Flexographic Solvent Recovery – Working with Nitrocellulose

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Flexography is an innovative form of printing technology. It has revolutionized the industry by combining high-speed rotary capabilities with modernized letterpress functionality. Its versatility enables printing on many different surfaces, making it an important asset across numerous industries.

What is Nitrocellulose

One component involved in flexographic printing is nitrocellulose, also called cellulose nitrate, flash paper, or guncotton. It is a highly flammable compound derived by nitrating cellulose through exposure to nitrating agents like nitric acid. Despite being flammable, nitrocellulose has found multiple applications in manufacturing plastic films, wood coatings, and inks.

Industries that use inks, lacquers, or coatings containing nitrocellulose face challenges in recycling and disposal due to its flammability risk. Typically, the amount of nitrocellulose in ink or paint can range from 2% to 30% based on the total solids content, which pushes the importance of safety when recovering waste.

How Maratek Can Help

In flexographic printing n-Propanol and propyl acetate are solvents commonly used to clean printing equipment, they are often mixed with nitrocellulose-containing inks. As a printer, being able to recover and reuse these solvents can offer great cost savings and help the environment through limiting waste. Maratek has developed a solution, the Flexo 500, a state-of-the-art solvent recovery system. This unit is a cost-effective solution for companies grappling with flexographic solvent waste.

Introducing The Flexo 500

The Flexo 500 offers a range of features tailored to manage flexographic waste effectively. With a capacity to process up to 500 gallons per day of waste solution, including nitrocellulose-based compounds. It also has the added benefit of a user-friendly interface and fully automatic controls.

One of the critical challenges in recycling nitrocellulose-laden waste involves managing the distillation process safely. The Flexo 500 integrates several safety measures to handle nitrocellulose, it uses glycol heating and a high vacuum to minimize the temperatures required to prevent combustion. As an extra safety feature water quench is also included.

By leveraging the Flexo 500, companies can significantly reduce solvent purchasing expenses while minimizing their environmental impact by reusing recovered solvents. This innovative system not only assists in cost reduction, but also promotes eco-friendly practices by recovering up to 95% of available solvent waste.

The Flexo 500 Features

Maratek's commitment to quality and sustainability is evident in the Flexo 500's construction. Its advanced safety and quality measures, tailored specifically for managing flexographic waste, make it an ideal solution for companies seeking efficient solvent recovery methods. This system is fully designed with 304 stainless steel construction. Color monitoring allows the system to automatically monitor the clarity of the distillate. If the distillate ever fails this quality check, it will be diverted to avoid contamination of the clean solvent tank and an alarm will sound. In addition, flow rate totalizers can be equipped for monitoring and logging the throughput of the system. Other beneficial features are the internal mixer and scraper that keep the sides and bottom of the vessel free of sludge build up while preventing foaming.

This system also has the added benefit of automation features that help minimize the need for operator intervention. These are features like automatic filling with top up, automatic sludge discharge, high pressure clean in place, Allen-Bradley PLC system, and remote access PLC.

Solve Your Nitrocellulose Problem

The Flexo 500 emerges as an innovative solution for printers aiming to optimize their operations, reduce costs, and lower their environmental footprint. Its capacity to recover solvents, including those with nitrocellulose components, coupled with its stringent safety measures, quality-focused features, and automation, positions it as an exceptional solution in flexographic printing waste management.

With over 50 years of expertise, Maratek has established itself as a renowned manufacturer of top-quality industrial recycling and recovery equipment for various applications. Collaborating with Maratek guarantees access to our extensive knowledge and diverse range of equipment, helping you to effectively minimize your costs and waste. Our streamlined process includes consultations, comprehensive support for planning, installation, and training. Maratek also offers a variety of leasing, financing, rental, and payment options available to help you affordably start recycling as soon as possible.

For further information on how the Flexo 500 can benefit your business, contact Maratek today.

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