Forum 2018 logoForum 2018 took place May 6-9—in Indianapolis, IN. Much like the annual race for which the city is known, fans (in this case, package printers, suppliers, premedia personnel and all manner of flexographer) flocked from all corners of the map. The four days of technical and educational sessions, from the starting pistol Sunday afternoon to the final lap on Wednesday morning, delivered on the event’s pledge to synchronize processes, people and potential.

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Technical Sessions

Sunday

Early arrivals to Forum 2018 were treated to a highly focused panel discussion in “Purchasing Printing/Converting Equipment: Flexo’s New Market Scenario.” Emphasis was placed on continually advancing technology, hybridization, automation, and marrying existing and new talent to an ever-evolving production environment. The Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC) session, “Cultivating Our Future Through Research,” officially kicked off the event and featured a look at promising initiatives, student research presentations, the Phoenix Challenge and international standards impacting flexographers. “Culture Eats Strategy: Strategic and Cultural Alignment” examined different types of company culture, how culture impacts day-to-day operations as well as long-term strategic plans, and how a company implements a culture throughout each level of its organizational structure.

Monday

It’s no secret flexography has come a long way since its inception, but far from standing still, flexo is continuing to evolve and is doing so at a faster pace than at any point in its history. “New Capabilities: Look at Flexo Now!” took a closer look at what the print process is capable of in 2018, spotlighted some of the latest technologies powering its growth and offered a glimpse at what continued innovation will enable in the future. What can expanded gamut do today? That was the driving question behind “Expanded Gamut: Where Are We Now?” which offered a look at its history, recent growth, and new technologies will continue to push the process’ capabilities and further its adoption. And there are a number of elements to consider when it comes to packaging design. How is one design chosen over another, and how can flexographers meet their clients’ expectations? “Taming Consumer Behavior Through Packaging Design,” included a panel of industry experts that discussed why brand owners make certain choices, the value of customer research and the role of flexographers in the whole process.

Tuesday

Demonstrating Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST) in use on a real-world packaging job has been the guiding idea behind some of FTA’s most memorable individual presentations and even entire conferences. FIRST in Motion – Wide Web Project” took the beloved approach and moved it to new territory, following the soup-to-nuts of a wide web, flexible packaging job. “Press Approval Match Game” detailed the typical complications that lead to miscommunication and how to deal with them, exploring avenues to avoid pitfalls and eliminate creative intent on press, establishing mutual expectations between the brand owner and printer on deliverables, and defining objective measurement and reporting while utilizing instrumentation to ease the approval process. And press technologies are continuing to advance. For the direct print market, this means expectations are rising and printers must understand how those technologies can improve business. “Advanced Corrugated Technologies: A Business Case” offered a look at some of the latest press technologies for corrugated printers.

Wednesday

Forum 2018’s final session, “Troubleshooting Survival Guide,” provided a comprehensive look at six common and persistent problems faced by flexographers—dirty print, slurred print, poor solids, matching color, high dot gain and chatter/banding/bouncing—with solutions for both immediate and long-term fixes.

INFOFLEX 2018

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The intertwining of package printing and converting technologies. The chance to see the products and services available from hundreds of package printing solutions providers. The ability to touch, in person, equipment covering every step of a modern workflow. To take the theme of Forum 2018—“Bringing It All Together: Synchronizing Processes, People and Potential”—and witness it play out on a sold-out show floor. These are the reasons flexographers from across the country and around the world came to INFOFLEX 2018.

FTA Emerging Leaders Golf Outing

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The Third Annual FTA Emerging Leaders Golf Outing teed off on Saturday, May 5, one day before the start of Forum 2018. Indianapolis’ Eagle Creek Golf Club was the setting for an afternoon that consisted of 18 holes with great weather, catching up with colleagues and making new acquaintances, and supporting emerging leaders, as all net proceeds from the event are invested into various FTA initiatives to support the future leaders of the industry.

FTA Awards Banquet

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At the FTA Awards Banquet on Sunday night, many of the industry’s highest accolades were presented. Before a crowd of hundreds, honors were handed out to individuals, companies and packages. They included:

Monday Evening Social

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Following day two of Forum 2018 and the end of day one of INFOFLEX 2018, attendees enjoyed the Monday Evening Social. This year’s event was conveniently located indoors (no sweating in the sun!) a short walk from Hall H of the Indiana Convention Center (no complicated route to follow!). Free hors d’oeuvres were plentiful and with more bars than ever before, there was almost no time to think up a drink order before reaching the bartender (no lines!).

Food Truck Tuesday

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All registered Forum attendees, INFOFLEX attendees and INFOFLEX exhibitors were invited to take part in a free lunch Tuesday afternoon, with a voucher for an entrée, side and drink from a host of local food trucks, including Citizen Hash, Johnson’s BBQ, Byrne’s Grilled Pizza, The Grub House, Chef Dan’s, The Legendary Kitchen, Der Pretzel Wagen and Serendipity.

Forum 2019 Heads to New Orleans
Forum returns to The Big Easy for the first time in 22 years, May 5-8 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

Thanks to Forum 2018’s Sponsors

Diamond Sponsors