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FLEXO Magazine : September 2012
SPEAR USA • 1972 — Established as the fexographic division of Voltz-Thomas • 1982 — Incorporated as Spear in Cincinnati, OH—now headquartered in nearby Mason • 1985 — Developed the frst pressure-sensitive prime label in partnership with Procter & Gamble for plastic health and beauty containers • 1991 — Introduced clear pressure-sensitive labels to the beverage industry • 1999 — Established Spear Group Holdings, developed green-feld production site in Cwmbran Wales, purchased key U.S. competitor (Gar-Doc, Milford, NH) • 2004 — Purchased wide-web gravure facility in Fulton, NY from Sonoco and established joint venture, Illo-Spear, with Illochroma, Brussels, Belgium • 2005 — Developed frst “ wash-off ” pressure-sensitive label, Thermo Wash® • 2006 — Purchased all the assets of IlloSpear from Illochroma • 2007 — Green-feld production start-up in Johannesburg (Boksburg), South Africa. JV, wide-web gravure expansion in the Wales facility • 2008 — Purchased Precision, Printing and Packaging, Clarksville, TN, from Anheuser-Busch • FTA Membership originated in 2010 Dan Muenzer: VP Marketing: "Production on 3 Continents; Customers in 59 Countries" FLEXO: Can you begin by assessing the state-of-the-industry as it exists today? What are its top priorities and challenges? Is growth, both in volume and dollar sales likely this year and into the future? Why? MUENZER: The label industry is in a very strong position with growth in almost every region of the world. Emerging markets, like China, show label growth approaching three times GDP. Established label markets, like the USA, tend to mirror GDP growth. Other regions like South America are in between. Challenges are dependent upon region, technology and market; however, in Spear 's world the largest challenge and opportunity is consolidation on both the customer and converter fronts. Anheuser-Busch InBev 's pursuit of Grupo Modelo will change the market dynamics. Global supply and consistency is becoming a requirement to deal with multi-national consumer product groups (CPGs). Growth will be seen in both volume and dollars. This is requiring the continual innovation of new materials. Thinner face-stocks, alternative liners, more ef- ficient processing, etc. are all going to be required to ensure market expansion occurs. FLEXO: What technical advancements have simplified the flexographic process in recent years? How have they served to reduce waste, enhance efficiency, improve time to market and alleviate other challenges? MUENZER: Prepress improvements, like LUX flat top dots are driving this arena by needing less time to clean plates and providing finer highlights, sharper text and reverse print. In addition, high resolution flexo, like Luscher, provides finer highlight dots and better tonal range. Standardization through color management allows for faster press approvals and better match to customer approved proofs. FLEXO: How is your firm embracing the industry 's push to- ward standardization? Are you optimizing the production pro- cess and moving out to print to the numbers/specifications? MUENZER: Implementing General Requirements for Appli- cations in Commercial Offset Lithography (GRACoL) targets, as well as using G7 calibration techniques, is new at Spear. These practices have not yet matured enough to quantify the benefits. Initial indications are this is a major culture change and will benefit the company by reducing set-up and waste dramatically. FLEXO: What color management and control applications/ procedures do you employ in an effort to maintain design and brand color integrity? MUENZER: GRACol, G7 and Flexographic Image Reproduc- tion Specifications and Tolerances (FIRST). www.flexography.org SEPTEMBER 2012 FLEXO 35 FTA MEMBERSHIP PORTRAIT: