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FLEXO Magazine : Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal
HEARD FROM THE HALL SHIRT-SLEEVE SESSIONS STRESS PROCESS OVER PRESS FTA was a major part of my career and a major reason for the good place that Mark Andy has been able to enjoy in the flexo industry. Allow me to reminisce for a moment: When FTA was formed in 1958, the focus was on wide web. The tape and label industry was in its infancy. Mark Andy was selling its 2-color flexo press around the u.s. (3" wide), while also operating a bank of these "hot little presses" in its own fac- tory at 145 Grand Ave. in Kirkwood, MO. Narrow web was of little or no interest to the wide-web guys in 1958, except for one Douglas Tuttle, a founder of FTA. Doug loved to collaborate with my father, Mark Andrews, about ana- line printing (the use of liquid inks and flexible rubber plates). The fascination came about at least in part due to the fact that inks, plates and substrates could be easily tested in the lab on a Mark Andy press, something that one could not do on a wide press without great expense. And the relationship worked both ways-Mark was able to glean important information on how various inks, plates and materials would react under different conditions. Mark had invented his process in 1946, with no interest in, or knowledge of wide-web printing. It was natural, however, that at some point the two would come together. So, 1958 came and FTA was born! The process became "flexo," and the name caught on immediately. A bright new industry was on its way. The hallmark of FTA, in those early years, was that the "pro- cess" was more important than the "press". This was a great advantage to raising the quality of print, because all the activi- ties were focused on the technical aspects of printing instead of what we might call features of the press. It was an exciting and healthy environment to be in! Spring and Fall 1958 found me in college, but working for one of my favorite bosses in the summer making rotary dies. Rich Roseman ran the Mark Andy Roto- Die Division at the Tape Press, circa 1956. time. It was my privilege to learn more about mechanics and machining that summer under his direction than one could imagine. No doubt, that experience shaped much of the prod- uct design future I enjoyed at Mark Andy for 38 more years. My first FTA meeting was a workshop at the Jefferson Hotel in St. Louis, MO. Doug Tuttle and Bruce Gibson spoke and then encouraged questions from the at- tendees. It was informal, with lots of diagrams drawn on the chalk- board. Ties and coats came off right away as it was clear that this was to be a "shirt-sleeves" session. And so the experience went on year after year in city after city-hands on instruction for anybody who wanted to learn all about flexo. Label Press, circa 1964. When I took over the running of Mark Andy in 1969, I envisioned a company focused on technical expertise rather than marketing prowess. And, yes, that focus came from my experiences at FTA workshops and seminars., The idea was that customers welcome technical help in their door more readily than anyone else, and what better way to sell presses than to demonstrate exactly how they can give their customer the finest award winning printing. FTA has made a great contribution to the lives of many and I am one of those grateful recipients! -MarJe Andrews, FfA Hall of Fame Member, Chairman Emeritus, MarJe Andy, Inc. Personal samples carried around by Mark Andrews, Sr. in the 1950s. FTA 50th Anniversary Journal 31
Flexo Sustainable Spring 2008