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FLEXO Magazine : February 2014
PUBLISHER’S INK Inspiring Insights Numbers are everywhere. Projections are positive. Sales trendlines are pointing up. Analysts agree—packaging demand is skyrocketing. As a result, productivity is on the rise and profitability is escalat- ing. Bottom lines are booming, with the forecast being, “No end in sight.” No matter who we ask—Smithers Pira, Markets and Markets, The Freedo- nia Group, PCI Consultants, Canadean, Alexander Watson and Associates; and of course, FTA printer members— growth is being charted. Momentum is on our side. It has been for the past few years and it’s looking like it will remain there for quite a while. As you’ll see from the series of fore- casts folded into this month’s Pressing Issues section—largely focused on flexible packaging and bag, pouch and sleeve formats—analysts’ insights often run parallel, closely approximate one and other and place expectations within a definitive range of results. To no surprise, they don’t match exactly. Reason being: study scopes differ, start dates and out year end time frames vary; definitions of “pack- aging” or “flexible packaging” vary in breadth and depth. Some are limited to “c onverted packaging, “others printed “packaging.” T hen, there are those that embrace the raw materials and their applications. At times, the specifics are limited to geographic regions. In other instances, the statisticians prefer to present a global perspective. Data, as collected and collated, is ours to appreciate. And, we should do just that. Every- thing being said bodes well for our CENTRAL IMPRESSIONS Printing Passion Ithink it was around 3 p.m . on Mon- day afternoon when it hit me. I was in the Grand Historic Venue in Balti- more, MD for day two of FTA’s Excel- lence in Flexography Awards judging. Most panels had finished evaluating their categories and wrapped up gold, silver and bronze medal deliberations. But in the rear of the room, adjacent to a small wedding chapel where a wall sized painting of Jesus Christ over- looked the proceedings, a group had gathered to debate if any of the entries in a particular category deserved a gold medal. The conversation was spirited and occasionally heated. For a newcomer to the world of flexography, it was exciting if not a bit over my head, like watching a tennis match and not knowing the rules. But taken with everything in the two days that preceded it—organizing the entries, meeting judges, observing the scoring on Sunday and Monday—that conversation made me appreciate the world of flexography in a different way than I have grown to since starting at FLEXO® last August. In that time, I ’ve started looking at packaging—really looking at it—and becoming aware of the massive industry that produces it. An industry valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars. I can’t wrap my head around that amount any more than I can the engineering and sorcery that makes something like the Bobst F&K 20SIX I saw at MRI Flexible Packaging last December churn out thousands of feet of finished product without skipping a beat. 10 FLEXO FEBRUARY 2014 www.flexography.org FTA TODAY