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FLEXO Magazine : Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal
HEARD FROM THE HALL of companies, so that we do not see the energy that existed when innovation was a key to making a success in the market. Creativity was a matter of survival for smaller and medium-size companies. Small quantity orders made the small companies active and profit- able. As consolidation has brought many companies into one orga- nization with different management objectives, there is a need for FTA and its sister organizations to promote creativity and excel- lence as well as Lean Manufacturing principles. In this decade, we also have seen the challenge to traditional flexo markets (short runs, reasonable quality) by other printing processes. FTA Forums and workshops must stress methods of performance to bring higher quality at lower costs to the table. MCGEE: In the 1960s, bringing a young and somewhat un- disciplined industry, made up of aniline printers, into the new ttFlexographic" process of printing, and doing so through an or- ganized and focused trade association with a common voice and common goals, must have been a real challenge. In the 1970s, focusing on the potential flexography holds for all types of label and packaging printing, and then driving home the need for quality and productivity enhancements within the pro- cess across all segments serviced by flexo printers ranks as a true accomplishment of FTA. In the 1980s, working to establish print standards and organiz- ing committee's to address the growing needs of proper manage- ment of the flexo process, proved worthwhile. Then, in the 1990s, bringing the voice of the print buyer to the industry, by position- ing flexo as a print process capable of challenging the established print processes of gravure and offset was FTA's triumph. This de- cade, the emphasis, rightfully so, has been on flexo as a process in control. FTA is stressing understanding your variables and focus- ing in on meeting and exceeding customer expectations through the use of flexography. RIDDELL: In the1960s, the industry was young and had not yet earned the notice or respect of its printing peers, such as litho and gravure. Flexography was originally named Aniline printing from the aniline inks. FTA brought together several ideas and the term flexography was born. The engineering of anilox develop- ment by Doug Tuttle and Chuck Heurich set the path to today's high-print quality. Before the engraved anilox, many flexo presses simply supplied ink to plate via a smooth steel roller. The 1970s were the formative years for a truly competitive flexographic process. While these new concepts were not easily embraced, photopolymer plates, doctor blades and anilox rolls were introduced to make the greatest leap forward in any decade of the industry. FTA led the way as an evangelist to communicate these developments to a new frontier for flexo print quality. By the end of the 1970s, the peers who had scoffed would just begin to take notice, but they remained cynical. The environment became a focus during the 1980s and water- based inks were one of the toughest issues for flexo printers. After the previous years of quality development we had to become compliant as an industry without going backward in quality or competitiveness! FTA Forums and articles moved this along, but it really came down to each company's commitment that fi-
Flexo Sustainable Spring 2008