Agfa faced strong competition from some of the UK's best-run businesses to secure the award for the company's leadership in environmental excellence. The Leeds production plant, which manufactures printing plates for Agfa Graphics, was honoured with the MX Arup Award for Sustainable Manufacturing for improving its treatment of waste by 98.5%, virtually eliminating landfill.
Agfa found a method of production that decreases the amount of acidic waste produced in the making of the aluminium printing plates. The new production method creates a more easily soluble waste, and cleaner results.
"We are proud to do what we can to be environmentally responsible citizens," said Graham Cooper, site manager, Agfa Graphics. "We are honoured by this award and will continue to provide industry-leading products and services whilst at the same time remaining cognizant of our responsibilities to our surroundings."
Recent eco-friendly initiatives taken at the Leeds facility were part of a ten year plan to reduce energy and raw materials costs. The facility, which employs 92, is one of several manufacturing plants around the world that produces digital printing plates by electrochemically processing coils of aluminium to produce the aluminium 'substrate' for the plates. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) first established its Manufacturing Excellence Awards scheme in 1981. The IMechE now has around 78,000 members in 120 countries. It represents mechanical engineers involved in a diversity of fields.
Agfa Graphics is rapidly expanding its offerings in the growing digital inkjet market. Its experience in both imaging and emulsion technology has provided the expertise required for making an assortment of high-quality UV and solvent-based inks. Joint development and manufacturing partnerships with industry leaders expand its technological reach and allow the company to develop comprehensive digital solutions for printing posters, banners, signage, displays, labels and packaging materials.