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FLEXO Magazine : June2010
and FIRST says, Process improvement uses statistical analysis of printing process data to improve quality, ef- ficiency, and production yield. The database created as part of the process control step, is used to analyze the printing process to identify potential areas of improvement. Customer complaint data is another very useful tool when pursuing process improvement. TEST says, FIRST Methodology and CGATS TR 012-2003 both clearly identify a five-step process: • Optimization. • Fingerprinting. • Process Control. • Characterization. • Process Improvement. As most flexographers attempt to comply with FIRST, they often focus very heavily on fingerprinting and characterization, but never actually do anything with all of the data that is generated. Process Improvement is a key money maker for any flexo printer. This step allows you to evaluate your printing process, identify the improvement opportunities and quantify the results. For more information, see Section 19.5 (Page 163) of FIRST 4.0. Process Improvement What is FIRST The intention of FIRST is to provide all participants in the flexographic reproduction process with a common set of guidelines, tutorials and data that can be used as communication and production tools. The aim of FIRST is to create a common set of specifications and commu- nication protocols for the industry. This platform should establish common communication and identify the responsibility of the provider(s). To order FIRST, call 631-737-6020 or visit www.ftastore.com. What is TEST TEST is the educational arm of the Flexographic Technical Association. The aim of TEST is to align all of the training materials available through the FTA with the guidelines, tutorials and data identified in FIRST. TEST is focused on implementing new learning methodologies to reach out to a larger portion of the FTA membership. For more information on TEST, visit www.flexography.org. FLX_June2010_mech.indd 49 6/10/10 9:39 AM