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FLEXO Magazine : April 2010
10 FLEXO april 2010 www.flexography.org • The class covers much of the same material taught in FTA’s FIRST Certification Level I course. • Attendees get an economic understanding of the various aspects of flexo printing. • Many attendees come from outside the printing industry. Core Principles FTa & WMU Co-Sponsored Seminar preps Flexographers on the Basics It’s about getting a handle on the basics. It’s about un- derstanding what separates flexo from the pack, and what makes it great and how to use it to produce the best printed product possible. That is the goal of Western Michigan University ’s (WMU) Mastering Flexographic Principles Seminar. Co-sponsored by the FTA, and held multiple times throughout the year, the event is geared toward print professionals of all levels, including those who are new to the industry. FTA Education Director Joe Tuccitto and WMU Printing Pilot Plant Director John Meyer host the semi- nar. “We use the term ‘mastering’ in the context of understanding everything you need to know to get going in flexo,” said Tuccitto. “John opens up with a real basic introduction to the flexo industry, and relates it to the other printing processes.” “Attendees learn about how flexo evolved out of letterpress and why people use it,” added Meyer. “ Then we touch on the various market segments. A lot of people are not aware that there is a label market, corrugated market and flexible pack- aging market and that they are all largely independent of each other. Sometimes I address, in a broad sense, what all flexo presses have in common, and then the various types and how they are manufactured. Then we tackle the components of the process itself in one to one-and-one - half hour segments—inks, anilox rolls, doctor blades, plates.” Tuccitto went on to note that, while the semi- nar covers much of the same material taught in FTA’s FIRST Operator Certification Level I course, they are not the same. “It’s really aligned well to the learning outcomes taught in the initial FIRST Operator Certification class. In fact, the Level I exam is offered at the end of each class.” Meyer proclaimed, “Almost everyone takes the test at the end of the class, and there is usually a more than 90 percent pass rate. We’ve had perfect scores and times when 100 percent of all attendees passed. ” Among the unique subject matter that Meyer likes to tackle is that of the economics of flexo. “ We talk about the cause and effect of the different components and variables—inks, substrates, plates and the press itself. For example, I want attendees to understand that when they pick up an anilox roll, they are han- dling a $4,000 item, for example, or to understand that the ink that just spilled cost $10 per pound. The goal is to clarify the workflow and master the concepts. That’s really what the title refers to. We want to build awareness of how other people’s jobs affect them. If they do not give or receive good informa- tion from other areas of the plant, then they cannot produce a good job.” Meyer insisted the class enjoys a wide appeal, attracting everyone from press operators to the vice presidents. More- over, he touted the number of attendees transitioning into flexography from other industries. “One of the people we had in here was a dairy farmer 15 months ago, now he is running a printing press. We had two new plant superintendents that had come from the auto industry. What better way to get them up to speed in flexography?” Since FTA and WMU started working together, the Mastering Flexographic Principles seminars have meet with tremendous success. Attendees have continued to remark about the experi- ence. Some companies have reported increased retention rates among employees sent to the event. One attendee, Brady Garrison, account manager at American Inks & Technology Ltd., c ommented, “This class allowed me to not only fit the many pieces of the flexo puzzle together, but it also delved deep enough into each application to allow everything to make sense. As a newcomer to the industry, I couldn’t figure out why our lab guys spent so much time double and triple checking their work. Now I know, and boy am I glad they do!” n FTA TODaY quick-turn clean. >> The OEC Plate Cleaner allows reusable flexographic printing plates to be automatically flushed, brushed and dried. A now perfectly clean plate surface equates to better print quality at a lower cost. The equipment’s cleaning agent is continuously looped, which means it’s better for the environment. The unique Twinlock® sticky plate system holds them firmly in place and reduces landfill waste from the very start. For a comprehensive Discovery to determine how OEC ECO’s process optimization can effect sustainability, cost reduction and print quality please call OEC Graphics at 866.371.4047 Re-use your HIGH DEFINITION PLATE rrrrrrrrrrTEEEE HD$1,000Foraroundpermonth! Saves time Use less water Less VOC and toxins A product of oececosolutions.com FLXApril10_mech.indd 10 4/10/10 1:21 AM
Sustainable Winter 2010