Climate protection has moved into the mainstream and environmental marketing is an emerging trend, even in the printing industry. The advertising media employ superlatives to get the message across: from "energy efficiency class A++" to "the world's greenest car" and "the most ecological form of overseas transport".
Prestidigitation is the name of the game: a quick "Abracadabra!" and hey presto – the need to save our planet instantly turns energy consumption data into commercial items. What a performance! But sustainable business activities should be defined less by image-burnishing headlines and more by greater transparency in denoting the energy efficiency of the products manufactured.
While virtually every driver knows how many miles to the gallon they can get out of their vehicle, very few printers know how much energy their printing press consumes each year. But just as fuel consumption has long since become a key factor in buying a car, so energy consumption is playing an emerging role in the print production process. Which is why KBA and other press manufacturers have teamed up with the VDMA (German Machinery and Plant Manufacturers' Association) to introduce an energy consumption value for printing presses. This is because KBA firmly believes that transparency is the only way to inspire confidence and gain fresh innovative impulses for the future of the print media industry. While perpetual motion will remain nothing more than a dream, there is not one single press line that cannot be made more energy efficient.
Universal standard essential
How much power does a Rapida 106 consume at 15,000sph? As with a vehicle, there is no straight answer. Imagine you are driving at a steady 90km (56 miles) per hour, uphill and downhill, with a headwind and a tailwind, sometimes with a loaded boot (trunk), another time with just a small attaché case on the back seat. From practical experience you know that numerous factors influence fuel consumption – particularly the constant itch in your gas foot, an urge to which many give way. But weighty extras and climate control can also drive up consumption. So why should it be any different for a press? To avoid having to compare apples with pears, we need a universal standard.
Where printing presses are concerned, comparisons of energy consumption are only meaningful if the same criteria are applied, ie if standardised testing procedures are used. If the values measured are to be both reliable and valid, test conditions and results must be standardised and documented in full. Since each and every measurement is prone to error, multiple measurements must be taken to allow the average to be calculated and the divergence noted. The question is, how realistic are standardised consumption figures?
The fuel consumption data published in promotional literature and catalogues may comply with legal regulations, but have very little to do with actual practice. They are purely theoretical figures based on a uniform measuring system that allows emissions from different types of vehicle to be compared. The same would apply to energy consumption figures for presses: they would furnish prospective buyers with a basis for comparison.
You would like to know precisely how much power your press is consuming? You would like to cut power consumption, but don't know where to start? For all issues relating to energy savings contact KBA, whose experts will use consumption measurements to track down hidden energy guzzlers, offer advice on reducing total energy consumption and provide on-the-spot proposals for enhancing energy efficiency and cutting costs. On top of that KBA also offers "live" demonstrations to calculate order-specific energy consumption in shopfloor conditions. The whole process could not be more transparent. In Germany, small and medium-size enterprises are even eligible for subsidies for enhancing energy efficiency.