May 10, 2006 - CARROLLTON, Texas — FASTSIGNS International, Inc., a worldwide sign and graphics franchisor, is recommending that FASTSIGNS centers with solvent printers adopt the Captivair air cleaning system from PAT Technology Systems Inc., the two companies said.
FASTSIGNS International, Inc., whose headquarters are in Carrollton, Texas, has nearly 500 sign centers worldwide. PAT Technology is a Canadian company that sells air purifiers, humidifiers and other solutions to the printing industry.
“The Captivair system is efficient enough to allow our centers to safely use a solvent printer in any environment,” said Jim Hunt, FASTSIGNS International, Inc.’s director of technical services. “We tested the system in a controlled environment and were very pleased with its performance compared to similar technologies.” The Captivair system effectively removes solvent vapors and practically eliminates the odor normally associated with solvent print operations, according to David M. Anglen, an industrial hygienist and safety and health consultant hired by FASTSIGNS International, Inc.
All new FASTSIGNS locations open with solvent or other large-format digital printers, and many established centers have added the printers in recent years, he said. As FASTSIGNS centers started using solvent printers, FASTSIGNS International, Inc. conducted extensive tests of emissions from the printers, and used the data to develop health and safety recommendations for center owners. One of those recommendations was to locate solvent printers in a separate, enclosed area in the center, the company said. Until recently, the company also recommended that solvent printers be vented to the outside of the building. The printers emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause odors, although the level of VOCs emitted is not high enough to require environmental regulation.
With the adoption of the Captivair system, FASTSIGNS centers no longer will need to vent their solvent printers to the outside, said Hunt. The PAT Technology system uses a combination of air scrubbers, a hood over the front of the printer and charcoal-activated filters to capture and scrub VOCs, releasing clean air. In addition, the Captivair includes audio and visual alerts that indicate when the filter needs to be replaced – alerts that cannot be overridden.
“The fact that the alerts cannot be overridden is extremely important,” said Paul Hebert, PAT Technology’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Earlier air scrubbers depended on the end user’s ability to ‘smell’ odors and know when it was time for a filter change. This wasn’t reliable because smell is subjective and a user can develop a tolerance to odors with continued exposure.”
The Captivair system will work with several brands of solvent printers used by FASTSIGNS centers, including Mimaki, ColorSpan, Seiko, Hewlett-Packard, Roland, VUTEk and Mutoh printers.