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FLEXO Magazine : July 2010
Having a more systemized approach is a great start. Utilizing data and check sheets to process work, rather than relying on opinions, is the only way to get there consistently. It may involve changes in Standard Operating Procedures for many people, but once adopted, the process becomes much more efficient. Bob Dauses, Business Development Manager, Mark/ Trece, Inc., Greensboro, NC: We use FIRST guidelines, as well as some of our own internal procedures. I believe more designers are using FIRST and many are happy to have a resource available. Just like everyone else in the supply chain, designers want to get it right and avoid re-works or last minute changes. For the flexo industry, there is not a better set of speci- fications or standards to follow. Designers and prepress providers are ultimately trying to service the same customer. To truly provide the customer the highest quality package, in the most efficient time, and to meet their budget, we need to work together. Karen Leet, Graphics & MarCom Manager, CSW, Inc., Ludlow, MA: We stress adherence to the individual converter’s specs. FIRST is a good “rule of thumb” training document for our employees and our customers, but the variance from one converter to another is fairly broad. We find that designers de- pend on us to act as an extension of the design firm’s produc- tion arm, because most designers do not use these guidelines and probably have not ever heard of them. In fact, anyone who is not a FLEXO magazine subscriber, or is not a professional in this industry, is probably unaware of these guidelines. Publishing these guidelines is a good FIRST step, but FTA needs to do more to bring them to the source. They should be talked about in design programs at colleges like Pratt or Fashion Institute, and in technical programs at schools like RIT, Cal Poly or Clemson. They should be advertised and/or written about in design publications such as Print, HOW, or Communication Arts, whether online or in print. Packaging is one of the few print niches that has not yet been overridden by digital replacements such as e-books, blogs, or banner ads. We should be reaching out to print designers who have no idea that the flexo industry even exists—I certainly didn’t, before joining CSW 12 years ago. Pat O’Connor, Production Manager, Southern Graphic Systems, Philadelphia, PA: We do stress FIRST as a com- mon sense starting point for any flexo packaging design project. Many designers are used to litho and can be quite surprised by the unique challenges of flexographic printing. By familiarizing Studio’s design staff with FIRST, and test run- ning design phase concepts through the prepress process to spotlight any downstream production issues, before a design is extended or produced, we reduce project management costs and increase speed-to-market. Though we feel our unique alliance with Studio is the ultimate answer, of course not every prepress provider can launch a design studio and not every design studio can build a prepress capability. Ultimately, to implement FIRST properly; designers and prepress providers must begin working together as design team members dedicated to the same goal, instead of rivals working at opposite ends of the spectrum. n Technologies & Techniques www.flexography.org july 2010 FLeXO 33 FLXO_July10_v2.indd 33 7/16/10 9:36 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010