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FLEXO Magazine : June 2008
FTA TODAY e . Founding Sponsors Ron&Katherine Harper <I1HARPE Empowering Employees InterFlex Group Accesses TEST's Virtual Campus, Achieves Real Success By Christian R. Bonawandt F or 12 weeks, people logged in, listened up, and studied hard. Everyone on the shop floor, from plate librarians to helpers to hardened and experienced pressman, walked the ttVirtual Campus." Six modules and numerous man-hours later, 65 of The InterFlex Group's printing and converting personnel were officially Level I - Basic Flexo certified. That number represents approximately two-thirds of the total employees at the company's Wilkesboro, NC facility. InterFlex represents one of the first companies to so thor- oughly utilize the FTA Virtual Campus, an online resource where users can browse, download or purchase streamlined, FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances)- compliant learning materials. It is one part of the TEST (Technical Education Services Team) initiative, and it has made a major impact on operations. In fact, at InterFlex, TEST and its Virtual Campus experience have become an integral part of each em- ployee's career progression path. GET TESTED The Level I - Basic Flexo course was designed for the most elementary flexographic industry personnel, including those in entry-level and non-production positions. It is presented on the Virtual Campus in a six-module format and provides an overview of the flexo industry and basic press functionality. Its main pur- pose is to provide a base knowledge of the industry, its history, the various market segments and common pressroom practices. The six modules are broken into ttbite-size" pieces to allow par- ticipants to review the material at a pace that suits hisfher needs and abilities. The modules cover material as follows: . Module 1: In the Beginning. Covers the history and evolu- tion of aniline and flexographic printing, as well as the evo- - lution of anilox and plate technology and a comparison of early flexo printing to the capabilities of today. 5 Courses. . Module 2: What's Printed Flexo. An overview of various market segments, including flexible packaging, corrugated, multi-wall bag, labels, folding cartons and others. 6 Courses. . Module 3: A Technical Comparison. Reviews the commonly understood strengths and weakness of flexography versus offset and gravure. 4 Courses. . Module 4: Understand the Process. Offers explanations on the functionality of basic flexo press components, inks and anilox rolls. 4 Courses. . Module 5: Material Used. Details various substrates, such a paper and paperboard, corrugated board, and laminates. Also covers plates and plate mounting. 8 Courses. . Module 6: Other Skills. Examines in -line and offline con- verting processes; line, screen and process work; basic math and measurement; and personal and environmental safety. 7 Courses. MAJOR UPGRADE For almost 30 years, The InterFlex Group has understood and enjoyed the benefits ofFTA membership. ttWe find value in the publications and the Annual Forum. Between news, the latest tech- nological breakthroughs, etc., FTA brings us outside information that we wouldn't hear on a regular basis and through traditional publications," said Eric Bumgarner, vice president of operations. The firm runs 18 flexible packaging presses throughout four locations-Wilkesboro (6), two in the UK (4 in England, 3 in Scotland) and one in Brazil (5). Each facility houses a mix of central-impression and stack presses, all of which are flexo. In to- tal, the company employs some 350 people. The Wilkesboro plant JUNE 2008 www.f I exog ra p hy.o rg FLEXO