Forum Sessions in Detail

March 6-9, 2016 | Omni Fort Worth | Fort Worth, TX


Free Preconference: Corral the Processes, Ride the Workflow

The FQC Preconference session will provide attendees with a simplified understanding of how to match concept expectations with final output. Experts and practitioners will explain and demonstrate the roles and activities of brand owners, design artists, prepress and press personnel. Simplification of ISO 16761-2 combined with CRPC (Characterized Reference Printing Condition) profiles will provide the roadmap for definitions and procedures used to work smarter and work less to increase profits. You’ll see how to implement the PDF workflow using standard procedures as we walk through the process using simple tools in live demonstrations in order to enable accurate and precise communication—both locally and globally. The FQC preconference has an open, interactive format providing participants a broad perspective on technologies universally impacting flexographic printing. Plan to learn and be motivated.

Chairs: Sam Ingram, Clemson University and Jean Jackson, Graymills Corp.

Understanding the Customer FIRST

Get inside the minds of your customers—the print buyers—and learn exactly what they expect in terms of print quality. Representatives from powerhouse brands such as General Mills and Snyder’s-Lance will be on hand to share their perspectives and print requirements so that you understand what issues need to be addressed within your own plant. Then, join us as we explore how those expectations tie back to FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances). This is a great opportunity to hear directly from your customers and learn what others are doing in terms of print quality, data collection, and data utilization.  

Chairs: Robb Frimming, Schawk and John Gleich, GROUP360 Worldwide

Taking an Active Role in Print Quality Continuous Improvement
Gail Wong, General Mills, Inc.
General Mills takes an active role in reviewing print quality with their printer value chain and feels that the printer/converter should “own” the process of print quality continuous improvement. General Mills also wants their value chain to work toward industry standards, specifications and certifications to achieve a common denominator across many suppliers. Gail Wong will discuss philosophies and expectations regarding print quality management. This client perspective will be invaluable for all attendees.

Expectations in Print Quality Management
Jay Bradish, Snyder’s-Lance Inc.
Snyder’s-Lance packaging expectations are part of a continuous improvement process. All packaging print is reviewed for brand consistency across multiple printers, substrates and specifications. New industry technology is discussed and tested to provide opportunities for constant enhancement. Final packaging is evaluated by the marketing and procurement teams against established, posted standards. Join us as we explore this print buyer’s expectations regarding print quality management—after all, another client perspective will be beneficial for all attendees.

Hall of Fame Panel

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a leader, innovator or pioneer in the flexographic industry? Join us for this interactive and unique Q&A session where we will delve into how our FTA Hall of Fame inductees developed excellence in their lives…both personally and in the lives of those around them. Learn from them the strategies that you can employ to succeed in your career and carry the torch as the next generation of industry leadership.

Panelists: Al Bowers, RR Donnelley; J. Page Crouch, Clemson University; Arleen Neustein, New Excelsior Inc.; and Bruce Riddell, Spectrum Label

Chairs: Howard Vreeland, Jr., Anderson & Vreeland, Inc. and Nathan Plavnick, Esko

New Tools for Your Prepress Workflows

Powerful new tools for communicating, controlling, predicting, and optimizing color are on their way to your electronic prepress workflow. While color profiling is routine, getting the most out of profiles for expanded gamut is challenging. And, while we have new ways to communicate color, what does this mean for halftone values of spot colors? Hear three industry experts provide illuminating presentations on these important topics for the prepress workflow.

Chairs: Catherine Haynes, All Printing Resources, Inc. and Brad Taylor, DuPont Packaging Graphics

Color Communication Across the Silos
Ray Cheydleur, X-Rite
Color is a fundamental factor in the creation of almost all products. Accurate color communication starts with a good color specification. Traditionally, this has been done using a physical standard. The globalization of value supply chains has inevitably created added challenges in the communication and control of color. The use of digital color communication throughout the supply chain has therefore become an absolute necessity. To help solve this issue, ISO TC130 has formally adopted the CxF/X file format in the ISO 17972 series of standards that is designed to accurately and unambiguously communicate all commercially relevant aspects of color across production stages, devices, applications and geographies. This presentation serves as an introduction to what CxF/X is…and what it is not.

What Does a 50% Pantone 281 Look Like?
John Seymour, QuadTech
A designer specifies a package using spot colors, complete with halftones. How do the colors get communicated from the designer’s head to the converter? If we are dealing with CMYK, we have a well-defined way to communicate the color of halftones, and ways to verify that the appropriate color has been printed. But, for a variety of reasons, these methods do not always work for spot colors. Recently developed standards facilitate the communication of color, including CxF and PDF/X. A method for the measurement of spot color halftones was developed by the SCHMO (Spot Color Halftone Metric Optimization) committee, and is on its way to becoming an ISO standard. A variety of proprietary software is available that predicts the color of a spot color with halftone proofing. This presentation will survey the state of the art for ensuring that the halftone of a spot color is correct.

Expanded Gamut Color Profiles – A Deep Dive
Mark Samworth, Esko
It’s been said, and some would say proven, that your expanded gamut color accuracy is no better than your expanded gamut color profiles. But what makes a good seven color profile? Do the rules of CMYK ICC profiles apply to seven color expanded gamut profiles? How many points should be in the target? What color combinations? How many targets should I measure? Should we smooth the data or leave in its natural state? Should I adjust the data with curves, as is done with a virtual press run of profile synchronizing technology? Will the industry ever agree on a standard target or target logic so that I don’t have to run a different press test for every customer I have? Join us as we take an in-depth look at these questions and more!

2016 Flexo Game Changers

From the plate room to the press room: Take a look at how revolutionary technologies in flexography have enabled leading printers and trade shops to increase production, maintain quality print results, lower costs, and minimize waste—basically everything any successful flexographer strives for! Hear firsthand how trade shops and printers maintain their innovative edge—which sometimes means pushing the boundaries in wide web, narrow web, and corrugated printing.

Chairs: Nicole Ross, Kodak and Joel Engelberth, Esko

From Pretender to Contender…How Constant Evolution Has Changed the Game
Paul Lancelle, Kodak
Come along as we take a journey through the evolution of the flexographic printing process. On the way, we’ll highlight some of the major technological changes that have advanced the printing process considerably, leading to the question: “Has flexo driven the advancement in packaging, or has packaging driven the advancement of flexo?” With this in mind, the presentation will focus on how evolving consumer wants and needs have impacted packaging design; and how the growth of flexo printing has coincided with these trends. We’ll conclude with a summary of the key components involved as we look forward to flexo maintaining, and gaining, upon it’s competitive advantage.

Game Changing Technologies in Platemaking & Media
David Smith, Cyber Graphics
The flexo plate has experienced a veritable renaissance in recent years. Many new technologies have advanced virtually every facet of the platemaking process, starting with the raw material itself. From specialty plate developments to flat top dots to new plate making innovations to high-resolution digital imaging—these have all combined forces to push flexo print quality to new heights. Add to that exposure devices, including traditional UV and LED UV, which have broken new ground in energy output and consistency. Plus, new plate processing systems have made great strides in print quality, consistency, and throughput. What’s more, innovations throughout the workflow have begun to push the envelope in automation, eliminating inconsistent manual processes and replacing previously disconnected processes with integrated systems. This presentation will explore the impact that these game-changing technologies can make for printers, CPCs, and pre media service providers alike.

Game Changers
Bart Wright, InterFlex Group
What has changed over the past five years? What new technology is disruptive, evolutional, and affordable? We’ll discuss the different variables involved in printing, talk about advances that have been made to the process, and examine where we’re headed in the future. Topics will cover the full spectrum of flexo game changers, including plates, inks, tapes, seals, doctor blades, presses, and inspection equipment.

What’s Next for Corrugated Printing?
Kevin McLaughlin, Flexo Concepts
Since the 1960s, corrugated printing has evolved from simple logistics to eye-catching, promotional packaging, complete with SKUs and tracking information. This means that new technologies are required to meet the growing graphics and customization demands placed on the industry. At the same time, printers are faced with constant pressure to get the job done fast and affordably. We’ll look at the innovations that are currently making an impact in the corrugated sector, including those that are on the verge of reshaping the market itself. A special emphasis will be placed on advancements in inks, ink delivery, drying and curing systems, and digital printing technologies.

LED Curing, Today’s Narrow Web Flexo Quick Change Presses. What’s New?
John Crammer, Best Label
LED…its time is NOW! The way we used to think about inks with conventional UV no longer applies. Those typically lengthy curing times you might encounter with deep colors and heavy opaques are actually where LED thrives! Attend and learn how conventional UV is a thing of the past, as today’s quick change presses compete in both short and long runs. Learn about how new, narrow web LED curing technologies can translate into faster production, improved sustainability and cheaper operating costs. This is a new marketplace and a true game changer!

FQC: Preparing for the Future

The Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC) session is all about research and this session in particular is all about highlighting research that prepares the industry for its future challenges. Those challenges include evolving industry standards, to be reported out by the FQC Standards Working Group, and understanding the industry’s accomplishments in print quality improvements, the focus of the FQC High Resolution Printing Team project. The research also comes from the brightest students studying the latest in Stochastic Screening or Smart Ink Technology and from an industry leading company that will share how Six Sigma implementation can dramatically help any plant successfully improve production processes. This session will help prepare you for the future by knowing where you are today and how to get where you want to be tomorrow. 

Chairs: Jean Engelke, RR Donnelley and Pam Dorrough, 3M

High Resolution Printing Part B: Performance Comparison
Ann Michaud, 3M and Alex James, Kodak
The High Resolution Printing project will be presenting the findings from Part B: Print Performance Comparison. The objective is to gain an understanding of the industry’s accomplishments in print quality improvements through the use of currently available technology that has evolved over the past several years.

FQC Standards Working Group (SWG) Report
Danny Rich, Sun Chemical Corp.
The Standards Working Group (SWG) has been working all year to make sure our industry voice is heard throughout the world. The SWG update will summarize those standards, provide an update on their status and make sure attendees know how they affect the work we do every day.

Implementing Flat Top, Stochastic Screening for Flexography Using High Resolution Plate Imaging Technology
Jason Cagle, Clemson University
Back in the early 90’s Stochastic screening was the exciting new way to eliminate highlight breaks (I wouldn’t really know, I wasn’t even born yet!) But when you take one step forward, you often take two steps back. Stochastic screening may have eliminated the highlight break, but it created graininess in the mid-tones. With all the new imaging techniques and flat top exposures, can we go “Back to The Future” and have Stochastic screening rise from the ashes and solve our problems (again) through an expanded gamut protocol?

Smart Ink for Flexographic Printing
Bilge Altay, Western Michigan University
There is a big market demand for active and smart packaging, like those derived from printing on various flexible substrates (i.e. printed electronics). While flexography can print flexible circuits, sensors and switches, the lack of variety in ink formulations or even case studies to learn to make the production more cost effective is apparent. Typical metallic-based conductive inks not only come with high prices but many succumb to oxidation and corrosion as well. What if a lower cost, more stable alternative was formulated from a water-based flexographic ink to help reduce these concerns? The research is in, come learn what I found.

Six Sigma Application for Process Improvement
Tracinda A. Yaw, 3M
What happens when an organization adopts and applies Lean Six Sigma methodology to each of its key processes throughout the company—all businesses, all functions, and all geographies—and ties it to these areas as a corporate priority and focus? This presentation details what happens when Lean Six Sigma is utilized in every facet of a business, including Sales and Marketing, Accounts Receivable, Sourcing, Finance and Production. Find out what really happens when you follow these strategies in your own plant or company, whether at a single location or as global enterprise.

Enhancing Digital Print with Flexography

We live in a digital world—virtually everything has been reduced to bits and bytes, with new machines being developed daily to translate that data in new and better ways. Printing technologies are no different and rapid advances in “competing” technologies are driving the industry into a new frontier. But what happens when two technologies are used in tandem? Can the whole be more that the sum of its parts? This session is geared toward those who are looking for the best of both worlds—the speed, efficiency and repeatability of flexo, and the unique variability and flexibility offered by digital printing. Join us for a comprehensive session that looks at where digital print and flexo are today, and see how combining these two technologies can result in a truly amazing and profitable future!

Chairs: Andy Knapp, Flint Group Flexographic Products and John Hickey, Domino Printing Sciences

The Power Duo: How Digital Solutions Enhance a Flexographic Platform
Mike Gore, Discount Labels
Trends in consumer packaging and security demand unprecedented innovation and agility from today’s leading label manufacturers. In this session, you’ll learn how one of America’s largest custom label printers has been integrating digital solutions into its flexo operations to exceed customer expectations for quality while optimizing plant economics.

Introducing New to the Old: How a 120-Year Old Flexo Company Embraced Digital
Sharon Zampogna, McCourt Label
The transition from a medium to long-run flexographic house to one that now encompasses short-run digital jobs is an interesting journey and one that affects every department in the company. There are more jobs to service, proof, produce, wind, ship and bill. In order to remain competitive and continue to grow and thrive, digital printing is a necessary addition to your printing arsenal. Attend and understand why.

Flexo International – 60 Minutes Around the World

If there’s one business topic with staying power, it’s the impact of globalization. In today’s integrated world, your clients aren’t necessarily your next-door neighbors—they can hail from far away distances like Hong Kong, Berlin or Santiago! This means you need to become “internationally oriented.” You need to understand the growth areas and trends in other parts of the world so you can capitalize on new business opportunities. You need to know about the different technologies, practices and sustainability initiatives that are used in various geographies. You need to understand the vast cultural distinctions that impact employee attitudes, educational systems and career paths. This session will explore all of the above in a captivating “talk show” format. Our panel of international experts will field probing questions, dispel common misconceptions, and offer keen insights into the global flexographic print process. Give us 60 minutes and we’ll give you the world!

Panelists: Juan Bermudez, Harper Corporation of America; Birgit Plautz, GMG Americas; David Recchia, MacDermid Printing Solutions; and Lilian Robayo, El Empaque-Conversion

Chairs: Alex James, Kodak and Marek Skrzynski, CSW

Direct Engraving: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

Direct engraving has been around the flexo industry for many years. However, today’s laser technologies combined with today’s consumables make this one of the most progressive plating processes available. Join us as Steve, Johnny and their team of industry experts explore where direct engraving technology has been and where it’s going, all while exploring its unique capabilities for enhancing the image carriers of tomorrow.

Panelists: Cris Apley, Cyber Graphics; Brian Cummins, Luscher Technologies AG; Paul Zeinert, Anderson & Vreeland, Inc.; Nick Brunk, Kodak;  Hans Siebke, HELL Gravure Systems; Brendan Pollard, Applied Laser Engineering; and Adam Smrdel, Carey Color Inc.

Chairs: Steve Smiley, SmileyColor & Associates and Johnny Stamey, Daetwyler Corp.

Flexography 101: Define It! 

A wise flexographic guru once said, “You must understand it, before you can control it!” Okay, maybe that never happened, but the statement still holds truth. If you want a firm grasp of the fundamental concepts and core terminology of the flexographic process, this session will provide it. Topics include: market segments, press types, and all major press components along with their impact on print quality. At the end of the session you’ll have a significantly elevated understanding of the overall flexographic process and will be able to communicate and execute flexo concepts like a true master.

Chairs: Zachery Blackburn, Central Piedmont Community College and Shawn Oetjen, AWT Labels & Packaging

How Does It Work? Flexographic Presses and Print Stations
Shawn Oetjen, AWT Labels & Packaging
What separates a flexographic press from a letterpress or an offset press? The major components of a flexographic print station and their purposes will be defined in this presentation, including metering rolls, anilox rolls, plate cylinders and impression cylinders. The main components can be arranged slightly differently, thus creating the four main press configurations in the flexographic market. A review of each press configuration, what market segments they serve, and their strengths and limitations will be discussed.

Understanding Aniloxes and the Vital Relationship with the Metering System
Sean Teufler, Harper Corporation of America
When we speak of flexography, we speak of the fundamental relationship of ink transfer from anilox to plate to substrate. The combination of anilox and metering system is the beginning of our printing and can become your greatest stumbling block in the process when not understood and executed properly. Everything must go just right in this initial process or you will not be able to create the desired print. Ink and plate technology, in spite of all their advances, cannot function without the foundation the anilox and metering system provide. Tune in to learn the fundamentals of aniloxes, gain a greater understanding of the metering systems and how they are supposed to work, and how to optimize the shear of the blade. We’re going to emphasize the importance of proper anilox selection in the terms of dot support for process, the need to maintain the required volume through cleaning and how to verify cell condition. We’ll then discuss blade basics, the extremely vital setup for metering of the anilox with the blade system, and how to achieve a smooth meter with light pressure for long lasting and consistent ink film thickness. We’ll conclude by explaining when it’s time to change the blade.

Ink Basics: Water-Based, UV, Solvent & What They Print On
Keith Nagle, ACTEGA WIT
Get your press operators back to running the press and away from playing press side chemist! While chemistries have gotten friendlier over the years, ink is often the cause of pressroom headaches. This presentation will help you gain a better understanding of the components in Water-based, UV and Solvent inks, including how to maintain them and how they should perform in a controlled environment. Along with inks. we’ll touch on the core substrates used in today’s flexo shops.

The Plate Package: Fundamentals of Image Carrier & Mounting Tape
Zachery Blackburn, Central Piedmont Community College
This presentation will reinforce your fundamental understanding of plates and mounting tape. We’ll learn about plate materials, forms, the different parts, the stages of platemaking and how they impact consistency and quality in our prints. We’ll also take a look at measuring and quantifying the plate for further process control. Next, we’ll explore a variable that is commonly overlooked—mounting tape. We’ll discuss how to improve your print quality based on your selection of mounting tapes, and explain a few cautionary tales that can prevent problems when mounting your plates. You’ll leave armed with a stronger understanding of these two major variables of the print process and be able to apply what you’ve learned to improve your overall print quality and repeatability.

Flexography 102: Control It!

Are you having trouble reproducing the same print from job to job? Do you find it challenging to consistently meet client expectations with regards to print quality? Are you looking for ways to reduce costs and needless expenditures? If so, this session is a must attend. Join us as we walk you through the necessary steps to help you take control of your print. See what happens when you introduce FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances) methodology into an uncontrolled print process. Learn the basics of calibration, optimization, fingerprinting, and characterization from the FIRST perspective. This new level of understanding will lead you right where you need to be—higher quality print, more satisfied clients, and a heftier bottom line!

Chairs: Zachery Blackburn, Central Piedmont Community College and Shawn Oetjen, AWT Labels & Packaging

Getting Control of Process Control: Tools You Need in Your Pressroom
Zachery Blackburn, Central Piedmont Community College and Shawn Oetjen, AWT Labels & Packaging
I’m sure you’re familiar with a ruler, but how about a loupe or a spectrophotometer? This presentation will define what tools you need in your pressroom to run in a calibrated state. Most of these tools are easy to use and understand once you have a fundamental knowledge of their purpose. With just a few quick measurements you can quantify your variables to ensure that proper procedures are followed. Using these tools everyday will lead to a more efficient and profitable workflow.

Optimization: How to Get From Here to There
PJ Fronczkiewicz, Flint Group
“The goal of the optimization process is to identify the best combination of print variables to achieve the design requirements”, or so says FTA’s FIRST 5.1. Optimization is the foundational step for building a well-oiled flexo machine. Here is where you test and make the decisions regarding what plate to use, what anilox to use, what ink to use, what tape to use, etc. It takes some effort, but in the end you are creating a recipe book for successfully printing any job that may come your way. Attend and hear the in’s and out’s of the optimization process including when, why and how to do it. You’ll learn something new, or at the very least, you’ll confirm that you are doing things correctly!

Mark Mazur
Fingerprinting is best described as calibration. To calibrate any device one needs to understand the current state and the desired state of that device. When the topic is printing, the device is the press and the desired state are established industry standards. We will discuss how and what we measure and what standards make the most sense for your applications. In addition, we’ll discuss the benefits of the Birkett-Spontelli Colorimetric Tone Value equation compared to the Murray-Davies equation…and while this might not sound so exciting, you have my guarantee that if you attend, you’ll pick up a few valuable takeaways and have a good time doing it!

Automating Characterization: Nope, it’s Not the Same as Fingerprinting
Tim Reece, All Printing Resources, Inc.
Several years ago, I heard a general manager refer to a scheduled press characterization as “hocus-pocus” or “technical mumbo-jumbo”. Since then, I believe most of us have accepted this process as a necessary means to reproduce customer approved artwork. But while the process is accepted, why do we still sometimes stumble? How do we identify potential pitfalls? Can automation magnify the efficiency, or would it only magnify the inefficiency of an imperfect system? If we only had a list of specific, unknown problems we will encounter, we could execute the characterization process flawlessly. In order for the characterization process to improve, do we wait for advancements in technology, or do we look toward improving the system?

Putting It All Together: Process Control & Improvement
Zachery Blackburn, Central Piedmont Community College and Shawn Oetjen, AWT Labels & Packaging
I don’t need to measure; I have been doing this for years. If a repeatable print is your goal, then you want to be able to understand how to monitor your process. We will compare an uncalibrated set of variables to a set that was developed using the FIRST methodology. In this comparison, you will discover that developing a structured plan for your workflow that includes measurement and documentation will lead to far superior quality and repeatability. One small variation or change in your process can alter the entire results. Controlling and improving your process is everyone’s duty in a facility, from a bindery operator to the plant manager. This presentation is beneficial for anyone working in the flexography industry.

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