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FLEXO Magazine : June 2013
Realistic & Relevant FTA’s 2013 Forum Targets Packaging’s Challenges, Celebrates its Successes — “RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!” By Robert Moran For the 1,600 attendees at FTA’s Annual Forum, and INFO*FLEX Exhibition, the event checked all the boxes. • Location • Agenda • Venue • Sold-out trade floor that spotlighted advancing technolo- gies designed to make printers better and more efficient at what they do • Open air networking with San Diego’s waterfront as the backdrop Discussion was interactive, fast-paced and lively. Print production experiences were shared. Results were ana- lyzed. Continuous improvement was targeted. Eyes were opened to new technologies. Future business strategies were formulated and in many cases initial implementation actions were set in place. To some the event is a ritual. To many the information ex- changed is far from routine. This year, takeaways, as always, were numerous. Best practices were mapped out in detail. Step-by-step plans for process control, color management, automating workflows and forging flexography ’s future were developed and shared with all. Four days (April 28-May 1, 2013) passed in a flash. The envi- ronment was stimulating. Halls of both the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina and San Diego Convention Center were filled with excitement as optimistic-minded flexographers stood united and determined to maintain their craft’s position as packaging’s print process of choice. They, like the sessions they attended focused on food safety and certification, emerging technologies, process controls, automated workflows, consumer product company and print buyer demands, the expanded color gamut, doing more with four-color process, optimizing plate and press technologies, color and its capabilities, improving efficiencies and the value of skills training and reinforcement. In other words, staying relevant and current. The central theme “Right Here, Right Now. ” While living in the moment, flexographers set their mind to getting it right the first time every time,” and made it clear that they are aligned in both embracing and pursuing that passion. For FTA and its members, that story has been evolving and unfolding for 55 years—and that milestone was marked at the organization’s 54th Annual Forum and 31st Annual INFO*FLEX Exhibition. Forum 2013 Chairs Bob Mullen, Sun Chemical and Pepper Stokes, Robbie Fantastic Flexibles put the meeting in per- spective. “Like most all attendees, I enjoyed the presentation, style and technology—very interesting. Lots of takeaways here,” Stokes stated. “ Bringing real life examples to ses- sions was an excellent idea and it really delivered.” Mullen exclaimed, “Another year of great topics! All were masterfully managed by our session chairs and eloquently delivered on message by each and every speaker.” PUNDITS FROM THE PODIUM Advice rendered from the podium applied to a proliferation of subject matter that stretched from food safety and security to award entry prep, workflow, current research, emerging trends, and of course the process controls/skills training applications encompassed in Flexographic Image Reproduc- tion Specifications and Tolerances (FIRST). The following is a sampling of what was said. “Demonstrate due diligence. Add food safety manage- ment initiatives to give credibility to your operation and your product. Enhance compliance with regulatory standards. Provide confidence to customers.” T hat was the message car- ried by session chairs Bruce Riddell, Spectrum Label Corp. and Dan Doherty, Prairie State Group (PSG). It was echoed by four panelists: Peter Cicero, Capjem; Jack Hamilton, Eagle Food Registrations, Inc.; Stephanie Donato, Bell Flavors and Fragrance; and Cayleigh Nichols, PSG. “Internationally recognized standards meet customer requirements and bring you a competitive advantage,” they explained. 20 FLEXO JuNE 2013 www.flexography.org FTA TODAY