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FLEXO Magazine : January 2008
(Clemson, SC), possibly Chowan University (Murfreesboro, NC), Georgia Southern University (Statesboro, GA) or other notable institutions. RUN, RUN, RUN Students concentrating on flexography will start their edu- cation with a strong foundation in print theory, before going through four levels of serious, hands-on flexographic printing. UThey'll get a broad range of knowledge when they take the Intro to Printing class," said Burns. UThey get an overview of offset, screen and flexo. There are more general requirements that they have to take that involve everything, including prepress fundamentals, computer graphics, various software applications and how to image films. They still might have a screen printing or offset class, but within the flexo concentration there are four levels." uIn Flexography 1, they are introduced to the press," stated Blackburn. uWe get them to the point where they can operate the press independently, without asking for assistance. We start off simply, with a one-color job. Then they move on to making their own idea, creating a die line for that. Then we get into more halftone work. Students will run halftone transfer curves. The final project will be a mock label. They are still working with spot colors, but will be incorporating the transfer curve and trying to properly utilize the press." uWe split the students up into teams of two or three in the Flexography 2 class," said Burns. UThey will run a press for three weeks or so. Typically that whole lab will have all the presses run- ning at the same time. Then they'll switch and run another press and keep switching until they've run them all." At the third and fourth levels, according to Burns, the M.O. is the same, but the ante is upped-more complex work, tighter registration, a lot of repetition. UAt this point we are trying to get them as proficient as possible," he said. uThe challenging part is that we are not in here every day for eight hours. They'll have a four hour lab on a Monday, but then we won't meet again until the following Monday. But we sometimes have open lab times during the week." Before completing the degree, students must take an inde- pendent study class titled Flexo Applications. "In this class," said Burns, uthe instructor sits down with the student and agrees upon some objectives that the student will work on. It could be a com- plex, multi-color image that the student has to do some testing on. Or, for example, we did one where the student had to do a four-color project, but first conduct tests to find the right sub- strate, etc. Another was try- ing to print on clear mate- rial, so he was experiment- ing with using double bumps of white, etc." HOlliE Of THE PHOEII\ CH llEIiGE t-IßØ ----- -- fi KP'" . I \ ...\. IN THE REAL . ,r-, WORLD . (;. -' I . All three instructors \' , . - \ \ agreed that part of the learning experience was allowing the students to make certain mistakes. Assisting in this area-and sometimes instigating in this area too-is industry professional Andy Parks, owner of Parks Printing, Fort Mill, Sc. UAndy is very involved in the Phoenix Challenge and is also a teacher's as- sistant here," said Gerhardt. uHe will do things like wait for the student to turn his or her back on the press and then play with all the knobs. It teaches them to keep their eye on the press. He also teaches a lot of real world skills that he uses in his own plant. TEACHERS AT A GLANCE Zachery Blackburn Graphic Arts Instructor Degrees: Bachelor's in Flexography, Appalachian State University (2007); Associate's in Graphic Arts and Imaging Science, CPCC (2001); Associate's in Biomedical Photography, Randolph Community College (1999). 12 years in printing. Gareth Burns Graphic Arts Program Chair Degrees: Master's in Graphics, Clemson University (1999); Bachelor's in Print Management, Georgia Southern University (1996). 14 years in printing. Stephen Gerhardt Coordinator of the Harper National Flexographic Center Degrees: Associate's in Graphic Arts and Imaging Technology, CPCC (2005). 12 years in printing (10 in management). \. ;: -. \. .\ "--- I ...... - -. -.. -- -:. \ -. ') I i , -,. '\, -. -- (Left to right) Gareth Burns, Zachery Blackburn and Stephen Gerhardt. www.flexography.org JANUARY 2008 - FLEXO