Flexographers know well the speed of change the industry has seen in the last decade, and if drupa is any indication, that pace shows no sign of relenting. The only thing to do, then, is amass as much knowledge about what’s available today and get ready for what’s coming down the road. That is the basis for Fall Conference 2016, set for Oct. 10-12 at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY. Here, chairs Eric Frank, KBA-Flexotecnica and Sean Teufler, Siegwerk USA, discuss the goals, sessions and what attendees can expect to take away.
FLEXO: Based on its slogan—“Improving Today… Envisioning Tomorrow”—It sounds like Fall Conference 2016 has two goals: To make flexographers’ lives easier now, and prepare them for how their jobs are going to change going forward. What was the thinking behind the theme?
Eric Frank & Sean Teufler: Change comes fast, and printers want to get ahead and make the most out of their process, equipment and personnel. With drupa having just taken place, we thought it was an ideal opportunity to inform the membership of the latest trends and innovations recently introduced in Düsseldorf. This, combined with in depth technical discussions on all aspects of our industry—including The Great Anilox Roll Debate—led to what the market requires: a very balanced program. We believe we have engaged the industry’s leading experts on all subject matter to ensure a valuable meeting for all attendees.
FLEXO: Who are the speakers coming to Louisville and what specifically are they going to touch on to improve today and envision tomorrow?
Frank & Teufler: The speakers are experts in our industry, as well as innovators and solution makers. We will utilize top technical management from industry suppliers as well as the top consultants to address important topics such as training and education. We have focused on new ideas to help printers, training concepts to assist them in getting the most out of their employees and an overall better understanding of the workflow.
FLEXO: Fall Conference kicks off with Flexo Highlights from drupa 2016. What were some of the notable announcements that will be covered?
Frank & Teufler: FTA’s own Mark Cisternino and Joe Tuccitto will discuss their drupa findings, but they’re keeping the specifics close to the vest. You’ll have to be there!
FLEXO: Echoing last year’s record breaking Fall Conference, this year’s also features the 2016 Technical Innovation Award winners and some of their printer customers who are using the technologies. What will they be discussing and what can attendees hope to take away from the session?
Frank & Teufler: This year, we will not only include the recipients of the award but also current users who can talk about how the innovations have increased their productivity and quality. We will also have the moderators engage in a Q&A for further in depth analysis and to speak to how the winning technologies can apply to specific printers’ workflows. Attendees will benefit from the discussions between MacDermid Graphics Solutions, Flint Group and Flexomaid, and the customers whose implementation of these innovations have achieved success.
FLEXO: Who will benefit more from Tuesday’s Developing Productive, Profitable Talent—A Trainer’s Guide to Success session: young industry members or veteran management?
Frank & Teufler: Training can be hard, whether its investing in yourself, your employees or creating a training culture. That’s why we have assembled a panel with different perspectives on developing productive employees within a company, and what they have seen work. Attendees will learn how to keep the momentum going, whether they are just starting out, in the middle of a training initiative, testing what they’ve learned, or trying to maintain implemented concepts after training is finished. As with any program, everyone has an opportunity to learn, but young industry members can discover where there are opportunities to improve their skillsets, while at the same time, veterans can further understand the new methods available for passing on their extensive knowledge. Everyone has a stake in the future. Despite all the promise innovation holds, developing talent is still at the core of success for any business.
FLEXO: Wednesday begins with Envisioning Tomorrow’s Pressroom. Give us a glimpse at what that vision looks like.
Frank & Teufler: This session will give us a look toward 2020, and what new and recently introduced innovations have the potential to become pressroom mainstays. We will also have a discussion on what is a fad vs. a trend and what we see being a niche vs. a mass appeal product. But we don’t want to forget about the workforce: The core of tomorrow’s pressroom consists of the employees. This session is also going to discuss how to get employees engaged and thinking innovatively themselves, as they know your process best. This session will show how to unlock their potential.
FLEXO: Later that day, some intriguing presentations will take place, like The Color Match from Hell and Becoming a Victim of Variation. Those sound exciting; care to elaborate?
Frank & Teufler: As any printer or manager can attest, you want to run the press, not have the press “run” you. Much of what succeeds or fails on press has to do with external influences. Internally, we must master the measurement processes to stay in control. Say, for example, you believe your workflow complies with Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST) but are still having issues with matching both spot and process color. Now what should you do? This session will provide the information you won’t want to miss.