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Printing with the Environment in Mind
Posted by: Flaire Print Communications
The folowing case study was originally published by AGFA Graphic Systems in 2005.
Raising the Printing Bar
Company: Flaire Print Communications
Type: Commercial Printer
Size: 17 employees
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Minnesota Printer Supplies Quality with a Conscience
Every morning when they head to work, Mark and Mike Kuzma
think of the two most important things they must do during
the course of the day: one, they try to make their company
better; and two, they try to stay ahead of the competition. The
Kuzma brothers head up Flaire Print Communications – Mark’s the
president and Mike’s vice president of production – a mid-size
commercial printer with 15 employees, based in Minneapolis,
Minnesota. The company specialises in business stationery and
collateral marketing materials, along with digital printing.
For some, the idea of being an earth-friendly printer is an
exercise in futility – one cannot be friendly to the earth if
one’s job is to produce reams of print for as many clients as possible.
The Kuzma brothers, however, have found a way to provide high
quality print for their clients, but in a way that helps keep the
earth – and their consciences – clean.
Keeping it Clean
The Kuzmas and Flaire Print Communications strive to be as
friendly to the environment as possible. In addition to being
members of traditional printing industry organizations, Flaire is
a member of the Printing Industry of Minnesota’s (PIM) “Great
Printers Environmental Initiative,” which requires area printers to go
beyond the minimum environment compliance regulations. The
company also uses soy inks and participates in “Clean Air
Minnesota,” which is a partnership of local businesses,
environmental groups, and others to help reduce air pollution.
The company proudly explains its membership and participation
in each of these environmental initiatives on its web site
When it came time to move from a film-based workflow to
CtP, the Kuzmas set out to find the best and most
appropriate CtP system for their business. With a passion as
strong for the environment as they have for printing, they
realised that Agfa’s :Acento with :Azura chemistry-free
plates and :Sublima XM screening was the best option for the
company. :ApogeeX, Agfa’s advanced digital workflow solution,
guides the process.
It should come as little surprise that Flaire was the first
in Minnesota to use the :Azura system. For the Kuzmas, the
elimination of developer gave them another reason for their
clients and potential clients, who also have an appreciation for
the environment, to choose Flaire over the competition.
“We are trying to get all the print buyers to consider us,
not only for our exceptional quality and service, but because of
our care and concern for our environment. We are always trying to
better ourselves and the elimination of developer was critical to our
decision to go with Agfa’s CtP system,” Mark Kuzma said.
:Azura is a grained and anodised aluminium thermal plate
that uses patented ThermoFuse technology to physically bond
images to the plate without any chemical processing. A clean-out
step follows the non-ablative imaging process to enhance
contrast. The result is highly stable and predictable thermal imaging,
without any com-promises on press. :Azura plates offer high
quality (2-98% dots on plate) imaging for printers using 2-, 4-
and 8-up formats.
:Azura and its ThermoFuse technology allow printers to
eliminate water and developer from the CtP process. As a
result, the :Azura system can be environmentally sensitive
and quite beneficial to a printer’s bottom line. For example,
with :Azura, a typical 4-up printer would only use a small
container of gum per month, versus traditional CtP systems that
use thousands of gallons of water, devel-oper and finisher. This
could save printers thousands of dollars each year.
Printing with earthly concerns is a relatively new
phenomenon, according to Paul Gutkowski, who serves as
PIM’s safety and environmental services director. For now,
while the trend is first starting to gain steam, print buyers
still first look for quality in their printing products. When it
comes to choosing one printer from an-other, with all else being
equal, most print buyers would choose the one who showed concern
for the environment.
“Flaire Print Communications has been leading the way when
it comes to fulfilling the requirements of our program,”
Gutkowski said. “Systems such as Agfa’s :Azura create less
pollution in the environment and help to create a safer working
environment for a printer’s employees.”
When Flaire sales representatives talk to print buyers
about their prepress operation, they now have an entire
package to sell. With :Azura, Flaire offers high quality
printing with fast turnaround times. Helping the environment
is a bonus.
"Our pressman tells me that the :Azura plate is the best
he’s ever worked with," Mark said. “We are always trying to
go a step beyond to stay competitive. Our new Agfa CtP system has
us at a whole new level and we aggressively sell those
differences to our customers.”
Flaire’s CtP quality has gained significant recognition
among its customers and the community. The company recently
won a Gold Award from the Central Minnesota Craftsmen Club of the
Central Minnesota Print Professional Association for a piece that
was printed with :Sublima on a :Galileo. Mark expects awards to
be rolling in from his work using the :Acento with :Azura and
:Sublima, as well.
“Sublima is absolutely great. I personally see the difference,” Mark said.
At the end of the day, the Kuzma brothers can leave the
office knowing they have performed excellent service for their
customers and done their part to make the world a better place.