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Green, Before It’s Time

Green, Before It’s Time

By Suren Petrosyan

We all have a role to play in this technology and manufacturing driven world, and we all have a responsibility collectively and individually to one another to maintain a clean, habitable environment. Technological advances have made it possible and desirable to monitor and measure, the automation and controls, that are critical in becoming and remaining energy efficient and environmentally friendly. And it is not coincident that at the ICMA Expo 2009 in Puerto Rico, two of the veterans of the Association and the industry in general, Al Vrancart and Merrill Martin approached me with the question of what is done and what can be done, as a machine supplier to the industry for developing equipment and services that are environmentally safe and friendly, promote eco-awareness, and get involved in the design with regard to the consequencies to the environment.

At first thought it is obvious that everyone is interested in recycling, energy management systems and efficiency, environmental measures, safety and health practices, and all of the consumers and manufacturers are striving to earn that label “green,” and what we, at APMC offer in that sense. We thought about this a few years ago, and we have been demanded from the consumers then and decided to change our design to include more technological and knowledge advances, to develop more efficient machines and processes, and implement more responsible ways of operating. Since adopting green initiatives, we become more socially responsible and have gained a competitive advantage for us.

There are 3 primary reasons for green movement in our industry. First, the card buyers demand from card manufacturers be more green, and sometimes even demand an audit of how much energy, fuel, water, and other resources a supplier uses and need to show reduction time after time. Second, resources are becoming scarce and expensive, environmental impact of acquiring them and/or disposing of the finished goods. Third, sustainability and energy efficiency make for a better business, driving the cost out of the manufacturing process. This is where we come in as an equipment supplier.

We offer the latest card punching machines in the industry using servo motors for die cutting. Servo motors give a high degree of confidence to track what they are asked to do. This is very important when there are many different types of substrates to punch. As we all know, some of the substrates require different stroke heights, torques, and speeds that cannot be achieved with conventional hydraulic oil driven rams present in punching machines and in contrast, servos perform very well in these cases. Thermal and power management, energy consumptions can be considered as well. Servos run when they need, and when they’re asked to. There is no constant current, oil nor circulation modes. Servo motors generally are very efficient. In any case for any substrate, servos only use the amount of current needed to produce a required torque.

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Typical Servo-Controlled Punching Machine CAR-5HS.

Another improvement is the HCP-A100 series lamination systems. With new advances in the technolgy, maximum productivity can be achieved and stay green. About technological advances, recently we incorporated Gap Filling and Spatially Variant Apodization (SVA) methods into lamination process to have better control and closed loop feedbacks to set point parameters (pressure, temperature, and time) of the lamination cycle, rather than simple reactive basis. In recent models of HCP-A100 we installed Super SVA method were used for more precise control over the key processing parameters. Of course, additionally new materials and new technologies force new considerations in the fundamental process.

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Typical Twin-Stack Laminator: HCP-A100

The latest advances in contactless applications or a presence of any electronics in the construction of the cards require counterbalancing the weight of the assemblies (books) and platens to minimize the force (pressure) on the enclosures until the materials have been softened for safer lamination process. Perfect lamination results – programmable recipe controlled hydraulic pressure ramp, precise temperature settings and times, flawless parallelism of the platens, counterbalancing the weights of books and platens, multiple steps in a single recipe, and production rates should be standard offers for lamination machines. And with series lamination machines we offered automatic recipe generation as well as intelligent recipe control options. Useful attributes to this final offers were the differences between the materials and differences between the same materials from different suppliers. In a way, it can cut short the needed lamination time and make better use of materials, thus cutting the energy use, conserve resources, and reduce material waste.

Green initiative and sustainability affect many card manufacturers operations today. The time has come for all of us to head in this direction. We all need to look at what we can do in our efforts to change our machines, processes, practices, and products to be more efficient and “greener.” ICMA is doing a great job and is heavily involved in green initiatives in its outreach to its members by helping them share their business practices, identifying energy efficiency opportunities and resources, by sharing technological advances, new, more disposable materials, evaluating their individual results. The Green Task Force, launched by ICMA in November 2008, addresses issues concerning to the industry, benefits of environmentally responsible products to the consumer and energy factors in the standard development.