and putting procedures in place can be a time- consuming and complicated task. Printers who have adopted process free plates are relieved to be rid of not only the costs of compliance, but also the headaches of keeping current with the regulations around disposing of chemistry.
Getting rid of the
An obvious saving in the use of process free plates is the elimination of processing equipment capital costs. Any piece of equipment in an operation is a big investment. Even so-called ‘chemistry free’ plates still

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