May 9, 2013 – For the 1,600 attendees at Flexographic Technical Association’s 2013 Annual Forum & INFO*FLEX Exhibition last week, April 27-May 1; San Diego, CA) the event hit high marks in terms of agenda, topics, networking, location and venues.
Discussion was interactive, fast-paced and lively. Print production experiences were shared. Results were analyzed. 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 exchanged is far from routine. This year, takeaways were numerous. Best practices were mapped out and detailed. Step-by-step plans for process control, color management, automating workflows and forging flexography's future were developed and shared with all.
The four days (April 28-May 1) passed in a flash. The environment was stimulating. Halls of the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina 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.
Vic Corenflos, Bemis summed up Forum’s technical sessions, “Very relevant. Very much in line with what printers have been challenged with. Love the new concepts and ideas presented –even those that are not yet fully baked.”
At INFO*FLEX, the sold-out show floor spotlighted advancing technologies designed to make printers better and more efficient at what they do. With 205 exhibitors occupying 247 booth spaces, the show once again solidified its reputation as the packaging, printing and converting industry’s most comprehensive networking event in North America. The Solutions Theater, located on the show floor drew in crowds to learn about new advances in platemaking, speed, durability, color control and other pathways to greater profitability.
Additionally, the winning print samples from the 2013 Excellence in Flexography Awards were prominently displayed on the show floor, allowing observers to evaluate the samples and compare them with what they learned at a Forum session dedicated to the awards competition.
On Monday evening, attendees and exhibitors continued their interactions at the heavily attended Social Blues Networking Reception that took place on the outside terrace overlooking the picturesque San Diego Bay.
Paul Sharkey, FLXON, commented "We were very pleased with INFO*FLEX. It generated 15 or 16 very good opportunities that I can't say we would have otherwise identified. It was a strong beginning at a great networking event."
At the exhibitor sign-up desk for INFO*FLEX 2014 (April 29-30) FTA staffers were kept busy with future booth reservations for next year’s Baltimore-bound exhibition, which is already 70 percent sold, with some 80 spaces remaining.
All in all throughout the events, 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.
AboutFTA/FFTA: Flexographic Technical Association (FTA), chartered in 1958, is a professional society dedicated to bringing all members of the flexographic printing community—printers, suppliers, consumer product companies, institutions, prepress houses and others--together by providing opportunities for the free exchange of technical ideas and discussion of mutual concerns. It is a proponent of maintaining and advancing quality standards and includes 1,300 member sites that represent more than 50,000 individuals. Foundation of FTA, founded in 1974, is the educational arm of FTA and is dedicated to supporting and advancing the flexographic printing industry.