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Ecocool Web Press Dryer Makes U.S. Debut

Press release from the issuing company

Heidelberg’s Sunday 2000 web press system at Print 01 includes the U.S. debut of a breakthrough in dryer technology. The GATF InterTech award winning Ecocool is the first web offset dryer with an integrated chill roll section. The revolutionary design improves print quality by eliminating condensation on the printed web. Combining the dryer and chill roll section also reduces space requirements for a web press line by up to 11.5 feet and improves web dynamics. In announcing the winners of the 2001 InterTech Technology Award, judges for the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) said the Ecocool increases efficiency and, more importantly, eliminates condensation that occurs with conven-tional systems. “The result is better print quality and improved productivity,” the judges remarked. The Ecocool dryer was first introduced at Drupa 2000. Four systems have been installed in Europe. The first Ecocool in the U.S. is currently being installed on a new Sunday 2000 press system at E&D Web in Chicago. Up to a dozen additional systems will be installed in North America in the next year. “Web printers throughout the world, especially those producing high-quality com-mercial work, have been quick to realize the advantages of this technology,” said Mark Levin, Heidelberg senior vice president. “The GATF award and the opportu-nity to run the Ecocool live at Print 01 will continue to heighten interest among printers in North America.” Eliminating condensation was the major impetus behind the Ecocool design. In a conventional system with independent drying and chill roll modules, the web exits the dryer at a high temperature and releases solvent vapors that condense on the cold surface of the chill rolls. The Ecocool includes nine small-diameter chill rolls in a stacked configuration. These rolls turn the web at sharper angles, improving heat transfer by creating tighter contact between the web and the rolls. Fluting of the printed web is also temporarily eliminated on the outer surface of the small chill rolls. This further increases contact that eliminates sites for condensation to occur. The proximity of the chill rolls to the dryer exit in the Ecocool, as well as the fact that the chill rolls are spiral grooved. Design features that help to eliminate the layer of air between the web and the chill rolls. Thijsen Rotatiedruk in The Netherlands was the first to install an Ecocool. The company reports excellent results in the elimination of condensation and a reduction in cleaning and maintenance requirements for the chill rolls. “Looking to future investments, a new production line will certainly be equipped with an Ecocool,” according to J.W.W. Thijsen. “We were promised elimination of condensation on the chill rolls, no web wandering and better accessibility of the chill rolls,” according to Jean-Paul Menez of Brodard Graphique in France, another early Ecocool user. “Our experience to date is these promised benefits were realized.”