Excellence in Flexography Awards

Take a Peek at the 2017 Excellence in Flexography Awards

It’s awards season again. Not the Tony Awards— Hamilton already won all of those. Not the Academy Awards—whether or not you think La La Land got what it deserved, we can all agree the singing was atrocious. And definitely not the Grammy Awards—when was the last time they were relevant? Being the package printing industry, it’s the Excellence in Flexography Awards that are on people’s minds when the calendar rolls over to a new year.

Excellence in Flexography Awards narrow web judging

Nilpeter’s Keith Nagle takes a loupe to one of more than 100 narrow web category entries.

With 12 months passed since the last installment, there has been ample time to see what package printers can do and how much better they can do it. drupa and Labelexpo Americas gave the spotlight to plenty of new machinery, software and consumables— would they be ready for the big stage, and would flexographers be confident enough in their capabilities to put them to the test? With the increasing speed of upgrades and improvements to presses, would there be a seismic shift in the quality of entries? As automation becomes table stakes for efficiency and repeatability, how different could two prints really be? How much is it going to snow?

All of these questions were answered Jan. 28-30 at the Hyatt Regency Long Island, where 30 judges split into groups and set out to determine the level of execution and degree of difficulty of 481 entries. Arguments were heard, lunch breaks were cut short, loupes were shared, evaluations were reevaluated. And that was all before it came time to deliberate medals.

Excellence in Flexography Awards envelope judging

Envelope entries were small in size but big in execution.

After hours of examination, a total of 121 awards were given. Their quantity and type?

  • 6 Best of Show, chosen from the pool of gold medal winning prints
  • 39 gold medals
  • 42 silver medals
  • 37 bronze medals
  • 2 self promotion awards
  • 1 non traditional award

The total is up nearly 10 percent from last year. And as judges find the quality of entries increasing, so too do they find more to say about what makes each print worthy of an award:

  • “Very nice job with achieving solid black background while keeping screen areas open”
  • “Beautiful spot simulations”
  • “Great ink laydown, very sharp text and excellent tonal range. Overall, a great job”
  • “Screening was done exceptionally well. Great ink coverage. Excellent registration”
  • “Way to hold the small stuff!”
  • “Impressive resolutions and security text/fine type around the bar code. The copy is incredible”

The winners in the Excellence in Flexography Awards will be announced at Forum, as they always are. Last year, the time between previewing the winners and revealing them was mercifully short, as drupa 2016 pushed Forum up to just under two months after the judging.

Things are back to normal in 2017, however, which means there’s nothing left to do but wait, and wait, and wait. Forum 2017 kicks off Sunday, April 30 at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix in Phoenix, AZ, and it’s that night, at the Awards Banquet, where the name of each winning printer will be read. Responses run the gamut, from the mild mannered clap to an entire table jumping out of its chairs.

Then, for the duration of INFO*FLEX—held two blocks over at the Phoenix Convention Center from May 1-2—all 120 winners will be displayed in the Awards Gallery. It’s a great opportunity to admire your own work, size up the competition and both appreciate how far flexography has come, as well as where it can still go.

FLXcvr_Mar16Who Won the 2016 Excellence in Flexography Awards Competition?

Medal recipients delivered vividly sharp images, tight registration, consistent repeats, proof to print matching, attention to detail and stellar overall execution. All told, 110 medals and awards were endowed, consisting of 38 Gold, 36 Silver, 34 Bronze, 6 Best of Show, given to the very best gold medal winning entries, 1 Self Promotion award, and 1 Non-Traditional award.

Taking home “Best of Show” honors in the 2016 Excellence in Flexography Awards were:

  • Sunshine FPC Inc., for its Extraordinary Fruit Co. Roast Figs and Apricots Wrapper
  • Sunshine FPC Inc., for its Jewelled Nougat Delights Wrapper
  • McDowell Label, for its Performix Ion Multi-Phase Pre-Workout Dietary Supplement Label
  • WestRock CP, LLC, for its Saris SUPERBones Rack Box
  • International Paper Co., for its Diamond of California Nut Display Bin
  • Mac Papers Envelope Converters Inc. for its Domtar Business is Blooming Envelope

Find all the details in FLEXO Magazine’s March 2016 issue


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