The green connection….

‘Environment-Friendly Printing and Packaging Techniques’, a one-day national conference organised by the Department of Printing Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Avinashilingam University was an eye-opener about how the industry is adopting eco-friendly methods in different spheres.

The conference brought together academicians, members of the printing and allied industries, Printers’ associations across Tamil Nadu, alumni of the department, students from other colleges and also parents.

Exploring how eco-friendly the printing and packaging industry is, the event was inaugurated by Dr. S. Jagannathan, director, Faculty of Engineering. He pointed out how people from non-printing background also have a key role to play in reducing environmental hazards with respect to printing. Each of us is involved in operations such as printing operations, text editing and graphic editing and so on, a day-to-day basis. He added that by adopting simple effective practices of the use of toolbars in software menus, each one of us can contribute to reducing environmental impact.

Dr S Maragatham, dean, Engineering, spoke about the various eco-friendly methods that are already in practice. She also added that this conference could be a chance to identify and work on specialised research topics such as eco-friendly inks for applications on food packaging.

Rajashree Ashok, MD, Autoprint Machinery Manufacturers, Coimbatore, was the chief guest. While speaking about striking a balance between nature and print, she stressed on how the next generation printing community must consciously work towards adopting the go-green policy.

Next-gen innovations….

The conference included a presentation of the contributions of students towards an eco-friendly printing future through their innovations. Most of them had the underlying theme of efficiency and cost-cutting. For instance, a four-colour manual screen printer that caters to small-scale industries, the students replaced the steel frame of the existing machinery with a wooden frame to prevent corrosion and thus early damage to the machine.

Other innovations included dye-sublimation printing technique for mug printing and single roller glue machine, which would cater to smaller printing units, besides a creasing machine.

There was also a live demo by the CADD centre on 3D printing technology and what it’s all about.

But the presentations were not all machines, but also a peek into virtual reality. Students showed a live demo of augmented reality that they had created for various events of the conference.

A peek into the green future

The poster presentation competition for students was based on eco-friendly concepts. The panel of judges were R. Shanmugasundharam, Purandhara Graphics Sales and Services, Coimbatore, V. Lakshmi, MD, Vijaya Lakshmi CADD Solutions, Coimbatore, A. Abhirami, Assistant managing director, Scientific Publishing Services Pvt. Ltd., Chennai and Geetha Janagarajan, Director, Star Color Park India, Coimbatore. The topics varied from using eco-friendly inks to reducing the waste in the packaging industry.

What’s up with the industry?

The conference also brought together various speakers from the industry who threw light on how the printing industry has been adapting itself to eco-friendly methods. The talks outlined basic concepts such as creating an ideal environment for a friendly offset printing (K. Panthala Selvan, UGRA Print consultant, Paper-Pressman Academy, Chennai) and how GOI presses are taking up eco-friendly measures ( M Balaji, technical officer, GOI Press, Coimbatore). S. Narayanan, Deputy Art Director (India Today), Chennai spoke about how environmental awareness has been a part of Tamil Typography over the years. But it would be incomplete without striking a balance between nature and the print-pack industry (Rajashree Ashok, MD, Autoprint).

Technical aid…

On the other hand, the department also hosted a session of technical presentations by students and faculty from various colleges about the green methods in the printing industry. A team from Guindy College of Engineering, Chennai spoke about investigating the shelf life and usability of natural beverage by redesigning the shelf package. The team from MIT, Manipal, took up a presentation that compared the printing colour gamut output using vegetable oil based inks in comparison to solvent-based lithographic offset inks.

There was also a presentation on developing a bio freshness indicator to reveal the freshness of meat to the consumer. This could be an effective method to control the wastage of perishable goods such as meat whose shelf life is affected by temperature fluctuations. Another team from College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai presented an alternate packaging method for laptops which would ensure durability, value addition, reusability and waste reduction using plastic corrugation.

Other presentations included analysing the green printing certifications for the printing industry and also methods to reduce waste in the industry. The papers were judged by L. Ramanathan, Sree Vinayaga Screens, Madurai and Karur, M. Ilango, senior manager, Technova Imaging Systems, Chennai, V. Janakiram, GM- Sales- regional, Graphic Solutions Business, Chennai and J. Gandhimathi, graphic designer, Pavitha Graphics, Coimbatore.

–Janani Rajeswari S

Group Publications