Bringing the Year Together: FTA, Flexography & the Industry Continued to Grow in 2018

2018 Year in Review

The phrase “Bringing It All Together” may have only applied to the four days of Forum 2018—after all, that was its official theme. But the idea extended both before and after the early May event, with flexographers seeing it play out during the entire year.

From Forum and INFOFLEX in May, to Labelexpo Americas in September and Fall Conference in October, webinars, magazine articles, networking events and meet-ups, there were plenty of industry happenings to attend to see the latest and greatest technologies, and to meet the experts who make it all happen.

And as demonstrated just about everywhere this year, flexography continued to be a dominating force—companies sought new technologies as a means to enhance their capabilities, streamline processes, improve performance and cut waste while maintaining and even increasing quality.

Here’s an overview of 2018 and what it meant to flexographers, flexography and the Association helping to push them forward.

FTA logo

Association Happenings

Eager to take advantage of all that an FTA membership has to offer, more than 100 companies joined the Association’s ranks.

As happens every year, the FTA Board of Directors and FFTA Board of Trustees saw new names added, while others were removed (their terms completed and contributions acknowledged at Forum). Doug Bartlett, Jeff Dietz and Jennye Scott joined the boards, entering their first term. Other changes included:

  • Alexander James was named FFTA board chair
  • Kim Madigan was named vice chair/printers/converters/CPCs
  • Howard B Vreeland, Jr. was named vice chair, suppliers
  • Jean Engelke was named FFTA chair-elect
  • Geoff Roznak was named FFTA vice chair, project evaluations

FTA Member Webinar logoEight FTA Member Webinars—free to members—were held, covering such topics as FIRST, color management, troubleshooting common problems, anilox roll cleaning technologies and more.

FIRST Certification was once again embraced by all different kinds of flexographers, as a FIRST Individual Certification—FIRST Press Operator Certification, FIRST Prepress Operator Certification or FIRST Implementation Specialist Certification—was achieved by about 300 people.

MemberConnect, FTA’s portal for content and offerings exclusive to members, was launched. MemberConnect allows members to watch videos from FTA events and past webinars, read more than 100 past issues of FLEXO Magazine, get succinct and information-dense Tech Tips, download valuable print targets and other print-related resources, and more.

FTA continued to elevate its standing in the package printing universe. It announced an expanded partnership with Tarsus, the organizer of Labelexpo Global Series, resulting in a more vibrant presence at Labelexpo Americas 2018 that included sponsorship of a seminar on how traditional label printers can transition to flexible packaging converting. The Association also joined the PACK EXPO International Partner Program, exhibiting at the event Oct. 14-17 in Las Vegas.

I-95 Flexo Seminar Event
The I-95 Flexo Seminar was held April 4 at the DuPont Customer Technology Center in Wilmington, DE. Attended by 60 flexographers, the event included presentations from five industry experts who covered critical components at play when evaluating flexo quality as well as new technologies.

The @flextechassn social media handle, a mainstay in flexographers’ Twitter feeds, began to pop up on Instagram. There, the account captured industry events as they happened and highlighted visually dominant articles from FLEXO Magazine.

And 26 50-year FTA members recognized for being part of the Association for a half-century.

Industry Happenings

Labelexpo Americas 2018 took place Sept. 25 to 27 in Rosemont, IL, with more than 16,000 people navigating the five exhibit halls and 12 conference sessions over the course of the three-day event, themed “Explore Your Future.” More than 400 industry partners displayed the latest innovations to increase productivity, effectively automate, move forward smartly and secure every business opportunity that presents itself.

Labelexpo Americas 2018

The industry lost a few veterans who were dedicated to package printing throughout their careers:

  • Jay Luft, 59, of McDowell Label, a former member of the FTA Board of Directors and FFTA Board of Trustees. He also sat on the FIRST Committee for the Premier Edition of Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances, and was involved with numerous FTA events and publications throughout the years
  • John DuPont, 75, a longtime member of the flexographic industry who aided FTA at many of its events who was also a former member of the FTA Board of Directors and FFTA Board of Trustees
  • John Cappy, 60, Outlook Group president and CEO, who had more than 36 years of experience in the paper, printing and packaging industry
  • Tim McKeon, 58, senior vice president of service and operations, sheetfed division, at Koenig & Bauer. Tim was a member of the Koenig & Bauer family for almost 40 years

“Bought,” “purchased,” “obtained the assets of”—however you phrase it, acquisitions once again were a frequent occurrence throughout the year: