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FLEXO Magazine : May 2012
FTA TODAY Flexo Quality Consortium Day Recap Fundamentals of Flexo By Jean Engelke The Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC), the technical arm of the FTA, was at the forefront of this year’s Forum. On Saturday, March 17—FQC Day—the packed FQC Ses- sion met its goal to educate and update the membership on its research and experiments. FQC Day was a new concept that attracted more than 80 participants. The event was an excel- lent way to get everyone up to speed on the FQC and provide an entire afternoon devoted to the technology that is flexo. The FQC is a select standing committee of the FTA that’s goal is to provide membership with a better understanding of the factors controlling the quality of the flexo printing pro- cess. The committee investigates process variables in order to develop process concepts that will result in measureable advancements in flexo technology. This year, the objective was to make sure the membership understands what the FQC does, illustrate how it accomplish- es the research initiatives, and make sure project updates are communicated. The Fundamentals of Flexo session was designed to bring attendees new to flexo up to speed on the industry, terminology, equipment and materials used in flexography. The Working Session was designed to communi- cate the mission of the FQC and how the group utilizes project management and experimental design to bring a project from conception to conclusion, based on real data. Project teams also presented their current status and findings in an interac- tive forum with the membership. The new Standards Working Group was also introduced. Many would agree that standards are usually lengthy and a challenge to understand and internalize. Gary Hilliard, Hood Packaging, has taken on the challenge of organizing this committee, recruiting industry experts to help review and make recommendations to various regulatory bodies, as well as communicate back to the membership what this means for everyone’s organizations. This is no small task. Participation from as many people as possible is appreciated as Hilliard embarks on making standards more approachable, under- standable and, more importantly, actionable. A survey was available during the Forum to document membership interest in both the FQC and the new Standards Working Group. The survey asked if individuals wished to be involved with the Committee or a project; and further delves into everyone’s knowledge and expertise. It truly shows the dedication of an industry by looking at how many members of the leading global flexographic association are willing to donate their time, expertise, equipment and resources to further technological advances in flexography. It takes a lot of resources to execute these project plans. Even folks who did not attend Forum can still sign up. The team needs all the support possible to continue this great work. At Forum, the FQC Session agenda was chock-full. Be- cause it was possible to include a great deal of content this year, three presentations of research done within the industry intended to make us think about how we do work and what real data says to guide our decisions were offered. FTA mem- bers that adhere to the requirements of the FQC chose these three presentations from submitted abstracts. That is—based on real data. The session started with a brief summary of current proj- ects. The UV Ink Spitting project, led by Sean Teufler, Harper Corporation, was initiated from feedback on Forum surveys that indicated ink spitting was a concern to some FTA mem- bers. The results have been published in the February 2012 edition of FLEXO Magazine. Attendees Forum at 2011 were also privy to a presentation by Dan Reilly, Flint Group, on the status of the Anilox Gauge R&R Study Team. Reilly led a diverse group of participants on a study that spanned over a year. Data was collected at Clemson University and Tim Claypole, Swansea University, did a very thorough statistical evaluation. Findings presented in 2011 showed that the experience level of the operator of the measurement equipment statistically influenced the mea- surement results. It also indicated that electronic methods of measurement revealed less variation between operators. QUALITY COMES FIRST • The FQC is a select standing committee of FTA that’s goal is to provide membership with a better under- standing of the factors controlling the quality of the flexo printing process • The Working Session was designed to communicate the mission of the FQC and how the group utilizes project management and experimental design to bring a project from conception to conclusion, based on real data • The Standards Working Group embarks on making standards more approachable, understandable and, more importantly, actionable • The FQC Session at Forum also contained three re- search initiatives: pushing the limits of bad plates; SID vs. accurate color match; and utilizing process print to extend the capabilities of flexographic color gamut 14 FLEXO mAY 2012 www.flexography.org