How to: Saving Resources in a Software Company
Some printing industry sectors face greater challenges in saving resources than others. Software companies, for example, are part of this. In its Circular Competence series, the VDMA has shed light on how inspection systems can help in this endeavour and why that’s important for customers, too.
How can the printing industry contribute to reducing the ecological footprint of packaging and other printed products? The VDMA is examining this question and interviewing companies from the sector in its “Circular Competence” interview series. In the last edition, Eyec GmbH was on hand to answer questions. The supplier of software-driven inspection systems for prepress and pressrooms does its best to promote environmental standards and resource efficiency, although there are limited opportunities for resource conservation within the company.
EyeC saves resources wherever possible. For example, they use energy-efficient computer hardware for inspection systems and smart lighting shutoffs to reduce power consumption during unused hours. The building has also been optimized for energy savings with LED lighting and green power. Recycled paper, digital brochures and a public transport ticket for employees complete the company’s environmental efforts.
Inspection Systems Support Resource-Saving Production
EyeC also saves resources outside its own headquarters. The company’s inspection systems detect even the slightest errors and quality deviations before, during and after the printing process. In prepress, this control can prevent faulty templates from entering the printing process. This step saves paper, ink, energy, machine and working time.
A defective operation can still be stopped on time if camera systems detect deviations during processing. Temporary defects can be localized and documented more precisely, enabling flaws to be reduced in the long term. Where usually entire batches are discarded and reprinted in the event of defects, early detection helps to pinpoint the affected sheet or section, which can simply be removed from the process. As systems work faster and faster, this kind of troubleshooting would be impossible for a human to manage:
“Especially when it comes to foreign-language documents and complex graphics, inspection technology is far superior to the human eye. […] Today’s speeds in web and sheetfed printing are too high for the human senses,”
says Dr. André Schwarz, Marketing and Documentation Director.
Identifying defectively embossed, finished, folded or trimmed copies can also save resources in post-press. Here, early defect detection within the production chain can save paper, cardboard, printing inks, finishing foils, and even energy.
Increasing Demand for High-Quality Products
The increasing demand for resource-saving solutions from customers is pushing the company’s research and development forward. A significant part of this increased demand comes from globally active brand-name companies that follow an environmentally conscious course. However, customers not only attach importance to environmental protection but also want to cover their high-quality requirements.
“Whereas in the past a safety margin of a few metres was left when cutting out a defective roll section, today it is a matter of centimetres. But even the smallest quality deviations, which were often waved through in the past, are now detected, and sorted out by our customers.”
But not only the own interest in high-quality standards is important. Branches such as the pharmaceutical and food industries have to follow strict legal regulations, which are easier to check with control systems like those from EyeC. Plus, reducing waste, misprints, and errors in downstream processing saves customers money and time. Fewer errors also mean more satisfied customers. So EyeC can also reduce conflicts with them through their systems. On top of that, it also benefits the environment:
“And ultimately, we all benefit because the same printing performance is achieved with a significantly lower ecological footprint.”
Working Together to Raise Environmental Awareness
Companies in the printing industry are already working hard to become more environmentally aware and resource-efficient. Nevertheless, support from the legislator is essential. Since the process world of the printing industry is heterogeneous and the global markets differ on several levels, EyeC sees little point in individual measures. Funding for innovations focusing on resource protection and comprehensive efficiency targets would be the better way forward. Financial incentives could also be helpful, but the most important thing is to promote the interest that already exists and continues to grow:
“But the growing quality requirements, the goal of avoiding unnecessary costs caused by errors and the globally increasing environmental awareness are already directly intertwined in our market today – and are driving the development of the printing industry in the right direction. This message must be spread worldwide.”
Consequently, everyone in the printing industry – companies, buyers, and government – should join forces to promote the goal of a sustainable and resource-saving industry.
While at first glance, it may seem that there are few opportunities to save resources in certain companies, such as software companies, there are always ways and methods. In which areas of the printing industry do you still see the potential for expansion and hurdles for resource savings?