FORUM 2021 Session Chairs Offer Perspectives on Day-to-Day Dialogue

Advanced Color Theory

Session Chairs: Kevin Bourquin, Cyber Graphics; Jessica Harrell, Anderson & Vreeland


The industry has made many advancements in improving color communication including instruments, software and numerical languages to better define and share the specific intended color. While technically color is still in the eye of the beholder, there are many ways to define and clarify the intent. Using these technologies and methods allows stakeholders to numerically compare the color expectations to achievable print conditions.

“Advanced Color Theory” will explain some of the latest color communication and capture methods for use in both prepress and on the production floor to help all flexographers define and meet customer expectations.

The session will have a speaker from GMG Color discuss the latest technology involved in defining and communicating color standards in an efficient manner that saves time and also removes costs for the supply chain. Additionally, AVT will provide an overview of the current state of flexographic on-press color measurement systems. These advanced measurement devices allow continual data collection of color—much like sheetfed offset systems. To allow these devices to become common, the industry will need to overcome a specific hurdle our speaker will address.

Finally, the contract color proofing workflow has changed dramatically over the last 18 months given challenges created in shipping logistics and a new paradigm of people working from remote locations. ISCcolor will discuss technology that is being embraced to ensure the supply chain is still delivering accurate color contract proofs while reducing speed-to-market in this new supply chain dynamic. If this was not enough, there will be a variety of how-to recommendations and Q&As from various industry color experts that will address backing materials, measurement conditions, dot area formulas and color communication formats.

At the end of the session, we hope attendees will have learned exciting and new ways to communicate about color, both internally and with customers and partners. Ideally, implementing these methods will improve the color management process, make expectations easier to exceed, and flexographic print predictable and consistent!

FQC: Investigating Methods to Increase Efficiency & Packaging Quality

Session Chairs: Jean Engelke, FQC Chair; Joe Riccardella, ABX Innovative Packaging Solutions


This year’s FQC session is focused on presenting research that is centered on the mission of investigating process variables that advance flexographic technology and lead to actionable insights for the membership. The results of four FQC-sponsored projects range from measuring opacity to ink variables and plate life management. Project leaders will present their data and summarize their findings.

We continue to feature research from the up-and-coming students in the industry. Supporting the communication of their projects is core to the engagement we need to secure the industry’s future:

This year has been like no other for educational pursuits. Virtual learning has been the norm. However, the Phoenix Challenge has found a way to make it work! The session will include a presentation from the winning college team of this year’s challenge.

The driving force behind this year’s session is that research continues beyond our current situation. Our presenters have had to adapt, pivot and drive through the challenges that have affected their research projects.

That is the core of research. When you are confronted with a question, hypothesis or need for improvement, research results will provide the foundation for all of us to examine our processes and increase efficiencies and product quality. This session will provide the tools needed to make significant impact to your operations. You may find you need to adapt, pivot and drive through changes.

Establishing Your Starting Points FIRST (101)

Session Chairs: Keith Nagle, Phoseon Technology; David Watson, tesa tape Inc

Keith Nagle headshot square

In a market where competition is fierce and orders are lost over pennies per piece, more than ever, understanding and controlling your process, along with setting up and following standard operating procedures (SOPs), is vital to your profitability and repeatability.

Increased downtime, inefficiency and waste all take away from profitability. Proper understanding of specifications and documentation of new components (anilox, plate, ink, tape, etc.) will help printers produce jobs the first time and decrease setup time and waste when reproducing print jobs. Additionally, understanding the parameters and condition of your components will help you to control cost and add to bottom line profits.

Many times, printers don’t take the time to understand and document the specifics of all the components used to print a job. All components are produced to a set of specifications and have a set of parameters.

Why are these parameters important? They are all parts that make up the “recipe” that ensures the job is printed correctly at the right color and image quality. If time is not taken to understand the parameters, characteristics and effects of not following and maintaining them, it can lead to costly downtime, additional setup cost and an inability to replicate the job when it is repeated. Following SOPs will help printers know their components prior to installation in the press. SOPs will also help to determine when components need to be removed and remade or reworked.

In the 101-level session, we will look at three key components that make up the “recipe” of a print job. We will look at anilox rollers, printing plates and ink and why, if not controlled with SOPs, we cannot control our print quality, cost and profitability.

Sean Teufler of Harper Corporation of America will provide an overview of the anilox roller, its parts and why understanding how and why an anilox roll works, plus measurements and why it is critical for your success.

Shawn Scheel of ACTEGA will walk us through inspection and quality control of inks along with the variability and their effects on efficiency.

Cori Devlin of DuPont Image Solutions will provide an overview of why plate making optimization is critical to have consistent, repeatable color/results on press. She will discuss the tools necessary for this optimization process. With the different workflows, dot profiles, screening options, among other components to make a plate, process control requirements are even more necessary to assure repeatable and consistent results for your customer.

After this session, you should have a clearer understanding of the parameters of the components, how to measure, maintain, document and set up SOPs that will allow for greater predictability, profitability and repeatability. Understanding the specifications of the components, controlling them and setting up SOPs is not only critical for achieving the best print quality possible, but also for repeating that quality time after time.