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York printer save $1.5 million
By Barbara Hale
Penn States statewide technical outreach network, the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PENNTAP), has won a 1998 Outstanding Project of the Year Award in the technology transfer category from the National Association of Management and Technical Assistance centers.|
PENNTAP was honored for helping GTY Inc., a York area printer and commercial wall covering manufacturer, stop pollution at its source and eliminate the need for costly air pollution control devices. The company estimates that it will save more than $1.5 million over five years as the result of the plan it put in place with PENNTAP help.
Ray Bristol, general manager for GTY Inc., told Printing News, If we had not found a way to eliminate pollution at the source, we would have had to buy an incineration system at $800,000 to $1 million, plus spend another $500,000 or more in ongoing operations costs. Needless to say, we saved quite a bit of money.
Bristol called in Warren Weaver, a PENNTAP senior technical specialist, while the York facility was operating under a temporary permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). A DEP air-quality inspector had identified an objectionable smoke emission at the company and informed officials they would have to develop an action plan and timetable for installing a pollution control device.
Weaver advised Bristol to work with his ink suppliers to find a smokeless ink. Over a 14-month period, Weaver provided 30 hours of free technical assistance, including participation in meetings with DEP, GTY and its vendors. The ink and coatings vendor, Polytex Environmental Inks, was able to meet the need for a no-smoke ink. The smoke emissions ceased and GTY eliminated the need for a smoke-control device.
Jack Gido, PENNTAP director, said, Of the more than 800 requests for assistance PENNTAP received in 1997 when this project was completed, 25 percent were related to environmental improvements, an increase from 20 percent in 1996. The total economic benefit of PENNTAPs environmental assistance program to the participating companies was $2.3 million in 1997, up from $1.2 million in 1996.
Four PENNTAP staff environmental specialists, along with a technical librarian and other technical specialists, assist clients with manufacturing and business issues that have an environmental component. The staff helps Pennsylvania companies adopt strategies to reduce wastes, emission and environmental impacts. These strategies, known collectively as Leaner and Cleaner Production, include source reduction, waste minimization, pollution prevention materials productivity and lean manufacturing.
According to a 1998 year-end report, PENNTAP provided 790 cases of assistance to 525 companies. More than 80 percent of its clients were businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The companies reported 225 jobs created or saved as a result of PENNTAP assistance and $6.7 million in economic benefits, including cost savings, revenue increases and capital expenditures.
PENNTAP is a partnership comprised of Penn State, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the U.S. Economic Development Administration. It has served Pennsylvania business and industry since 1965. It is one of the nations first technical assistance programs and is a model for such programs in many other states and countries.