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PAC Award Winner-Bronze

A1 Label Inc.

Overview

A1 Label takes a comprehensive and creative approach to environmental responsibility not only for our employees and in our manufacturing but also for our customers. In 2008, the first year of our focus on recycling and waste minimization efforts, we reduced waste to landfill by 44% and were recognized for our achievement by the Recycle Council of Ontario. A commitment to a new waste to energy program beginning March 30th 2009 will reduce A1 Label’s waste to landfill to zero.

Packaging redesign has removed all cardboard from shipments to a major U.S. customer saving shipping weight while all A1 internal cardboard waste is recycled.

Investments in machinery such as capacitor, chiller, and distilling washer have saved energy, increased efficiencies and removed waste. Creativity in redesign from a supplier have allowed reuse to a customer, then to their distribution center and then eventually to their end customer.

Holographic images are usually achieved through the addition of film or foil over-laminates. Recently A1 invested in a license for a patented process that allows holographic images without over-lamination! A more sustainable option of brand enhancement for our customers.

The internal A1 program also recycles paper, cans, bottles, ink pails, printing plates and dies. Investments in efficient lighting save 10 % in energy costs every day while motion sensors in warehouse areas keep lights off until needed. Exhaust from a new more energy efficient central chiller is redirected back into the manufacturing area to provide an alternate heat source in winter. Investments in the physical environment have won A1 first place in the City of Toronto Garden contest in 2007 and 2008 while investment in the design of the environment of the employee cafeteria won recognition for design from American Design magazine.

Working collaboratively with customers has resulted in printing on the adhesive side of the label to remove the back label on a transparent product thereby reducing packaging. Creating an adhesive hinge on the product label has creatively allowed print on the adhesive to be used for an opaque package as well.A1 pays more for the plastic bags which protect each roll of labels. The bags now contain an additive which greatly accelerates the breakdown of the bags if a customer doesn’t recycle and they end up in landfill.

Investments in interactive web based graphics approval software have greatly reduced paper, proofs and couriers. A1 uses paste inks in rotary offset and rotary letterpress print platforms reducing the amount of solvents and liquids previously used in Flexographic printing.

A1 has regularly been recognized by customers, suppliers and converters as one of the cleanest printing plants they’ve ever seen. The cultural environment encourages the A1 team to be responsible for their own working environment.

Recently acquired image comparative software allows A1 to electronically compare set up to proofs to insure text and images are correct before production starts eliminating potential errors before they happen.

Investments in digital prepress removed 100 % of prepress film as we go directly from computer to plate. Further investment in computer to rotary screen making process through laser engraving has increased screen quality and diminished screen waste from the emulsion and film process.

A1 successfully encouraged a customer to change to a polyester release liner which provides more product per roll, less weight in shipping plus the added benefit of liner recyclability when it used to end up as waste.

Shop floor lean teams have successfully worked to reduce set up waste. We apply continuous improvement efforts to our comprehensive quality program. A 17 point sign off checklist before production insures that we “do it right the first time”. Our clients regularly recognize our efforts that result in reduced waste / rejects in their production to well below industry standards. We will continue to use a collaborative approach with employees, customers and suppliers to find opportunities to further understand and limit our environmental impact.

Motivation for Change

A1 Label recognizes the importance of supporting a sustainable future for generations to come. We understand that environmental accountability and responsibility needs to be embedded within the core business strategies to create value. We see three dimensions of business sustainability. Environment: Reduce emissions, reduce disposal, purchase sustainable raw materials. This allows A1 label to operating with as little adverse impact on the future environment.

Marketplace: Introduce products and programs which enable our customers to be more environmentally responsible.

Workplace: Internal programs to which allow A1 to be more aware our environmental impact.

Cost Effectiveness

Recently acquired image comparative software allows A1 to electronically compare set up to proofs to insure text and images are correct before production starts eliminating potential errors before they happen.

Investments in digital prepress removed 100 % of prepress film as we go directly from computer to plate.

Further investment in computer to rotary screen making process through laser engraving has increased screen quality and diminished screen waste from the emulsion and film process.

A 17 point sign off checklist before production insures that we “do it right the first time”. Our clients regularly recognize our efforts that result in reduced waste / rejects in their production to well below industry standards.

Product/service design improvements that will reduce the environmental impacts during use and at end of life.

Performance

A1 Label Insite Graphics System: A1 Label has installed a web based graphics system. All graphic files must be approved by our customers prior to printing. Previously, a paper trail was generated. Printed proofs were produced and couriered to our customer for final approvals. This process may take many proofs to get a final approval. The Insite Graphics system allows users to view, edit and approve artwork on line. This greatly eliminates paper used and also reduces the need for couriers.

Further investment in computer to rotary screen making process through laser engraving has increased screen quality and diminished screen waste from the emulsion and film process.

Investments in digital prepress removed 100 % of prepress film as we go directly from computer to plate.

Recently acquired image comparative software allows A1 to electronically compare set up to proofs to insure text and images are correct before production starts eliminating potential errors before they happen.

Holographic images are usually achieved through the addition of film or foil over-laminates. Recently A1 invested in a license for a patented process that allows holographic images without over-lamination! A more sustainable option of brand enhancement for our customers.

Clean Production

Ink Washing/Distillery: A1 Purchased a new distilling fountain and parts cleaner. This allows A1 to completely eliminate wash up waste inks by distilling the ink on site. Previously, ink wastes were disposed of in Metal barrels.

A1 has regularly been recognized by customers, suppliers and converters as one of the cleanest printing plants they’ve ever seen. The cultural environment encourages the A1 team to be responsible for their own working environment.

A1 Recycling Programs: Metal Printing Plates: All metal printing plates are now recycled. Cardboard From Raw material Suppliers: Many of our raw materials come in Corrugated boxes. All corrugated is picked up weekly and recycled. Blue Box Program: The office environment of A1 Label is now equipped with multiple blue boxes to recycle paper, cans and bottles. Skid Pads: Skid pads are now made of recycled and recyclable paper. Ink Pails: Ink pails are now picked up and recycled by our supplier. Poly Bags: Labels are shipped out from A1 in a degradable plastic LDPE bag for product protection. The bags have an additive that allow it to breakdown in landfill sites.

Effective Recovery

Recycled Skids from Raw Material Suppliers: With both our customer and raw material supplier, we were able to redesign a skid spec. This skid is now used to ship raw material into A1 Label. A1 Label then uses the same skid to ship finished goods to our customer, who then uses it to ship to their distribution center and then reuses it yet again to ship to their customers. The program launched in January 2008.

Degradable Plastic Film Bags: Each roll of labels A1 ships is packaged in a protective plastic film bag. A1 has recently switched to a new bag which now contain an additive which greatly accelerates the breakdown of the bags if a customer doesn’t recycle and they end up in landfill.

Community Benefit

Investments in the physical environment have won A1 first place in the City of Toronto Garden contest in 2007 and 2008

Resource & Energy Optimization

Installation of 400kva Capacitor: The new capacitor regulates all hydro used and decreases amperage needed by the plant. Prior to capacitor installation A1 was only utilizing 84.6% of all hydro consumed. Immediately after installation our hydro efficiencies increased to 96%. Upon initial start-up the capacitor immediately reduced the demand for power by 200 amps. Modernization of Air Compressors: Decommissioned two old air compressors and purchased more energy efficient compressor. The previous air compressor used 100% of its hydro capacity to supply air to all machines in the plant. The new compressor: Operates at 50% of its capacity.

Only needs to be operational 60% of the time has allowed A1 to reduce energy consumption by 50% when compared to the previous air compressor. Centralized Chiller: Chilled water is required by all 9 printing presses in the plant. A centralized chiller was purchased to replace 9 individual chillers that used 70 tons of energy to cool water. The new centralized chiller only requires 35 tons of energy.

Engineers designed the external exhaust from the chillers to be re-directed back into the plant during the winter months. This allows A1 to recycle the warm air back into the building and decrease power usage for heating. Motion Sensing Warehouse Lighting Investments in efficient lighting save 10 % in energy costs every day while motion sensors in warehouse areas keep lights off until needed. Lighting Improvements: All lighting in the plant has been switched over to high efficiency energy light bulbs. Energy savings of at least10% per month have been achieved.

Categories: PAC Award Winner Machinery Facility/Process

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