Home' FLEXO Magazine : April 2016 Contents top dots with high resolution imaging, Smith said, yields a truly game
On the topic of specialized raw materials, Smith singled out inherently
flat top plates for their reduced workflow and equipment constraints,
texturized plates for their improved ink transfer and consistency, and
unique chemistries like plates optimized for LED exposure or made
softer for white. Integrated systems, he said, automate workflows and
operator dependent tasks, which reduces errors and frees up employ-
ees for other tasks.
Speaking second was Bart Wright, North America print specialist at
InterFlex Group, who discussed wide web game changing technolo-
gies on the materials front. That includes plates with new materials
(echoing Smith), inks with stronger pigments that enable faster press
speeds, special effects to appeal to customer preferences and cushion
tape. The two biggest changes Wright said he's seen to wide web press-
es are changeover ("We want a NASCAR mentality") and speed.
What's next for corrugated? Flexo Concepts President Kyle Mc-
Laughlin asked that question to the audience as he launched into his
discussion. Speaking to that segment, he singled out big box retail,
versioning and sustainability. These trends are affecting change in all
areas, but the ones most affected, he said, are ink delivery systems,
machine improvements, substrate and drying options, and digital.
"The corrugated presentation was right on topic!" exclaimed one
audience member. "It was an excellent presentation that covered a lot
in a short time."
Batting cleanup was John Crammer, GM and CFO at Best Label, and
an FTA board member. He carried the spirit of the session to the
narrow web market. UV LED curing's advantages were the first topic
of discussion, as Crammer offered a list of operational advantages like
instant on/off, fewer ser viceable parts and longer lamp life. Crammer
says that at his company, many prior pain points in the operation are
UV LED's "sweet spot," leading to an "amazing transition."
With one question---Are you ready for the future?---RR Donnelley's
Jean Engelke and 3M's Pam Dorrough began the second Monday
session with FQC: Preparing for the Future.
Alexander James, Kodak's indirect channel manager and Ann Mi-
chaud, 3M's senior technical ser vice specialist, took the stage first to
give an update on the Flexo Quality Consortium's (FQC)'s High Reso-
lution Printing -- Part B, Print Performance Comparison project. "The
goal of the project was to clarify the meaning of 'high resolution,'"
Michaud said. Part A developed a test target, while Part B uses the
test target to compare various technical approaches and measure the
output print results, record the data and present it to the industry. In
order to get that data, James and Michaud asked for printers to make
use of the single color target.
Dr. Danny Rich spoke next, offering updates from the Standards
Working Group (SWG). Since Forum 2015, two ISO meetings have
taken place. Read more about the SWG in March's FLEXO.
Following Rich's SWG update, Jason Cagle came to the podium to give
a look at his research project. Cagle was the first place winner of the
Rossini Scholarship in 2015 and is a senior at Clemson University; he
also worked on the 2014 FLEXO Magazine cover project.
Cagle's project asked if high resolution imaging techniques, combined
with flat top features, provide stochastic screening with high resolu-
tion images appropriate for flexographic printing. Recognizing issues
with stochastic screening in the past, as well as advantages, Cagle
pointed to new technology that prompted a reevaluation. "What if we
could print all seven colors stochastic?" he asked the audience. "What
about process work with spot colors?"
Cagle presented his findings in depth before finally rejecting his initial
hypothesis. "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should," he said,
recalling a former teacher's suggestion. But he added that the research
was not for nothing---using a hybrid stochastic technique, Cagle said
he came away with impressive prints.
Also offering a presentation on a research project, Bilge Altay, the sec-
ond place winner of the 2015 Rossini Scholarship, spoke about smart
inks for flexo printing. She defined these inks as those that:
• Can serve a purpose greater than coloring
• Contain pigments/polymers with electrical properties
• Are used in the fabrication of electronic devices
She went through the results and finding from each phase of her re-
search, illustrating measurements like particle size, a temperature ramp
and other data. "Printed electronics are unavoidable," she concluded.
Finishing the FQC session, Tracinda Yaw, a master black belt at 3M,
discussed her company's Lean Six Sigma journey. She began with a
look at what Lean Six Sigma is and how 3M was introduced to it by its
CEO. Yaw depicted a continuous improvement roadmap, following
steps that begin at defining business opportunity and success mea-
sures and carry through visualizing the current process, finding root
causes, developing improvement plans and finally, sustaining gains
that have been earned.
"Glad to see we're exploring other options and learning how tech-
nology is changing where we are headed," commented one attendee.
"Excited for the future!" exclaimed another.
22 FLEXO | APRIL 2016
(From left): Smith, Wright, McLaughlin, Crammer, Engelberth and Ross
discuss game changing technologies.
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