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FLEXO Magazine : September 2012
equipment. Either way, there is strain. Almost all of it is placed on converters. Traditional lithographers are entering the labels and packaging space as their product lines and markets have changed, shrunk, or disappeared. Mergers and acquisitions will con- tinue, likely at a faster pace. This is a good thing, as overcapacity frequently shrinks in the process. Workforce development, training pro- grams and quality academic programs all should be a priority for our industry. Fewer and fewer students are interested in the trades. Most people, including me, “ fell into” the industry. Given that manu- facturing is the heartbeat and backbone of any society, it should be a top priority to promote our industry and make it at- tractive to younger generations. The outlook for efficiency, productivity, quality, and safety is bright. In my 18 years in the industry, there have been so many technical advances that it’s been a whirlwind—and fun to be a part of. Plate, ink, substrate, anilox, prepress, and press technologies—especially servos—have radically changed the way we print. The question now is, “Can our hypercompetitive industry with over- capacity become more profitable in the labels and packaging space?” At Tapecon, we’ve purposefully focused on highly specialized products and markets that tend to be more profitable. We’ve been growing for the past several years. This year, 2012, has been very strong for us. We are bullish about the future and expect the current pace of growth to continue or even ratchet-up. FLEXO: What technical advance- ments 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? ZIEGLER: Again, technological ad- vancements in plates, inks, anilox rolls, substrates, and presses have continued to improve. FLEXO: How is your firm embracing the industry ’s push toward standardiza- tion? Are you optimizing the production process and moving out to print to the numbers/specifications? ZIEGLER: We’ve implemented 5S (sort, set, shine, standardize and sustain) and LEAN methodologies into our opera- tions. We’ve also invested in Six Sigma training and projects. The industry has moved from “printing craftsmen” to knowledge/fact based technological Tapecon’s Buffalo, NY, plant floor. www.flexography.org sepTemBer 2012 FLEXO 53 Your finishing operators know this too. The new VLI delivers greater precision and speed of inspecting, slitting and rewinding. And that means quicker turnaround and perfectly finished rolls, every time. Speed and precision. www.rotoflex.com IT’S NOT ONLY THE SPEED OF THE STEEL,BUT THE PRECISION OF THE CUT AT THE CUTTING EDGE Do you make the cut? Find out at rotoflex.com/thecut RF_FlexoMag_4.5625x7.375.indd 1 4/16/12 4:29:48 PM