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FLEXO Magazine : February 2010
50 FLEXO FEBRUARY 2010 www.flexography.org When the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) was founded in 1958, postal carriers or couriers de- livered purchase orders, contracts and proofs. Plates and proofs were hand-delivered, oftentimes more than once, by a driver. Design, proofs and platemaking were carried out by separate businesses. In ensuing years and with steady process, mechanical and technical improvements, these tasks and functions were gradually taken in-house by many printers. PCs enabled flexographic printers to migrate the paper file drawer to an electronic one, and the Internet made purchase order and file delivery immediate. Software pack- ages, software engineers and electronic file handling went from being a requirement to an expectation. Electronic data transfer started out as a buzz word, and made jobs for people (selling, training, etc). The year 1999 saw a lot of hype about Y2K (you forgot about that one, didn't you?). In the last decade, there has been much emphasis on process improvement and sustainability. Stan- dardization is a core requirement for working with today's CPCs (consumer product companies) as a result of their own stan- dardization and supply chain logistics. In looking over last year's FLEXO stories, we have seen OEMs, suppliers, printers and schools work hard to accomplish that goal. Fischer & Krecke has developed RFID-tagged sleeves to improve registration. Doctor blades, anilox rolls, plates, substrates and inks, ink delivery systems, color measurement and color managing tools are continually perfected. The FTA worked hard with the industry to provide FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances) so everyone could go find a common reference. SGP (Sustainable Green Printing Partnership) provides printers with standard practices that safeguard the environment. FLEXO AND THE INTERNET The internet is like a huge library (to those of you under 30, please bear with me). If you Google a topic and don't get results, you'll find a list of more search engines than you can use in a day by searching on "popular search engine list." At FFTA's Fall Conference in Oct. 2009, Paul France of Proctor & Gamble repeated a need that's echoed by many CPCs---get it right the first time, do it over and over exactly the same way (see FLEXO Nov. 2009, pg 8). For companies with multiple plants, this can be achieved by some very deliberate IT plan- ning and integration via inter/intranet. Critical to the tag and label or flexible packaging pressroom is the ability for an OEM or equipment supplier to log in and perform remote diagnostics (time and money saving for both of you); log in to the FTA website for technical references, contact information, referrals; download software upgrades; find prod- uct specifications as you begin or are in the middle of a project; anytime, anywhere; go to municipal and government websites for codes standards. Print on the Web Connectivity and Social Media in the Flexographic Industry By Mary Mekelburg PLANTS & PROCESSES • Be consistent: Post regularly when you set up an ac- count/profile. • Designate a C-level or officer of the company to determine strategy and delegate tactics. • Social media is interactive---invite feedback, poll/ survey your audience, etc.