Air Quality Can Affect Printer Productivity

11 January 2010
Air Quality Can Affect Printer Productivity

Controlling the fumes produced by wide format inkjet printers can deliver health and productivity benefits in the workplace.

Although most printing businesses would rather invest money in inks, media, and new printing equipment to generate revenue, we must not forget that it is the printing professionals who expertly operate the equipment everyday who really make the difference.

A comfortable and safe work environment can go a long way towards maintaining good working relations and promoting higher productivity within the production facility. The printing industry relies on printing professionals to deliver the highest quality product consistently and often to tight schedules. They must therefore be focused, enthusiastic, healthy and energetic to deliver their best consistently, day in and day out.

A major concern among these professionals is air quality. With the many types of inks available today, from solvent inks, mild solvent inks to UV curable inks and variations in between, it is important to know that virtually all of them can degrade the quality of air in the work environment.

Some people may feel and experience the following issues when exposed to a work environment with poor air quality:
• Fatigue and lethargy
• Irritated eyes, throat, and skin
• Headaches
• Nausea
• Distractions due to complaints launched by staff or neighboring businesses.

Captivair fume extractor on a wide format printer

It is common sense to believe that all of the issues listed above can reduce productivity. In some cases, absenteeism can grind a business to a halt when the key operator does not feel well enough or motivated enough to come to work.

The notion that poor air quality affects productivity is supported by many studies, the most significant of which were those administered by a building controls company (Honeywell Technologies). The survey found that approximately one in five of the 600 worker respondents often or sometimes had difficulty doing their work because of office air quality.  According to Woods (1989),"we could increase the productivity of 20% of our work force" simply by improving the air quality of most offices.

Another study by Evans and Jacobs (1981) states that even the perception that air pollution exists can create stress among employees who believe that it poses threat to their health. In addition to affecting workers' health and productivity, contaminants in building air can harm workers' morale (LaBar 1992). The stress may be particularly intense among people who believe they have no control over the pollution.

 “Solution to the Pollution”

Purex, (working closely with major printer manufacturers), has developed a range of fume extraction systems called Captivair™, which have been designed specifically to improve air quality in wide-format printing applications without the need to pump VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the environment via an external exhaust. 

Captivair Mini Fume Extractor for Wide Format Inkjet Printers Captivair Max Fume Extractor for Wide Format Inkjet Printers
Captivair™ MINI Captivair MAX™

The heart of the Captivair system consists of a filter system loaded with high efficiency chemical adsorbents to capture and lock in the VOCs from the contaminated air. It also has a unique feature that will alert the user when the filter is actually saturated and no longer effective. This takes all the guess-work out of filter replacement schedules which can mean that filters are either changed far too early (wasted money) or far too late (fumes pollute the room).

More good news for the environment is that the Captivair system is designed to be energy efficient, only drawing approximately 200 watts in comparison to other systems, which can draw more than five times more energy to do the same job.

Purex believes that it is important to protect our environment, inside and out, through better design and technology. Each Captivair system is tailored to a specific make and model of printer. All hoses and fittings are included in the system to connect the extractor directly to the printer’s key polluting exhaust points.

Capture the fumes at the source.

Captivair significantly improves air quality in the production environment by efficiently removing VOCs generated by the printing process. Filtered air is re-circulated back into the room, creating a much more pleasant work environment, conducive to higher productivity.

Losses in productivity due to air quality issues caused by the printing process can be rectified or avoided by simply implementing specialized fume extraction solutions such as Captivair. It is a worthwhile and responsible action that will benefit the business and the people who make it possible.

For more information please contact Purex International Ltd on 01709 763000 or visit


Evans, G.W. and Jacobs, S.V. (1981). Air pollution and human behavior. Journal of Social Issues, vol 37, no. 1, pp. 95-125. Honeywell Techanalysis. (1985). Indoor air quality: A national survey of office worker attitudes. Minneapolis, MN.
LaBar, G. (1992). Why employees are sick of Indoor air, Occupational Hazards, August, pp. 32-36.
Woods, J. E. (1989), Cost Avoidance and Productivity in Owning and Operating Buildings. In: Cone, J. E. and Hodgson, M. J., eds., Occupational Medicine, State of the Art Reviews, vol. 4, no, 4, October-December. Problem Buildings: Building-Associated Illness and the Sick Building Syndrome. Hanley & Belfus Philadelphia, pp.753-770.