South Australian company, Cutler Brands Pty Ltd, employs 94 staff at its premises in the Adelaide suburb of Kilkenny. Since its establishment in 1946, the company has developed into a diversified operation based on modern screen printing.
The cleaning of printing screens at Cutler Brands generated each year approximately 2,200kg of ink soaked rags. Each printer was required, after each printing run, to clean ink from the screens using thinners. This process consumed considerable time and large amounts of solvent. Ink soaked rags were collected and taken to landfill. Fluids were discharged to the sewer after screening out solids. The annual cost of disposal was about $9,500.
Staff in the screen shop were exposed to solvent fumes and to chemicals existing in an old open solvent reclaiming unit. The use of thinners and traditional reclaiming technology was a serious hazard to staff.
Cleaner Production Initiative
The company's decision to invest in new CPS Ink and Stencil Cleaner technology has increased productivity, improved the work environment, reduced environmental impacts and benefited the company financially.
Screens are now washed in a central area by one operator, cleaned of ink, stains and stencils and fully renovated for reuse. The washing units are connected to the plantís exhaust system offering effective ventilation.
The CPS Ink Cleaner removes ink from the screens without using rags. The recycled screen wash is pumped and circulated from the upper level of the tank ensuring prolonged and improved cleaning. Diluted chemicals are used to make the ink soluble. Recirculation through a filter mat collects larger particles and prevents pump blockages. The solvent tankís conical shaped bottom ensures effective collection of sediments and facilitates removal of sludge.