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FLEXO Magazine : December 2010
minimizes dot gain.” Features he credited with making it possible included: shoulder impression, fast cure, 1:1 copy mask ablation, and high UV source durability. “No need for bump curves anymore,” Emmerling observed. Today’s flexo technology makes it easier to select outcome parameters for surface screening and extending shadow areas. “No magical plates,” Emmerling admitted. “Our objective: remove or deal with oxygen.” Success leads to noticeable quality improve- ments, including better fades to zero. Mark Mazur, digital prepress consultant, DuPont Packaging Graphics, urged flexographers to print every dot very clearly and very sharply, by reminding them, “We print ink, not squashed spiders.” The result: beautiful vignettes, excellent fades to zero, etc. “We shouldn’t be too focused on offset.” He expressed the opinion that, “Standard digital workflow is the Print Better Tomorrow FFTA Fall Conference Offers Blueprint to Changing Your Game By Robert Moran Play-by-play analysts—a.k .a. 170 of your fellow flexog- raphers—at Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association’s Fall Conference and Tabletop Exhibition, held Nov. 8 -10, 2010, in Louisville, KY; couldn’t help but point to debate formats and tag team approaches as critical rein- forcement tools that drove home a six-pronged message: • Print better. • Print smarter. • Deliver greater shelf impact. • Deploy game-changing technologies that differentiate flexography from other print processes. • Embrace standards and make them your friend. • Save money. Better the bottom line. All 22 presenters agreed that these six first rate ideas are essential to the future of flexo and process control. They came together to issue the formal call to action and repeat the refrain, “Document... Measure... Control...” for three consecu- tive days. They insisted on never compromising where quality is concerned, achieving the purest possible image repro- duction, and forever focusing on productivity and innovation (continuous improvement). In layman’s language, they tied Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Toler- ances (FIRST) to international standards for printing packag- ing and converting, deeming FIRST the instruction manual for how to make standards work correctly. Color & CommuniCaTion Kickoff came from Roy Bohnen, Epson America; and Jim Raffel, Colormetrix; who tackled the topic: “Proofing and Pack- aging—What Makes it so Difficult?” Their answer, different: substrates, screen rulings, anilox rolls and spot colors; all complicated by dot gain compensation techniques and the type of proof specified—analog or digital. Suggestions for dealing with the situation, offered by the pair, included creating ICC profiles of both press and proof- ing device; plus optimizing all plate making and press condi- tions to include both ink and anilox roll. Other instructions issued: 1. Use FIRST 4.0 densitometric guidelines. 2 . Calibrate and profile the proofing device—monitor analog, inkjet, etc. 3 . Include control elements on each proof—targets too. 4 . Verify color. 5 . Communicate. PlaTe DeBaTe Three questions, 150-minute time limit, six debaters—all technical experts on printing plates—and the gloves were off. Up for discussion: 1. Printing like offset. 2. Advantage to a flat-top dot in flexo. 3. Today ’s photopolymers and their impact on technology moving into the next decade. “Flexo quality is outstanding and getting better all the time,” declared Rich Emmerling, technical manager, Flint Group Flexographic Products. “NExT (New Exposure Tech- nology) improves ink coverage increases tonal range and 20 FLEXO deCeMBeR 2010 www.flexography.org FTA TOdAY FLX_Dec10.indd 20 12/15/10 1:00 PM