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FLEXO Magazine : Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal
HEARD FROM THE HALL age and acceptance of photopolymer plates, the large number of presses using sleeve technology, and adoption of servo drive tech- nology which is now being used extensively on printing presses. HARPER: I would personally like to see FTA continue to pay homage to something it has historically done; namely focus an effort to encourage more companies and individuals to con- tribute their time, effort, equipment and dollars to flexographic education. The initiative should be directed at both a high school and college level in order to assure that the best and the brightest talent is trained and attracted to flexo. SHAPIRO: Sophisticated technology and greater efforts at developing a more educated workforce are highly significant; as is the impact of environmental regulations on management and operation of plants. MCGEE: The evolution of the flexo process from that of a ttrubber stamp" process to that of a high-quality print process, with few limitations on where we can take the process in the fu- ture, is a big and most remarkable move. RIDDELL: The list is considerable: reverse-angle doctor blades, laser-engraved ceramic anilox rolls, photopolymer plates, water- based inks, UV inks, computer graphics, direct-to-plate technology, automatic registration, servo drives, gearless - servo driven sleeve presses and platform presses. Those products stand out in my mind as having helped to greatly improve flexographic print quality. JACKSON: Technologically speaking, I'd have to point to the development of laser-engraved anilox rolls, chambered doctor blades and calibrated prepress workflows. On a more personal note, I'm encouraged by the continued growth in a flexographer's confidence in his or her ability to exceed others' expectations. Flexographers today can push limits and do things that people thought they would never do. Where would you lilce to see FfA go from here? NARD: Our industry is changing and we find a mix of print systems today that will require a change in thinking. We need to incorporate all technologies for the most profitable results. SHIELDS: I'd like to see FTA continue building on past suc- cess, and to never shy-away from re-inventing itself when ap- propriate. It should not be forgotten that much of the success of FTA was the result of the leadership and quality of the staff over the SO years. BART: FTA must remain dedicated to being the premier train- ing organization for new and experienced flexographers and a research center for the entire industry for studying new concepts and innovations. 38 FTA 50th Anniversary Journal SHREVE: FTA should continue to service the industry in all aspects of business, not just technically. HARPER: The TEST program is a huge step in raising the level of quality education and training within the industry and in our schools. We have discovered that the industry readily gives when asked. In fact, educators claim that no industry is as responsive and helpful to them as are flexographers. That said, I'd encourage FTA and its members to take full ad- vantage of the Phoenix Challenge Foundation as a Upartner in flexo education." This volunteer organization has done a magnifi- cent job over the past 10 years with the high school competition and has now added an annual college competition to its agenda. This year, it had a record number of 62 high school students competing. FTA's TEST program is certainly a step in the right di- rection toward further coordinating and supporting the Phoenix Challenge Foundation's mission. SHAPIRO: There is a need to go back to the basics in reaching out to the printers. The need for the colleges to take a more ac- tive role in being the centers for FTA activity around the country is imperative. We have to move away from centralized and lavish functions to more accessible and less expensive programs to con- tinue FTA's role as a dominant force in the industry. FTA has to return to its early policy where printers set the agenda. MCGEE: A focus on ongoing flexo education will certainly be a key to maintaining and expanding flexo's presence in the chang- ing roll of print in future years. Environmental issues will chal- lenge the industry. FTA can provide a look into the technologies of the future that will be necessary if we are to maintain or grow flexD's marketshare in the world market. RIDDELL: Awareness of FTA membership was most focused when the path between where Flexo was and where it needed to be was the greatest. Having said that, what made FTA open flex- ographers' eyes across the country was the workshop and round- table training programs. Forums have always been exciting to me, for the novice as well as the Uexperts." I have never left a Forum without taking something useful away. I have always believed that quality printing in flexo is either a science or science fiction. FTA helped all of us reach for and ar- rive at the science. Now that we have arrived, how to train our personnel to use that science and understand the efficiencies and process flow of our operations is an opportunity. FTA must learn what industry needs have not been met and address those. It has to get people excited. That said, I just went and reviewed the FFTA web site for programs and advertisements and was very impressed. Clearly, the job is already being done. JACKSON: Printed electronics, specialty materials, security coatings that change color, heat sensors... in short, emerging technologies. It's something FTA has always kept its eyes on, its ears open to and its voice ready to spread the word. It's absolutely essential that FT A keep watching, listening and reporting on technological advancements, where they will likely take us and how to use them to a flexographer's ultimate advantage. .
Flexo Sustainable Spring 2008