X1 (Slough) completes first ISO 14001 audit

X1 (Slough) has completed its first ISO 14001 audit after being highly commended on its training programme and reduction in volatile organic compounds (VOC) - both part of its 2010 objectives.

Tests were conducted at the litho and digital printer's site using an alternative to Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA), WIN Fount SFAF3-CS.

IPA is a key additive to any alcohol dampening system but, according to X1 director George Eckford it is high flammable and can form an explosive air-vapour mixture which can also cause irritation to eyes, as well as drowsiness and dizziness.

The company has replaced IPA with WIN Fount SFAF3-CS as the additive used in its dampening system.

He said: "This is non combustible and only needs to be handled in accordance with good industrial safety procedures."

The result of the tests were very positive, resulting in the 100% replacement of IPA.

Eckford said that reduction in VOC's for year ending 30 September 2010 will be around 18%, with the projected reduction for the year ending 30 September 2011 being around 97%.

"Other printers should know that there is an alternative to IPA readily available to SMEs with very little cost implications or downtime."

The company was certified to ISO 14001 in November 2009, and this is its first yearly audit review with certification body ACS Registrars.

During the annual two-day audit, the company was assessed on its yearly objectives and set targets for the year ahead.

X1 is a 20-staff printer, and Eckford said that the process of attaining and maintaining any ISO standard or FSC standard "is very difficult", especially when the company has no dedicated member of staff with sole responsibility for it.

He said: "ISO 14001 and FSC both require you as a company to maintain internal audits and records constantly throughout the year, which in reality for a company of our size is about a day a month.

"With the way the print industry is at the moment, that free day never happens, so it's a case of spending two solid weeks prior to the audit, making sure your audit trail is up to scratch and all paperwork, contracts, transfer licenses, etc, are all up to date and correct."

The £1.8m turnover company serves the educational, local government and car industry sectors.

Eckford said the company has only started to see the impact of the recession at the beginning of this year, but that impact has negated any growth that it has made with new or existing clients.

He said: "We are however very optimistic as a company as we come out of 2010 and into 2011 back on target towards our growth goal, especially as we get clients embracing our W2P portal and as digital print becomes more and more a necessity rather than an option."

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