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FLEXO Magazine : September 2012
printing. One customer has the same brand with the exact same graphics in flexo, digital and gravure, dependent upon SKU volume and graphic options. Expanded gamut is in Spear 's future. We have signed up for participation on the FTA committee and have a few key cus- tomers that would benefit from using expanded gamut flexo. We are also pursuing a digital option that utilizes expanded gamut, as this is more of a necessity in digital printing. FLEXO: Can you please explain the value of FTA mem- bership to your firm and comment on the most significant takeaways from the association's recent meetings, training programs or printed educational materials? MUENZER: The networking within FTA is very valuable as technologies develop and conversations/debates are had to challenge their validity and application to our customers' day- to-day expectations. On-line color data collection, first intro- duced at the FTA 2011 Forum, has led to key discussions with some of our large customers who can benefit from real-time color data collection. We might not have seen this as soon as we did, if it were not for attending the Forum. In addition, FTA's session on expanded gamut and HD flexo allowed us to bet- ter understand the landscape of these technologies and how to get started on the path to apply them to our business. FLEXO: What kinds of labels will be seen in the future? Are pressure-sensitive labels going to be the norm? MUENZER: The days of mass marketing are over, so there will continue to be a place for multiple label platforms includ- ing pressure sensitive, wet glue, shrink and other niche formats. Pressure sensitive will continue to be the majority preferred method; due to its graphic flexibility, functional characteristics, application efficiencies and lowest total ap- plied cost. It represents well over half of North America's label requirements and approximately 40 percent of the global need (and growing). The majority of Spear 's investments and technology developments center on the continued expansion of pressure sensitive labels. FLEXO: What innovations does Spear have coming down the pipeline? Where will Spear be in five, 10, 15 years time? MUENZER: Spear focuses primarily on material and graphic innovations that include: • Thinnest PS constructions in the world---1.6 mil surface print stocks, 1.2/.7 mil laminations and a .75 mil PET lin- er---while continuing to have thinner films in the pipeline • Two-plus year beta-site for Avery-Dennison's thinstream .5 mil liner • Patented wash-off PS constructions for returnable mar- kets • Clear and white film PS constructions compatible with PET bottle recycling (Association of Post Consumer Plas- tic Recyclers---APR---recognized) • High caustic compatible wet glue paper constructions • Lowest gram weight wet glue paper constructions • In-house paper metallization • Liner and matrix recycling programs • Patent pending augmented reality programing that does not require an Internet or phone connection Spear will continue to focus on system solutions that in- clude industry leadership in both processing and material de- velopment. We have a heavy focus on the beverage industry. It currently represents approximately 90 percent of our global turnover, with majority supply positions to global leaders, such as Anheuser- Busch, Heineken, Bacardi, Diageo and Pepsi. Over the next five, 10 and 15 years, we will see a global expan- sion of this footprint to include more countries and regions through organic growth with these global customers. In 1994 Spear had customers in two countries, while in 2012 we now have pro- duction on three continents and customers in 59 countries. Ironically, our biggest growth opportunity is not in beverage, but rather in resealable flexible film packages for Wal-Mart's Great Value cheese and Keebler 's Sandies cookies. This market will continue to grow at a rate in excess of beverage, as we have begun treating it as its own product line divi- sion. FLEXO: Describe some of the awards that Spear has earned in recent years and what that means to the firm? MUENZER: Spear is frequently recognized with superior print awards from numerous organizations, but we take more pride in being named supplier of the year for our key custom- ers including Bacardi, Diageo and Anheuser- Busch. Being recognized by the APR with its Champions for Change award or as TLMI's "Environmental Leader" confirms Spear is truly an industry leader. www.flexography.org SEPTEMBER 2012 FLEXO 37