Reuse press return inks easily for new jobs

Leftovers, or press return inks, can account for up to one-third of the amount of the quantity dispensed. It is not uncommon to see a converter’s ink store full of partly used ink containers that are eventually thrown away if that exact colour is not used again on a new job.

The optional GSE Return ink management software module recycles these inks into new dispense jobs in the most efficient way, by container or “cluster”.

Recycling returns by container

GSE software makes recycling return inks child’s play, by guiding the operator step-by-step through the process.

A fundamental idea of automated ink logistics is the dispensing of inks that are formed by blending a combination of base components according to a unique recipe. Each container with dispensed inks gets a unique identification number and is allocated to the printing job. Once the job is completed, the operator weighs the container with ink  returned from press, either on the dispensing system’s weighing scale, or a separate return weigh station in the return store. The software recommends a storage location for the returned batch and a label can be printed, providing data such as recipe code, container ID and return ink weight. The software creates a 3D virtual store room so the user can choose a precise storage location for the returned inks. Once allocated to the correct storage location, the returned ink awaits recycling.

With each new dispense job, the software prompts  the user to choose from a list of usable returns. As an example, press returns of Coca-Cola red could obviously be reused into a new batch of that special color. But, since we know the recipe of the colour is known- the individual base ingredients and their quantities – this can be used this to make a colour with the same base ingredients, like a Fanta orange. After choosing the returns to be reused, the operator retrieves the inks from the return ink storage. The return container is placed on the weighing scale. Then the software checks the weight and automatically calculates how much fresh inks must be added to make the target colour to be dispensed.

With GSE Return ink management it is also possible to use “substitutes” – inks or varnishes that can be reused for more applications than others.  For example, a return with a recipe with a high quality varnish can be recycled into recipes with a lower quality varnish (but not vice versa). Return containers can also be booked out directly to an order (if the GSE Order management software module is installed).

Cart weighing

A new functionality is “cart weighing”. This helps the operator to increase the efficiency of the return weighing process. Instead of weighing each individual container, multiple return containers may be placed on the weighing scale at once. These may be on a cart or a pallet, or stacked together. The operator then removes each container one by one. At the same time, the software registers each container in the returns storage.

Recyling returns by “clusters” 

Another way of working is to collect the returned inks in “clusters” of colours. Return inks with similar colour or with the same base ingredients are combined into a single base colour, which is then connected to the ink dispenser. This helps to recycle those return inks automatically, without retrieving every separate container from the returns storage.

For exemple, the software can help to collect all the blue return inks with the same base ingredients. These are collected in a large container (e.g., a 200L drum) and colour formulation software can generate different formulas of this blue cluster ink. With GSE Return ink management you can allocate different formulas to each cluster by creating “cluster indices”, which helps to achieve maximum recycling efficiency.

Both recycling methods (by individual container or by clusters) can be used in parallel. Please note that a barcode printer and reader are essential for using this software module.

Grid and reports

The grid “returns stock” provides a wealth of information about the return containers, including expiry dates. The software also provides several standard reports, like return consumption, return changes and stock levels of returned base components.

Preparing and reserving returns

Containers can be prepared with one or more returns for specific planned jobs that are scheduled in the job list. This is particularly practical if working with a return weigh station.

If reserving a return for a specific job (e.g., a same colour job), just check the box “reserved” on the display and it will indicate that the return is reserved.

GSE Return ink management
  • Reusing returns by container
  • Multiple numerical returns
  • Reusing returns by cluster (with indices for different formulas)
  • Collect returns for clusters
  • Prepare returns
  • Reserve returns
  • Multipe 3D return storage locations
  • Indicate per formula in which location the returns have to be stored
  • Cart weighing
  • Extensive reports

Just contact us to get started!

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