First Certification to ISO 20690 (Determination of the operating power consumption of digital printing devices)

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SwissQPrint, a leading manufacturer of large format digital printers, has achieved certification within a few months of the document’s publication. SwissQPrint is the first in its field to declare its energy efficiency data according to ISO 20690
SwissQPrint, a leading manufacturer of large format digital printers, has achieved certification within a few months of the document’s publication. SwissQPrint is the first in its field to declare its energy efficiency data according to ISO 20690

As certifications go, this is probably not desperately exciting to most people. But to the people behind the document (including me), it is very exciting indeed, especially since SwissQPrint, a leading manufacturer of large format digital printers, has achieved certification within a few months of the document’s publication. SwissQPrint is the first in its field to declare its energy efficiency data according to ISO 20690.

Establishing energy efficiency was one of the major drivers in the development of ISO 20690 and it is very much hoped that other companies in this sector will follow SwissQPrint’s lead. Ideally we will have energy consumption data for multiple printing engines, provided using a common means of calculating it. That means using the standard based on work initiated by FOGRA, the German print industry association. It’s not coincidental that FOGRA also provided SwissQPrint with its certification, but mercantilism is what keeps such organizations in the black. Being in the black means they are all the better able to support their members. ISO 20690 explains how to measure the electricity a digital production press uses, based on various typical machine combinations including Best Quality and Best Productivity. This is a standard for the printing device, so it doesn’t apply to individual components such as the fans or compressors. The energy usage information of individual device components is obviously interesting to manufacturers. But it’s less interesting to printing companies who want to know the overall energy requirement of a device. The energy calculation is important for cost of ownership calculations and for working out the overall carbon footprint of the device and the prints it produces.

SwissQPrint worked with FOGRA to establish that, according to FOGRA’s tests, the Nyala large format printer has ‘excellent’ energy efficiency. This is a spongy qualifier, however FOGRA has made the data available on its website so it can be compared with other evaluations. ISO 20690 requires that a report is produced as part of the certification process. The report must state the energy efficiency of a tested device defined in square meters per kilowatt hour. FOGRA will have produced a report that covers in great detail how the Nyala was tested because the standard requires a summary of the basic device details. This includes its configuration and set-up for various production modes, measured power usage and energy efficiency, plus any additional information relevant to the evaluation process. Ideally it should be possible to replicate the results in repeat testing by different people. This makes the standard and data obtained robust and valuable for comparison purposes.

ISO 20690 is all about helping companies to make informed investment decisions, when it comes to hardware purchases that use lots of power. SwissQPrint has hopefully started the ball rolling and we can expect many more certifications to ISO 20690 in the coming months.

This article was produced by the Verdigris Project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa Graphics, EFI, Fespa, HP, Kodak, Kornit, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.

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