Snapping up the savings

Kodak Polychrome Graphics, a manufacturer and distributor of graphics arts materials for the printing industry will make savings of £150,000 over the next two years. This follows a wide-ranging waste and water minimisation audit carried out as an added value service by Yorkshire Water. A team from the water company identified measures which were taken away that resulted in immediate savings of £50,000 savings per year being made.

Water is a key raw material at the site in Morley, Leeds, which is Kodak Polychrome Graphics’ third largest plate production plant in the world. Each day the site consumes the equivalent of a small town’s water demand in the production process, mainly for rinsing.

On three separate process lines at the plant, rolls of aluminium substrate, each 5,000 metres long, go through various processes to produce the finished plates. After each process, the aluminium is rinsed with pure, filtered water. A single microscopic blemish or any interruption in the delivery of water could result in the rejection of the finished product for failure to meet Kodak’s high quality standards. It is vital that the water volume and pressure is constant and that the water contains no particulate or impurities.

Water consumption

The project team from Yorkshire water spent a week at the Leeds plant closely examining all aspects of the production process and making a full review of water consumption and effluent disposal routes. The team identified a wide range of opportunities for water reduction, re-circulation and general water management improvements that helped achieve the dramatic and immediate cost-saving of £50,000 over two years.

Kodak Polychrome Graphics also involved staff in the audit. As part of the process, employees were given presentations by Yorkshire Water on the cost of water and the need to find ways of cutting usage without compromising on quality. Following that, staff were asked to submit suggestions. More than 120 supervisors, maintenance workers, quality technicians and operatives came forward and 62 of these idea were put into operation straight away, which helped contribute to the immediate saving of £50,000.

Some of these ideas included using the by-product caustic to neutralise acid before disposal; identifying changes to the solenoid valves that govern the flow of rinse water and recycling the final rinse water.

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