|Manufacturing Process||| Print ||
Throughout the manufacturing process, Brown utilizes innovative and creative technology to reduce our environmental impact. From 2003 to 2009 we increased production while reducing air emissions by 38%. Highly automated state of the art presses that are equipped with closed loop color, ribbon control, and registration controls allow for faster make-readies, reducing waste substantially. Our advanced file ripping system calculates ink key settings relaying ink density information directly to the press through our press network. This process presets ink key levels allowing presses to get up to color faster, reducing make-ready time and waste. All chemicals used in press wash-up are monitored by our Environmental, Health, and Safety Department. The chemicals used are continually evaluated and we request and test products that have lower volatile organic compounds, less hazardous air pollutants, and are friendlier to both the health of our employees and the environment.
Continual investments to upgrade infrastructure and equipment have lead to tremendous reductions in raw material use and power consumption. For example, the chiller units on all of our presses to set the ink run on a “free” cooling chiller in the winter. Water is pumped to the roof instead of a refrigeration unit where it is cooled naturally. These systems save over 2.4 million kWh per year, which is equivalent to the energy used to power 225 homes for a year.
We have installed high tech regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTO) at all our facilities. The RTOs “scrub” away volatile organic compounds created during the drying process on press with over 99% efficiency. During heavy loads, the RTOs go autothermal, using the volatile organic compounds to fuel the system, eliminating the need for natural gas to run the system, saving over 315 million cubic feet of natural gas annually. The RTOs in our Woodstock, IL facility have also been retrofitted to collect heat from the system in the winter, utilizing it to heat the plant. This alteration allows for savings of over 900,000 kWh per year, or enough to power over 80 homes for a year.
Brown has networked the air compressor systems within all its plants, dramatically increasing the efficiency of the system and reducing power consumption by 5.2 million kWh per year. Variable frequency drives that allow fans for waste disposal in the bindery to be adjusted for different load requirements have led to savings of over 500,000 kWh per year. Both these technologies sharply decreased power consumption and together account for enough energy savings to power over 580 homes per year.
Whenever possible, Brown works to recondition and reuse consumables before recycling them. In our Woodstock, IL facility, we are able to recondition and repair printing blanks 3 times before they are recycled. Brown also runs regular landfill stream analysis in each plant to assure that all materials possible are recycled instead of land filled. Our Waseca, MN facility currently operates with 0% landfill waste, with 97.8% of materials being recycled and 2.2% going to beneficial fuel programs. Company-wide, total waste from our facilities that does not go to a program of beneficial use is 2.5%, which is a program to be proud of.
Brown has also joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership, an innovative collaboration between the EPA and the freight industry designed to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution. By improving our freight operations and environmental performance, Brown will contribute to the partnership's goal of reducing 33 to 66 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and up to 200,000 tons of nitrogen oxide per year by 2012.
Most recently, Brown became an Energy Star Partner. This voluntary partnership with the EPA fights global warming by working to improve the efficiency of buildings and facilities. In addition, Brown signed up for the Energy Star Challenge in 2009, which is a national call-to-action to reduce the carbon footprint of America’s commercial and industrial buildings by 10% or more. To date, we have achieved a 7.5% reduction in our footprint, and will meet the 10% goal in early 2010.