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FLEXO Magazine : June2010
FTA TODAY 14 FLEXO june 2010 www.flexography.org Weare all soldiers in the battle against variables and variability in the flexographic printing process. But we have weapons at our disposal that can be used to defeat our common enemy. The most powerful of these tools is FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifica- tions and Tolerances). On Monday, May 3, session chair Eric Ferguson (EskoArtwork) and co-chair Scott Gilbert (Smurfit-Stone Container Corp.) presented FIRST from the Front Lines. Dan Doherty of Prairie State Group was first out of the trench, and gave the audience a blow-by-blow recount of his struggles against inconsistency. His involvement with FIRST began more than one year ago. He described Prairie State Group as two companies under one roof—a label shop and a mid web printer. According to Doherty, “FIRST is all about documentation.” He added, “FIRST gives you tools for trapping, type and rules.” His platemaking department now runs two test strips every morning. He recom- mended attendees “check dots every day ” and said platemaking is the most in- control process in his organization. “Any change you make in your process will affect what you do,” Doherty said, further asserting that “no change is too small.” Long-time FIRST advocate Robb Frimming of Schawk Inc. followed to discuss the prepress provider’s role in the war. FIRST, he asserted, is not a “how to” guide. “ You still need standard operating procedures.” He ordered attendees to “use FIRST to define the steps in your process,” and said the guidelines outline roles of ownership. Frimming talked up the role of communication, and advised everyone to download the FIRST Design Guide created by FTA’s Wide Web Leader- ship Council and Prepress Leadership Council (see FLEXO July 2009). Frimming also insisted that everyone in the audi- ence read the implementation section, and emphasized the value of color management. “A lot of us aren’t ready for digital color standards, but they are coming. ” Data is your ally, he commented, as it is the great eliminator of subjectivity. For years, the graphic designer has been the bane of flexo printers. But Al Bowers of R.R . Donnelly reminded Forum attendees that “FIRST requires initiative from the printer to communicate capabilities.” Bowers also touted the value of the FIRST Design Guide. They are not a set of limitations, he noted, but instead “ensures the design file will be useable.” He called communication with designers a “collaborative effort,” and reminded the audience of Margie Dehm of Sara Lee’s desire to have all printers embrace FIRST. And Dehm is far from the only consumer product company that advocates FIRST. Diageo’s Kevin Chop wrapped up this front-line assault. Chop declared that FIRST “has the ability to catapult our process to be consistent and repeatable.” Referring to his days as a prepress operator, he said, “When I was in prepress, I would read the print and design sections, so I knew what those guys were doing. ” Turns out, he said, the smart ones did the same thing. And what has that meant for Diageo? It means FIRST has: • Helped establish benchmarking for vendor selection. • Provided reference material for all stages of the commer- cialization process gate-1 through post gate-5. • Aided in developing packaging specifications. • Aided in the development of Diageo SOPs. n Repeatable Victory Forum Attendees Learn About FIRST From the Front Lines Doherty. Frimming. Bowers. Chop. HD FLEXO The new quality benchmark in flexo printing HD Flexo combines high resolution imaging with advanced screening. The result is a digital flexo plate for superb printing quality and stability. Finally, flexo is able to match offset printing. HD Flexo is one of EskoArtwork’s many technological innovations. Discover today how EskoArtwork can boost your flexo print quality. Come visit us at the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) show booth 416 & 418 www.esko.com • email@example.com HD_FLEXO_show.indd 1 3/27/2009 5:05:30 PM • “FIRST is all about documentation. ” — Dan Doherty, Prairie State Group • “Use FIRST to define the steps in your process. ” — Robb Frimming, Schawk Inc. • “FIRST requires initiative from the printer to commu- nicate capabilities. ” — A l Bowers, R.R. Donnelly FLX_June2010_mech.indd 14 6/10/10 9:38 AM