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FLEXO Magazine : June 2009
FTA TODAY Mark Vanover Jeff O’Reilly Jay Dollries Al Bowers Mark Samworth Ready to Tip Emerging Trends Session Examines Technology on the Edge “G reat new products may not impact businesses,” said Mark Vanover, chair of the Emerging Trends Session, which took place on Monday, May 4 at 10:30 a.m. “But these technologies will impact the industry.” Vanover based his session and speakers on concepts from the book The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell, who defi ned the tipping point as “that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfi re.” All of the concepts presented in this session, he said, are on the edge. But what is it that will make each one tip? First to the podium was Jeff O’Reilly of HewlettPackard, who revealed that his fi rm perceives itself to be in the consum- The Tipping Point: The moment at which an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold and spreads like wild fi re. (Malcolm Gladwell). ables business, namely for ink. However, with the decline of personal document printing, HP is looking to expand into labels and packaging. He noted that digital printing represents less than 5 percent of labels. But companies are looking to customize labels—score one for digital. In addition, most are not looking to beat fl exo quality, but instead want the same quality at a better price. Jay Dollries of Innovative Labeling Solutions, a fl exo printer who has adopted digital, followed O’Reilly, saying that fl exo still makes up the majority of his business. He informed attendees that there are opportunities in adding digital printing to a fl exo operation, and advised that printers educate brand owners on the difference and benefi ts of each. Al Bowers of RR Donnelly was up next to discuss the tipping point of expanded gamut. He reminded fl exographers of the 1970s when CMYK in fl exo had not yet tipped. Expanded gamut, he explained, is in a similar state now. Bowers said 42 FLEXO JUNE 2009 it’s not just about making reds redder—it’s matching spots, increasing the intensity of process images, and enabling “impossible” images. Bowers asked audience members not to let other processes take work just because it’s hard. EskoArtwork’s Mark Samworth followed Bowers to say that expanded gamut would tip when spot color accuracy and proofi ng improve. “We have to change the rules,” he proclaimed. The current rules of color approval focus only on color accuracy, and not visual appeal, which is yet another barrier to full acceptance, he said. In fact, he revealed that the mind is much more sensitive to color variation in solids than tints and builds. However, it is still good practice to build tints with the least amount of colors. Another challenge that Samworth highlighted was that ICC color profi les don’t support seven- or six-color builds—only CMYK. On the issue of internships, Larry Ahleman, Western Michigan University, took the stage. He said 13.3 percent of the fl exo workforce is more than 55 years of age, and an additional 22.9 percent is over 45. Without a young, well-trained workforce to take their place, this will create a large defi cit in skilled employees within 15 to 20 years. Internships, he insisted, are an ideal way to cultivate such workers, while bringing numerous benefi ts to a printing/converting operations. Young people bring new ideas to a workplace, and Ahleman encouraged audience members to solicit feedback and make them part of the decision-making process. This breeds loyalty to both a company and an industry, he said. There are also cost benefi ts to hiring interns, he said. “Benefi ts on average add on 35 percent to salaries,” which, of course, an intern would not receive. ■ www. f le xography. org Larry Ahleman
Sustainable Spring 2009