Fall Conference 2019 logo

October 28-30
Charlotte, NC

Flexography in 2019 is all about efficiency—getting product out the door quicker, while producing less waste and continuing to raise the bar on quality. Mistakes are even more costly, as they not only generate scrap but also slow down production on other jobs.

The phrase “time is money” comes to mind, and those three words have been the guiding principle behind the planning of Fall Conference 2019. Here, Program Chair Keith Nagle of Phoseon Technology shares with FLEXO Magazine what to expect from Fall Conference’s eight technical sessions, the event’s demo print job and how it will be run live on a virtual reality press, what to expect at the Tabletop Exhibit and more.

The Conference

Fall Conference 2019 Chair Keith Nagle

FLEXO Magazine: The phrase “Time Is Money” has applications in just about every industry. When applied to Fall Conference 2019 as the event’s theme, what is it trying to get across?

Keith Nagle: One of the things you’ll notice if you spend time in today’s pressrooms is there’s a significant amount of avoidable downtime. There are processes that can be implemented in prepress, production, finishing, quality control and maintenance to minimize the potential for unnecessary downtime. At Fall Conference 2019, we will take you on a journey from prepress to finished product and show the proper steps to ensure you’re maximizing your profit through efficient process control.

FLEXO: How will the eight technical sessions spread across Fall Conference 2019’s three days reinforce that message?

Nagle: To many converters, the processes we talk about in Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST) are either not understood, or understood and poorly implemented. When read in a manual, while well written, process instruction and implementation can also be left to interpretation without understanding the impact on your daily operation.

Each of the Fall Conference 2019 sessions will walk through the process and explain the impact to be had on your daily operation, to give a clear understanding of why each step is necessary.

FLEXO: This year’s Fall Conference is project-focused and will follow the creation of a high-quality, flexographically printed piece. What can you say about the print job?

Nagle: I can say I’m excited to bring together a talented team of industry peers to replicate the cover of FLEXO Magazine. The job on paper would appear not very challenging, but understanding the journey we will go through and how the properly followed steps will allow us to duplicate an offset-printed magazine cover using today’s flexo capabilities will be of high value.

FLEXO: What are the benefits of framing an entire event around that piece? How will it impact the attendees’ experience?

Nagle: I believe with a singular focus, a technical conference has the ability to communicate important process information while keeping the audience focused. You won’t necessarily look at the schedule before the conference to pick and choose which sessions to attend because they all bring valuable information that culminates with a successfully printed piece.

FLEXO: In several of the technical sessions, an experienced press operator (Clemson University’s Bobby Congdon) will teach a new industry member (Daetwyler’s Christopher Teachout) how to perform basic tasks with a virtual reality press right on stage. Who stands to gain more from this kind of setup: Younger audience members or the seasoned flexographers in the crowd?

Nagle: Technical tools benefit both industry rookies and veterans alike. Imagine being able to strap in a new printer and give them time on press without the risk of injury. How about the financial impact of on-press training when it relates to press time or substrate, plate and ink costs? What if you had the ability to take an industry veteran and pre-train the individual on a new press your company just bought? When the press is delivered and installed in 12 weeks, coupled with that operator’s experience and virtual training, the plant can expect a much clearer startup and implementation.