Forum Sessions in Detail

May 3-6 | Omni Nashville | Nashville, TN

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Free Pre-Conference: FQC – Eye on Research

Last year’s meeting was a major contributor for progress in Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC) research projects. Learn the results of such research, including a focused look at emerging plate technology presented by Jason Palmer, Clemson University and Steve Smiley, SmileyColor & Associates, LLC. Also on the agenda, a panel of research teams from the “academy” will discuss research roadmaps, and time will be provided to identify and discuss potential future FQC projects. Bring your ideas to this lively and interactive session. Your continued participation is vital and much appreciated.

Chairs: Sam Ingram, Clemson University; Jean Jackson, Graymills Corp.


12:15 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Welcome to Forum 2015


 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Upside Down or Inside Out: What’s Next in Packaging?

What are the hot new trends in packaging that flexo printers need to know? Design and production experts who have incorporated these new concepts into their businesses, will discuss new options to consider for future revenue growth. Exciting technologies from digital to smart packaging to brand protection are all on this highly informative agenda.

Chairs: Penny Holland, Sun Chemical Corp.; Galen Croxton, Tetra Pak

How Technology and Consumer Trends Affect Packaging’s Future: Authenticity, Risk And Experimentation Lead The Way
Industry players must understand the issues influencing packaging trends in order to successfully navigate them and uncover white space not yet explored. Influencers including consumer trends and economic forces will be discussed as they pertain to the shaping of marketplace trends and their impact on the creation of new products. Packaging technology too must not only be out in front of consumer desire, but must align with it so it translates well but also inspires consumers. Technologies affecting packaging also lend a measure of safety and sustainability so these advancements will also be explored. Attendees will be able to better recognize and predict the opportunities and pathways for making products successful in the marketplace. Additionally, they will leave with the ability to recognize and adapt to upcoming changes in trend direction and to differentiate between long and short-lived movements.
Suzy Badaracco, Culinary Tides, Inc.

Brand Protection Solutions: Developing & Selling the Value
Whether protecting products from counterfeiting or enhancing supply chain visibility, investigating today’s technologies to find a solution can be overwhelming for brand owners. Hear how packaging converters are uniquely positioned to help brand owners navigate these waters through an unbiased and practical approach.
Lori Campbell, The Label Printers

Interactive Packaging Trends
Consumer Product Companies (CPCs) are constantly seeking opportunities to increase brand engagement with their consumers. Competitive pressures such as private label brands, “showrooming” (when consumers come to a store and end up purchasing a product online), and changing demographics can cause market share reduction price erosion. The packaging industry continues to grow globally, and continues to be shaped by changing trends. Technology, design and function of packaging all play an important role in attracting the consumer to purchase a product. This presentation will cover current packaging trends that affect graphics, structure/materials and interactivity with the consumer.
Colleen Larkin Twomey, Cal Poly State University


3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

From Tribal Knowledge to Technology: How to Understand the Needs of Your Workforce 

Change… an intimidating word to some, ignites excitement in others. As the flexo world continues to advance, it’s more important than ever to provide your staff with the proper tools and training to achieve their goals, as well as those of the company. This can be challenging. Today’s workforce easily spans 4-5 generations. This session will help you understand who your employees are, so that you can effectively train them at their individual level.

Chairs: Jennye Scott, Berry Plastics Corp.; Shelley Rubin, FTA

Trainers Are People Too
With the variety of media and technology available today, training can come in many forms and trainers are faced with a huge variety of participants. This presentation offers the perspectives from two industry trainers as they share common challenges they face in delivering both instructor-led and remote programs. They will also discuss 4 key roadblocks faced when working with individuals and management teams. How does your training program stack up? How does your team prepare to be trained? Are you helping to make the training successful or are you constructing roadblocks?
Catherine Haynes, All Printing Resources, Inc.; Joel Engelberth, Esko

What’s Up With Them?
What makes you unique? What makes you happy? What makes you worry? How do you make decisions? What is your favorite way to communicate? Two of the biggest factors influencing how you approach both life and work are which generation you were born into or what personality type you have. Even the smallest insight into these personal variables can make you more self-aware as both an employee and a manager and help you be happier and more successful in either role. We are all different, and in this session you will learn to understand and celebrate those differences in you plant or office.
Nona Woolbright, Clemson University

Moving your Team to Perform “In Concert”
Getting musicians of different ages, backgrounds and styles to perform as a team “in concert” takes planning, training, practice and constant feedback for continuous improvement. There is no such thing as an “overnight sensation”! Taking your print production department from performing free-form to learning to use FIRST isn’t easy but it is rewarding! We will look at ways to prepare, train and implement FIRST within your company so you will move from dissonance to harmony!
Bob Coomes, Plastic Packaging Technologies, LLC

tRain-Dance for Success
So what makes a training program and the trainer successful? Here we will briefly wrap up with a few key takeaways to help ensure the time spent on training is meaningful and impactful.
Catherine Haynes, All Printing Resources, Inc.; Joel Engelberth, Esko

8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

De-Geek the Geeks: From Cloudy to Clear

If you’ve ever attended a session that covers industry standards or highly technical information and felt as though presenters were speaking another language, you’re not alone! International standards terminology can often be very difficult to comprehend but its importance is invaluable to the flexographic industry. Join us for a lively, insightful session where we will have multi-departmental translators on hand to “De-Geek the Geeks” and help you hit the perfect harmony throughout every flexographic workflow.

Chairs: Malcolm Keif, California Polytechnic State University; Joe Tuccitto, FTA


10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Research that Resonates

Presenting exciting new information from its many ongoing projects, the Flexographic Quality Consortium (FQC) will highlight the findings of industry initiatives of Near Neutral Calibration for Corrugated and High Resolution Printing. The session will also showcase funded student research projects in printed electronics and plate recycling technology. This is an outstanding opportunity to learn the very latest in practical flexographic research from both industry and educational circles.

Chairs: Jean Engelke, RR Donnelley; John Paine, C-P Flexible Packaging

Final Update on High Resolution Printing – Part A: Print Output Metrics
The High Resolution Printing project team will report the results of Part A: Print Output Metrics. They will review the output metrics incorporated into the High Resolution Target and provide the results of initial print trials that were part of the development process. A summary of sample evaluation will also be presented.

There will also be an introduction to Part B: Performance Comparison. The project will outline and review the objectives and goals. Part B will require substantial field testing of the newly developed print target within the numerous print segments of our industry. They include Narrow Web – Water-base, Narrow Web – UV, and Wide Web – Solvent. We are excited  to transition into the second part of this project and are eager to recruit all interested parties to join our team as we journey to complete Part B!
Alexander James, Harper Corporation of America; Ann Michaud, 3M

Near Neutral Dataset Assessment: Post Print Gamut Alignment
What is corrugated printing capable of when Near Neutral Calibration (NNC) is applied? Can this method offer a consistent approach to reaching color on press and also matching color from other flexo segments and print processes? In this project, multiple data sets have been collected on coated and uncoated board from various presses across the country. The data was analyzed and compared to existing ANSI CGATS 21 and ISO 15339 standard datasets to determine if this post print data is comparable to one of the existing datasets and to identify the real-life colorimetric print characteristics of corrugated. We will also discuss noticeable trends with inks on press and the results they may have on your print.
Shawn Oetjen, Harper Corporation of America; Steve Smiley, SmileyColor & Associates, LLC

Printing a Capacitive Touch Interface Using Flexography
Touch interfaces are very common in consumer electronic devices. This research intends to produce a printed touch interface capable of multiple touch inputs. The design uses mutual capacitance for the sensor pattern and uses silver-based solvent ink for the active traces and UV curing ink as a dielectric. The sensor will be printed using a flexographic press. The goal is to print a high resolution capacitive device capable of outputting XY Cartesian coordinates corresponding to a finger touch on a roll to roll press. The intent of the research is proof of concept for a larger interface.
Nathan Pretorius, Clemson University

Re-purposing Flexographic Printing Plates
The flexographic industry is experiencing significant growth and is competing with other print processes in high quality print production. In addition, the world is experiencing an increased emphasis on environmentally friendly products, and businesses are becoming more “green”. A company able to promote an eco-friendly initiative may lead to more customer benefits and may be very beneficial in marketing strategies. For both of these reasons, there is an increased need to find an eco-friendly way to recycle or reuse flexographic printing plates, one of the largest sources of waste in the flexo industry. This project researched alternative methods of photopolymer recycling through collaboration with a platemaking company and other companies able to divert the material from waste into new products or processes.
Katherine Dayton and Amanda Cockroft, Western Michigan University

Toolbox Tuesday

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Part I: Optimizing Flexo: The Decoders Guide to Process Control

Get out your decoder rings and unlock the secrets of process control! Join us as we examine the practices and tools required to optimize your flexographic print process. Get a prepress perspective with tips and tricks on platemaking optimization and process control requirements to assure repeatability when making flexo plates. This is followed by enhanced process control tips for optimizing flat top dot printing plates. Next up, hear from a world-class management expert on process control in the pressroom and, more importantly, what needs to be controlled to ensure a positive impact on both results and the bottom line. And then, as you leave, toss those decoder rings in the trash!

Chairs: Alexander James, Harper Corporation of America;
Bob Hannum, DuPont Packaging Graphics


9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Part II: KISS My Anilox! Making the RIGHT Impression

A KISS impression is one of the most essential process control practices a printer can establish. It is also one of the most challenging. Join us as we go deep into the world of anilox specifications and applications…and do so in a fun and entertaining way. Go in-depth and discover the science behind the anilox roll specifications and the many items influencing your KISS impression, such as mounting tape and press pressures to name a few. We’ll also discuss how to identify if you are achieving and maintaining optimal KISS impression—and what steps to take if you are not. Expert-led presentations will provide information that participants will find educational and useful as part of the ongoing challenges of process control.

Chairs: Alexander James, Harper Corporation of America;
Bob Hannum, DuPont Packaging Graphics


10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Part III: From Color Mayhem to Color Control

Having color out of whack can wreak havoc on any manufacturing supply chain. This session will look at color management from every angle of the supply chain to ensure proper communication drives out unnecessary costs and improves workflow efficiencies, product consistency and predictability; while helping to increase speed to market. We’ll address color communication from a Consumer Product Company through the design and manufacturing of packaging. Next, we’ll dive deeper into newest measurement conditions and how they impact the color reported by a spectrophotometer. Then take a look at the best practices in smoothing and averaging Committee for Graphic Arts Technology Standards (CGATS) data sets to ensure color profiles accurately predict color. Thorough analysis of the information collected, you will understand the benefits, differences and applications of Device Link or International Color Consortium (ICC) profiles. Finally we can talk about the importance of measuring data at each point along the supply chain to verify the color is correct, process conditions are being met and the products are consistent.

Chairs: Kevin Bourquin, Cyber Graphics; Bjorn Knutson, FTA


 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Part IV: It’s Manufacturing NOT Magic!

Most times it’s the little things that help your manufacturing process to be most productive. This session will touch on some key principles and practices that have made consistent manufacturing possible. You’ll learn how printers have implemented training in their plants to improve printing and how process management programs have helped them thrive in the manufacturing environment. You’ll also learn about plate life and performance and how that knowledge can drastically reduce press downtime and on-press issues. Then we will turn to the analytical side of manufacturing by finding out which technology is the correct fit for your plant. Finally, we’ll discuss defect detection and waste control and how they work hand-in-hand in helping to control your overall manufacturing costs.

Chairs: Kevin Bourquin, Cyber Graphics; Bjorn Knutson, FTA

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Gauging Your Flexo Vital Signs: A Basics Reality Check

Taking your flexo pulse–old dog, new tricks—right? WRONG! In an ever-changing technological environment, it can be easy to lose sight of tried-and-true methodologies. This session will provide a refresher for how to maintain the highest level of quality in all aspects of the printing process. We’ll also look at ways to apply “old school” thinking to cutting edge printing techniques. Finally, a panel of FTA Hall of Famers and industry professionals will answer your questions regarding all aspects of flexographic print quality. Join us for this 90-minute session and see how many old tricks a new dog can learn!

Chairs: Andy Knapp, Flint Group; Kevin Schilling, Anderson & Vreeland, Inc.

Taking Your Flexo Pulse
One of the simplest ways to gauge your immediate health is to take your pulse: Two fingers on the wrist or neck for a few seconds. A fast pulse can signify you’re stressed or exasperated, and that can lead to errors, low-quality work and less than optimal performance. The same can be said for a flexo operation. Controlling variables and optimizing workflow are key to delivering high-quality plates, and to be sure you’re doing that, it’s important to have a system to check your flexo pulse. This session will explore how to do just that, going through factors to measure, organizational strategies and more on a quest to deliver perfect plates.
Kenny Bell, Berry Plastics Corporation

OMG! Inspection Mistakes I See All Too Frequently!
We all make mistakes, but some are worse than others. Visual inspection of the finished product on the rewinder? That’s the definition of flexo insanity! In this session we’ll examine the most common narrow web and wide web pressroom mistakes—a brand new press without an HD screen? C’mon!—and take a look at the practical application of inspection systems as a means to reduce waste and improve quality.
John D. Thome, BST eltromat North America

Consulting Flexo’s Cooperstown
Imagine if members of the Country Music Hall of Fame formed a supergroup and got together for one night only. The final portion of the “Gauging Your Flexo Vital Signs” session at Forum 2015 will be just that, as five FTA Hall of Fame members—Howard Vreeland, Jr., Mark Mazur, Denny McGee, Mark Samworth and Al Bowers—take the stage to discuss flexo’s history and future, and share some anecdotes from their time in the industry. A Q&A format will allow attendees to pick their brains and glean insight from the Hall of Fame panel.


10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Multi-Market Commonalities – Alike but Different 

As flexographic printers, we are increasingly called upon to match work that other printers have provided, or have already run for shared customers. Even amongst flexo printers, there is potential to have a wide range of substrates, press capabilities and color gamuts that can make matching customer expectations a daunting task. Add in other print processes and the challenges become greater. This session features printers from different segments of the industry who will discuss their individual considerations, plans and execution steps to achieve the highest degree of commonality across different printing methods and markets. Similarities, differences and the pros and cons between print processes will be highlighted. Hear the different perspectives within the plant from CEO, Plant Manager and Color/Tech Managers to finally learn what you can do to ask the right questions and make the right decisions to achieve optimal results for your internal or external customers.

Segments Represented: Wide Web, Narrow Web, Corrugated and Indirect Flexography
Markets Represented: Flexible Packaging, Containers, Labels and Corrugated
Processes Represented: Flexography, Digital, Lithography, Dry Offset, Gravure, Screen, Hot Stamping, Cold Stamping and Combination Printing

Chairs: Geoff Roznak, Great Northern Corporation; Rose McKernon, FTA

Digital Printing for Flexible Packaging: A Partner To Flexography or A Replacement?
Over the past year after long anticipation, digital printing has finally begun to show up in wide web format. Today’s technology already pushes the boundaries of what is possible on film, including dead registration, absolute color match job-to-job and zero dot gain. However, cost considerations really limit this technology to extremely short runs, usually under 20,000 linear feet unless a company is motivated by other marketing factors. So digital can be a good way to prototype, test market new products, or convert smaller companies to printed packaging. The possibility remains of business migrating to flexo as runs become longer but the obvious differences in quality could be a hang-up for brand owners. So, how can flexible packaging printers incorporate wide web digital into their product arsenal? What challenges will most companies face and how can they be overcome? Or can they?
Kevin Kelly, Emerald Packaging Inc.

Managing a Cross Platform Approach to Meet the Needs of a Complex Marketplace
Technology is never stagnant, and the capabilities of all print processes continue to improve. As a printer it is imperative to not only know the capabilities of each process, but to understand which processes meet our customer needs. This presentation will explore not only the advantages and disadvantages of multiple print processes, but also how to determine which process is right for your customer. As we all know meeting the customer needs is not always black and white. We will also discuss ways to manage the consistency of the end product when a cross platform approach is the answer to your customers’ needs.
Bob Feldman, Constantia Label

Decorating in 3D
I’m not talking about some crazy new plate technology or revolutionary anilox roll, I’m talking about printing on surfaces that aren’t flat. In this case, plastic cups and containers. There are several ways to decorate cups and containers but some of the most challenging are printing directly on them. During this presentation we will explore some of the different print techniques, the challenges of color matching color across different printing processes and substrates and most importantly, how to make sure your customer is happy with the final product by managing expectations.
Kirk Birchler, Berry Plastics Corporation

Putting the “Flex” in Flexographic – Color Matching For Different Substrates and Print Technologies
Although flexographic printing may be our industry’s sole focus, clients’ artwork has to perform well across multiple substrates and with various print technologies. Success in the flexographic industry requires flexibility. Understanding the different color matching needs across substrates and print technologies is critical. Attendees of this presentation will learn strategies and best practices for color matching projects across different substrates and print technologies.
Chuck Buscaglia, Berry Plastics Corporation

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