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Greene on Green Printing

(July 2007) posted on Fri Jul 06, 2007

Advances in environmentally friendly imaging technologies are making green printing more accessible. Find out why you should invest sooner than later.


By Tim Greene

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In my last column I described one of the valuable tools I use in my analysis of the wide-format digital-printing market. One of the critical elements of that analysis is the influence of buyers and end customers. Great consideration must be given to what print buyers and end users are trying to accomplish with their wide-format prints. The last two months have seen end users influencing the wide-format-printing market in a very important way regarding the environment. I believe that we are now at what Malcolm Gladwell described in his best-selling book of the same name as the “tipping point” for environmental consideration in the printing industry—a point that’s advancing thanks to print buyers and end users.

One of the companies that I know is betting on the growing demand for green prints is XLprints in Santa Clara, CA. XLprints (www.xlprints.com) is a company founded in 1991 by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andy Lotia. The shop uses several of EFI’s VUTEk wide-format solvent, UV-curable and dye-sublimation printers. It is also a 3M ScotchPrint authorized manufacturer.

XLprints recently launched an initiative called Yield to Green, an effort to introduce inks and media that are significantly better for the environment This means products that are environmentally safer in their manufacture, use, and disposal, including—but not limited to—reduced VOC emissions, increased recycling opportunities, and enhanced biodegradability.

The company has a VUTEk 3360 running BioVu inks and has just taken delivery of a new VUTEk 5330. The company plan to run BioVu inks with alternative media, including some hand-picked from Ultraflex and Dickson Coatings. XLprints is in the process of evaluating other print media as well and is looking for more suppliers that have green products in development. Steve Beard, who’s worked on this for two years and is now responsible for Yield to Green business development, indicated that there are several other major issues for printers hoping to turn green-speak into reality.


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