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FLEXO Magazine : December 2013
• INFO*FLEX brings together industry stalwarts for two days of interactions. Attendee survey backs up belief that the event is vital: 65 percent rated the exhibit “ very valuable” 75 percent met potential new business partners “Traffic was overwhelming and leads were plentiful” • Fall Conference descends on Kansas City, MO, bringing with it 313 attendees, a 10 percent boost from the year prior. The event elicited largely positive replies from those polled, citing things like “amazing data,” “real world issues” and “great back and forth with the presenters asking questions of each other.” Eight sessions featuring 20 speakers provided a wealth of information surround- ing the conference’s topic, “Got Data, Now What?” Fifty conference exhibitors and sponsors rounded out the gathering, which heads to Bloomington, MN for 2014 ASSOCIATION HAPPENINGS • The latest installment of Flexography: Principles & Prac- tices (FP&P), version 6.0, was released. Dubbed the ulti- mate guide to flexography, it includes the work of more than 100 contributors and contains more than 600 pages, 29 chapters (with additional content via download), hundreds of vibrant, full color illustrations, a detailed glossary of terms and an extensive troubleshooting guide • Another print product, a series of booklets titled FLEX- OGRAPHY 101, saw its first four installments released. The topics covered in each include an Introduction to Flexography, Ink Handling & Maintenance, Anilox Roller Handling & Care and Plate Mounting • FTA’s Supplier Leadership Council (SLC) conducted a wide ranging survey of members. Titled FTA Printer/ Converter Process & Technology Survey 2013, it provided ample data and important, industry insights. Some of the main takeaways were: Flexo community appears to be positioned to continue its growth Printers and converters report financial stability and in- creases in sales and revenue, especially notable when other industries are struggling FTA members expressed a willingness to incorporate new processes and adapt to customer needs Plants are integrating state of the art technologies and manufacturing practices A total of 150 printers/converters were polled, with 72 percent reporting sales growth in the past year. Some other interesting numbers from the findings: • 86 percent of printers experiencing five years of better bottom lines • 92 percent of flexible packaging plants citing five year growth patterns n Plants & Processes Keeping It Under Control Process control Improves Quality and Pinpoints Problems By randycarter Process control is thepracticeofdefining a system of procedures, measurements and documentation topro- ducedata. An evaluation and analysis ofthis data can lead toprocedure or equipment adjustmentsthat maintain consistency, repeatability and a better understanding ofthe entire workflow. It’s qualitycontrol,but not just a check atthe end of a process to assign a “pass” or “fail” grade. Instead, process control is designed to enablecontinuous improve- ment as data is analyzed and cause and effect is understood. The flexo industry likes totalk about process control,but not everyone is willing tocommittoimplementing an effective process control program. WHY PROCESS CONTROL? Good process control helps create an improvedproduct and allows the printer to operate more efficiently.The earlier in theprocess problems are caught,the less expensive they are to correct. Looking at several different measurementsin a process and analyzing combinations of measurements helps to nar- row down where in thesystem adjustments need to be made. Instead ofguessing which element needs attention, process control allows the taking of multiple measurements ofdiffer- ent systems and using that datatofind a common denomi- nator and define the true problem. Thebetter an operator ELIMINATE GUESSWORK, APPLY PROCESS CONTROL • Effective wayto catch issues and errors early in a production run • Analyzes measurements of systems and uses datato findproblems • Leads to higher-qualityproducts and reduces costs associated with qualitycontrol • Technological advancements mean operators don’t need to usepen and paper to logdata • Eliminates need to guess where a problem comes from or what element needs attention 50 FL EXO octoBer 2013 www.flexography.org an X-rite eXactportable spectrophotometer 4thAnnualPlate/ Platemaking/Sleeve Selection Guide 18 FLEXO DECEMBER 2013 www.flexography.org