How PlateVac Solved an Industry Problem

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Flexographic Plate Maker was looking for a replacement to Perchloroethylene (Perc), used as a plate wash solvent in the production of photopolymer printing plates. Perc had numerous health concerns and was an ozone depleting agent. Leading suppliers of flexo plates developed new alternative wash solutions which reduced risks to workers and significantly lowered VOC emissions from the plate making process, protecting the environment. The PlateVac ended up being the solution.

The alternative solvents were combustible liquids and therefore, would require the construction of a special explosion-proof room in order to operate a solvent recovery system. They additionally had high boiling points and required vacuum distillation to reclaim the solvents effectively. The distillation system, which had worked with the low boiling Perc, would not work with the new safe solvents. These factors led flexo industry leaders to seek out a solution to these and other limiting factors facing implementation of the Perc alternatives.

PRI was well known in the Flexographic Printing Industry as a manufacturer of safe high quality solvent recovery systems and press parts washing systems. PRI had a reputation as an innovative problem solver. In 1992, Industry leaders approached PRI with a challenge: provide plate producers with a self-contained plate wash recovery system to reclaim the new alternative solvents, with no special construction, in a closed loop, hard-piped to the photopolymer plate-maker to seamlessly serve the plate making process.

PRI’s Engineering Staff went to work on the challenge. Shortly afterward, the PlateVac family of recovery systems was introduced. The PlateVac includes a dirty solvent feed tank, a vacuum distillation system and a clean solvent supply tank inside a solvent vapor swept cabinet.  The space inside the cabinet is rated to safely operate in an environment exposed to combustible solvents.  The PlateVac system may be safely placed in the plate-making room next to the plate maker, exposure unit and plate dryer.  The PlateVac™ also delivers an astonishing level of recovery of spent plate wash – as high as 97%!

Since the initial unit in 1992, over four hundred (400) PlateVac™ Systems have been installed in plate making shops around the world, and are still being sold today with regularity. There is no equal alternative to the PlateVac in the industry. The robust design of the system, PRI’s expert Customer Service Team and large, dedicated Field Service support make it unrivaled. PRI has replacement or repair parts readily available, and many of the systems from 1992 are still in operation today.

If you are considering a flexo plate wash solvent recovery system for your facility, the PlateVac™ family of distillation systems is your answer. Units are available with process rates that range from 2.2 gallons to 109 gallons per hour. PRI offers our PlateVac™ units with our Standard Limited Warranty that covers the boiling vessel for ten years (10) after purchase – the longest in the industry. PRI will help you find the right size Plate-Vac™ to meet your needs.