Optimising the Guardian manufacturing process for a reduced carbon footprint at CCL Secure

Product Owner: CCL Secure PTY Ltd

Describe the project

By optimising the printing press and Regenerative Thermal Oxidiser (RTO), CCL Secure halved gas consumption during production and significantly reduced steam consumption. With enhancements made to the RTO, some of the solvents that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere are now captured and used for power generation.
The printing press traditionally operated using electricity generated from gas and steam. Thanks to this project, solvents recovered by the RTO are now providing an additional input for generating electricity for powering the printing equipment.
The optimisation followed a LEAN methodology to ensure the benefits were maximised and a best-practice approach was developed, with criteria encompassing:

  • Collection of data from energy management data systems and equipment parameters, to determine efficiency of the equipment
  • Reviewing and analysing data collected, to identify improvement opportunities
  • Organising activities to realise opportunities for improvement:
  • Modifications to the RTO and printing press parameters and set points, involving a process of controlled fine-tuning, so as not to exceed environmental permitted consents or quality constraints
  • Modifications to air-handling and extraction systems, increasing the speed and airflow of the fans and dampers to increase the concentration of solvent entering the RTO
  • changes to settings within the RTO to improve combustion efficiency, allowing auto-therming at a higher temperature for longer, resulting in a reduction in required gas input
  • The results are part of the company’s broader commitment to improving environmental sustainability. CCL Secure recently achieved ISO14001:2015 certification and aims to become carbon neutral by 2022.

Date the project was implemented


Sustainability project locations

CCL Secure’s UK site is located at the edge of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria. The local economy relies on the benefits of sustainable tourism and operating at this location means the environmental impact and reduction of risks are of key importance.
CCL Secure also operates plants in Mexico and Australia, with best-practice and process improvement shared between sites.

Commitment to sustainability

CCL Secure has set a global Sustainability strategy to continually work to improve its environmental stewardship by minimising the ecological impact of operations.
In 2017, CCL Secure made a deliberate shift to focus on sustainability. At the UK site, this priority took the form of a new strategy that would ensure environmental, ethical and economic considerations were at the heart of all activities.
In addition to optimising the printing press and RTO, the 2018 and 2019 milestones achieved as part of the strategy included:
• Carbon desktop system implemented for effective data collection
• Developed an Environmental Management System and Energy Management System to drive improvement opportunities
• Sustainability training courses delivered to all UK staff
• Carbon Footprint analysis completed by external organisation (in accordance with the international recognised PAS 2050 method for quantifying carbon footprint)
• Partnered with leading body, Verco Global for advice and support

Conserve or manage energy, water, or other resources

The project to optimise the printing press and RTO at CCL Secure has conserved resources by:
• Reducing gas consumption by more than 50%, consequently resulting in significant carbon emissions reduction and mitigating pollution
• Reducing consumption of steam (and consequently water) by 27%
These results are further explained in the below section ‘Tangible results of the project’.
It has also created a step change in CCL Secure’s energy management systems, providing a platform upon which to build better processes for the management of resources, and improved energy and water efficiency, into the future.

Environmental consideration(s) generated from implementation

Sustainability and environmental considerations are now a business priority for CCL Secure, forming a crucial element of “business as usual” operations.
The success of the project to optimise the printing press and RTO has driven the overarching strategy forward, as the company continues to progress with plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022 through the following focus areas:

  1. Fast Acting Energy Efficiency Programme – 2020 Capex Programme
  2. People and Behaviour – Culture
  3. Process Optimisation – Non-Capex Improvements
  4. Technologies Interventions (Renewables) – 2020-2022 Capex Programme
  5. Benchmarking and Measurement – Carbon Foot Printing – (PAS 2050)
    Implementation of this project created opportunities to influence and generate interest amongst the CCL Secure leadership and plant personnel, resulting in a culture change and engagement in the company’s sustainability commitments and ambitions.

The tangible results of the project

Optimising the printing press and RTO has achieved the following results:
• reduced gas consumption by 10,661 M3 in 2018 compared to 2017, followed by a further reduction in 2019 of 2,201 M3 compared to 2018 (despite an increase in throughput). These figures equate to reduced gas consumption of more than 50%, which equates to 26,117 KgCO2e, calculated using the Carbon Trust Carbon Calculator.
• reduced steam consumption by 1,133 tonnes, equating to a 27% improvement year-on-year.
• improved plant efficiency with the ratio of each unit of energy consumed to produce a unit of production (Good Ream) reducing significantly.
In addition, commitment to the broader sustainability strategy and its various objectives has resulted in ISO14001:2015 certification and increased staff engagement.

How does the project reduce harm to the environment?

The improvement project contributes to reducing greenhouse gas and carbon emissions and mitigating pollution in an ongoing capacity. This has resulted from decreasing the amount of solvent-laden air entering the atmosphere and lowering the consumption of gas and steam.
Further, harm to the environment has been reduced through:
• Air quality, both inside and outside the plant, has been significantly improved with emissions to air consistently well below permitted environmental discharge consents, verified by the fixed calibrated Continuous Monitoring equipment
• The emission limits for carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (such as carbon) and nitrogen oxides stated in our environmental permit is 100 mg/m3. Prior to starting the project, average values would consistently be greater than 80 mg/m3. Post project, these average values have been consistently below 20 mg/m3

Feedback from Stakeholders, Including the General Public

“CCL Secure have made an impressive commitment with intentions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022. The CCL Secure team are highly motivated and focussed around reducing the operation’s environmental impact and this focus spans across all levels of the business. The CCL Secure team have both an aspirational but realistic approach to achieving carbon neutrality and they are in the process of delivering a structured implementation plan centred around energy efficiency projects, before considering renewable technologies and offsets required to completely offset the business’s carbon emissions with guidance and support from Verco.” Tim Kay, Commercial Director at Verco.

Awards | Technical Awards 2020


Best New Environmental Sustainability Project