FTA Is Inaugural Sponsor of Sonoco Institute’s VR Training Platform

BOHEMIA, NY—FTA has, since its inception, supported flexographic educational and training initiatives. That mission continues with the announcement of the Association becoming the inaugural sponsor of Clemson University’s new virtual reality (VR) print training platform, developed by the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics.

“Attracting and developing tomorrow’s flexographic workforce is something we take very seriously, and we are excited to sign on as the inaugural sponsor of this state-of-the-art virtual training platform,” said Joe Tuccitto, FTA director of education.

By wearing a VR headset, trainees are placed inside an immersive and interactive virtual pressroom. Utilizing a pair of handheld controllers, they can adjust the VR press’ impression, registration and other settings, and then run the press and see how those adjustments affect a print job. The scalability, accessibility and safety provided by the platform are crucial to turning around a reported 25 percent decrease in print industry employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The initial phase is modeled after the Institute’s own print lab and flexographic press, though the ultimate goal is to develop an all-encompassing print environment for scalable training experiences and industry recruitment,” said Bobby Congdon, Sonoco Institute assistant director. “This inaugural gift from FTA will allow the Sonoco Institute to begin development of phase two. We’re ready to move beyond the concept and develop this into something that will be useful at high schools, career centers and our supporting companies’ facilities.”

Clemson University VR Training Platform 1
Photo courtesy of Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics

Attendees to Fall Conference 2019 (Oct. 28-30 in Charlotte, NC) will see the VR training platform used to transform the presentation stage into a fully functional pressroom, learn how VR can provide cost-effective, zero-waste and scalable training, and watch Congdon teach a new flexographer how to set up and run a virtual flexo press.


Photos of Clemson University’s VR print training platform

About FTA

FTA logo
Chartered in 1958, FTA is a professional society dedicated to bringing all members of the flexographic printing community—printers, suppliers, consumer product companies, institutions, prepress houses and others—together by providing opportunities for the free exchange of technical ideas and discussion of mutual concerns. It is a proponent of maintaining and advancing quality standards and includes 1,650 member sites that represent more than 1,400 companies and 35,000 individuals. Foundation of FTA, founded in 1974, is the educational arm of FTA and is dedicated to supporting and advancing the flexographic printing industry.