Sonora and sustainability

medium_2015_Laurel B.jpgThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

Awards for sustainability in the graphics sector are not particularly common, and few have lasted more than a couple of years, despite the industry’s need for positive environmental messaging. But since the inception of the Sonora Plate Green Leaf in 2013 awards Kodak has continued to acknowledge customers for their commitment to improving the environmental impact of their businesses. For the 2019 Sonora Plate Green Leaf awards Kodak has recognised 52 printers, an astonishing increase in the number of recipients over the last few years. The programme started in 2013 and in 2016 there were eight winners. This year’s crop of 52 represents a more than 600% increase. That says a lot for the technology, but also for the commitment of printers to improve their sustainability.

The winners hale from around the world and address many different print sectors. Kodak now recognises more than one winner for each geographic region with entries evaluated by members of Kodak’s Health & Safety executive, using a range of criteria. This award is not just about using the Sonora process free plate, but about overall efforts to improve sustainability for the business.

Amongst the winners are Advance Press (Australia); Drukkerij de Bij (Netherlands); Gemini Print (UK); Zühal Ofset (Turkey); Cartocor (Argentina); Primex Printers (Philippines); Tweddle Group (U.S.). There are over 4000 printers worldwide working with Sonora plates of which there are three versions, taylored for the application. The Sonora X can be used in 80% of offset applications and is rated for run lengths of up to 400,000 unbaked on a web press. Sonora X is good for 200,000 impressions on sheet fed presses and 75,000 for UV ink applications including low energy UV curing. The Sonora X-N is a version optimised for newspaper and some publication printing (coldset) and Sonora XP supports FM screening so it’s suitable for printers producing high quality sheet fed work in short to medium runs.

Run lengths are obviously subjective since how long a plate lasts on press depends on the press and its chemistry, image resolution and of course the characteristics of the ink and substrate. However with these three versions of the Sonora process free plate, Kodak covers most print sectors across the globe. This includes long and short run offset, labels and packaging printing, as well as heat set web and newspaper production. Sonora X can be used in UV printing and VLF applications. Kodak now sells one process free plate for every three plates sold and expects to see sales continuing to rise. The company’s competitors in processless platesetting are Agfa and Fujifilm and these organisations are also seeing rising sales of processless plates. Cutting out the chemistry, energy and waste associated with print processing is an easy step for printing companies to take. Let’s hope we see more of them doing it.

– Laurel Brunner

This article was produced by the Verdigris Project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa Graphics, EFI, Fespa, Fujifilm, HP, Kodak, Miraclon, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.

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