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FLEXO Magazine : March 2014
PUBLISHER’S INK Progress & Persistence It’s not every day that a group of suppliers, representing all the essentials of the printing process, band together to tackle tough questions. Namely: • How much more waste can be driven out of packaging print? • What can be done to further expedite setup? • Is further simplifying makeready going to assist printers in improving uptime? • Maximum efficiency at minimum cost—are continuous improvement efforts really benefiting quality, consistency and profitability? And, most importantly, “What’s next?” We salute them and all like minded flexographic print proponents on their persistence. Clearly it’s translated into progress. Today, people are talking of 10 minutes or less downtime between jobs, making plate changes on the fly, deploying fixed ink sets, calibrating the press to a select set of variables and bringing package print production much closer to a turnkey operation. A cadre of executives, hailing from Nuova GIDUE, Flint Group, Apex Group of Companies, Esko, DuPont and UPM Raflatac are now looking to optimize flexo print by digitalization of the whole manufacturing process. They promise to be ambitious. On the table for what’s dubbed the “REVO,” or “Digital Flexo Revolution” project (page 19): a goal of 90 percent uptime, lower anilox roll inventories, less than 300-ft. substrate waste on startup, reduced energy consumption, standardized screen sets, limitless colors and a delivery date of May 2014. CENTRAL IMPRESSIONS What Do You Do? Igraduated college with degrees in journalism and economics. After finishing school I spent a year at a lo- cal newspaper as an intern and another three as a staff writer. Then I worked as a researcher at an investigation compa- ny—have a few drinks with me at Forum and I’ll tell you some weird stories—and then as a hyperlocal magazine editor. Then I joined FTA. All of this is to say that flexography is not my first language. So when I took the job at FTA, one of the more difficult aspects was explaining to laypeople what my new employer does: “ You know how there are trade asso- ciations for different industries?” “ T here are?” “ Yeah, and I work at the Flexographic Technical Association—FTA—which is like the trade association for the printed packaging industry.” “It is?” “ Yep—well, part of it. Flexography is one of several printing processes, but it’s the one that’s most widely used.” “It is?” “By a lot. So FTA publishes a maga- zine once a month for its members, and it has articles on new technologies and different processes and industry news; stuff like that. ” “It does?” “In print and online. And I edit all of the content. I also write a column now!” “...OK?” I don’t fault anyone for not dying to know more. In my pre FLEXO® days, the only time I deliberately thought about printed packaging was while I was shopping, and the thoughts were 6 FLEXO MARCH 2014 www.flexography.org FTA TODAY