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Energy Efficiency: One Size Doesn't Fit All

Analyzing power usage in the print industry isn't as simple as it may seem.

In the world of wide-format digital print, the early days were heralded with some triumph in terms of overall energy reduction when compared with many analog counterparts. But this attitude was swiftly rescinded when considerations, such as drying, were factored into overall productivity. Although the process steps were fewer and lower energy levels were accomplished by the removal of some traditional prepress and finishing practices, the cost of running even a modest machine could be relatively high print-for-print. As a result, organizations specializing in energy efficiency were quick to appreciate that there is no “one size fits all” umbrella that can be used to generalize actual power usage and the methods available to bring practical reductions into daily use. Part of the problem has been the difficulty when attempting to evaluate energy measurements, such as voltage bearing and kilowatts per hour, so that they sit in a blanket format that suits every device. To add to the difficulties, practical operation of a machine on a regular basis can throw out very different numbers than those often claimed by manufacturers on promotional literature. These can vary widely and, rather like the claims made in the automotive industry relating to miles per gallon, there are many factors that can alter the reality in a practical set of conditions, so that the sifting of fact from fiction can be a nearly impossible task.

Read "Energy Efficiency in the Printing Industry" and "Energy Efficiency: A Closer Look at Textile Printing" for an expanded discussion of practices and problems that face PSPs.

Read more from our March 2016 "Running the Tables" issue.

View more from this Big Picture issue