A Wisconsin printer using flexographic printing equipment was experiencing air balance problems in the printing plant.
Problems included drafts and high energy
bills associated with negative air situations.
Rather than simply addressing the air
deficit with a traditional gas fired makeup
unit, an approach was formulated to
capture much of the energy in the printer
exhaust air stream with Munters air-to-air
The printing industry uses diverse technologies
to produce a wide variety of printed materials
such as magazines and product labels. From
lithography and flexography to screen printing,
the many different printing processes share
some common production and environmental
challenges. Among these are the wise use of
energy, maintenance of good indoor air quality,
and year-round control of temperature and
humidity in the facility.
In the Wisconsin plant, the web presses
required approximately 23,000 cubic feet per
minute (cfm) of air to dry the ink on the printed
material. Air from the plant was drawn into
the presses, warmed by electric heaters in the
presses to about 160°F, and exhausted
to the outside. This wasted energy could have
easily been captured to help increase production
Energy recovery technology like air-to-air heat
exchangers has been used in the printing industry
to improve the overall performance of production
by reclaiming otherwise wasted energy.
There were many benefits to using the
Munters energy recovery system at the Wisconsin
plant. Most importantly, the negative pressure
problem in the plant was eliminated. Gasfired
heaters that were needed to maintain
temperatures in the plant were shut down,
reducing gas consumption and reducing
A major part of the energy savings stems
from the fact that the electric heaters in the
press do not have to operate as frequently. On
a typical winter day, the heat recovery system
raises the 32°F outside air to 98°F and this
preconditioned air is supplied directly to the
presses. Much of the heating of the outside air
had been done with expensive electricity.
Over $80,000 of annual energy savings
make good economic sense. It is also a
responsible step to take in terms of environmental
benefits and conservation of resources.
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