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FLEXO Magazine : September 2009
32 FLEXO SEPTEMBER 2009 www.flexography.org PLANTS & PROCESSES LABELS Interested in having a customized training seminar in your plant? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Joe Tuccitto, FTA education director, delivers a custom- ized seminar to Caribbean Label Crafts Ltd. in St. Michael, Barbados. TESTed: Caribbean Label Crafts International Printer Turns to FIRST to Control its Process On the Island of Barbados, FTA member Caribbean Label Crafts has been producing high-end labels and tags for more than 20 years. The firm proudly and suc- cessfully serves the distilled spirits, beverage, cosmetic and regional food industries with its four flexo presses. Last year, the company decided to get its entire process under control, and implement a fully color managed work- flow, as well as invest in digital platemaking, according to Katherine Felix, compliance and special projects manager at Caribbean Label Crafts. In June 2008, four members of the company attended a Color Management Symposium at Clemson University in Clemson, SC. "At that time we had al- ready identified that we needed to move away from our ana- log platemaking system to digital," said Felix. "But we wanted to have better in-house expertise before we started looking at doing a full-blown move to digital platemaking." While at Clemson, the Caribbean Label Crafts team in- quired about getting assistance for implementing a full color management system. Rory Marsoun, industry trainer with the university flew down to Barbados to examine the company's existing workflow. Marsoun noticed right away the exceptional quality that the firm was capable of. However, he also noticed that no process control checks were being implemented---very little was being done to verify that plates or film were being imaged correctly, and color was measured by eye alone. "I recommended specific process controls be implemented at every step," said Marsoun. "A lot of my recommendations came straight from FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduc- tion Specifications and Tolerances). Things like calibrating the imagesetter, verifying film output, checking relief on the plates, and measuring color press-side. It was also recom- mended that each measurement at each step in the process be recorded, so when problems come up, there is informa- tion available to trace the issue. When the company makes the transition to a color managed workflow, it is absolutely required that everything be consistent from job to job." At this point, Felix noted, the team at Caribbean Label Crafts decided to pre-order copies of FIRST 4.0 for its Qual- ity Control Department. "While waiting for the completion of FIRST 4.0, we implemented what we could from FIRST Third Edition. Once the books were available, we decided to have someone come down and do a training session," she said. That's when TEST (Technical Education Services Team) stepped in. FTA Education Director Joe Tuccitto and FTA Tech- nical Director Bill Pope stopped by to conduct a customized training seminar. At the company 's request, the TEST team of- fered training on the fundamentals for 60 of Caribbean Label Crafts' 100 employees. "To make the workflow change, you have to make everyone in the workflow change, not just one or two individuals," said Felix. "During our three-day visit we conducted two full-day presentations of a customized version of our FIRST 4.0 on the Go Regional Workshop materials," said Tuccitto. "The customized training sessions we focused on introduced all of the employees to FIRST and identified how critical it is to control the processes. The folks at CLC were some of the most friendly and receptive people we have ever had the op- portunity to train." While the task is far from complete, the Caribbean Label Crafts has begun implementing key quality control checks, statistical data recording and other process control techniques. "Many of our procedures will require the purchase of equip- ment," observed Felix. "This is currently in process. However, the training has allowed us to implement things in a more edu- cated manner. Our entire process will be color managed from software to plates, including procedures on press."