The Flexographic Technical Association’s annual exhibition offered a firsthand look at package printing technologies and included a host of education sessions targeted towards package printers.
The worlds of package printing and converting technologies intertwined last month in Indianapolis as the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) presented its annual, four-day INFOFLEX tradeshow co-located with the educational Forum conference. Nearly 2,000 attendees came to the Indiana Convention Center to see products from over 240 exhibitors.
On May 7 and 8, machinery and equipment demonstrations were at an all-time high on the INFOFLEX show floor. The exhibit hall was abuzz with the latest innovations in more than 300 booths filled by 240 companies exhibiting new products, services and technologies designed to improve productivity across all print applications—flexible packaging, folding carton, labels and corrugated direct print. In attendance were printers/converters, print buyers, designers, brand management firms, prepress providers, suppliers and students/educators.
[caption id="attachment_48880" align="alignleft" width="300"] Muratec's Dave Clearman speaking at the Solutions Theater about opportunities with packaging technology.[/caption]
Within the show floor, the Solutions Theater was an intimate setting where audiences heard detailed, 20-minute technical overviews of new technologies. A presentation by David Clearman, director of marketing and PLS (Precision Label Series) sales at Muratec America Inc., revealed that in packaging, digital will not take over analog production at large flexo [print] houses that produce ultra-high runs. Rather, Clearman informed attendees, print service providers are looking to augment and have complementary placements, not replace analog machines.
Across two days, 14 technical presentations offered insights and solutions in converting, narrow web, flexible packaging, hybrid technology, corrugated direct print and premedia technologies. Session topics spanned from the future of the industry, to how to confidently purchase new equipment, to digital printing’s place in the industry, as well as package design, process control and proofing, new screening software, and solvent-based inks.
Experts shared the importance of a clear press approval process in “Press Approval Match Game.” Other highlights included professional advice from direct-print market whizzes, who discussed the importance of managing purchasing decisions, the ways innovation makes for a better printer and how to compete for new business. Also, a two-part “Troubleshooting Survival Guide” session provided the proper tools to create a personalized process control kit for those dreaded worst-case scenarios on the production floor.
[caption id="attachment_48877" align="alignleft" width="300"] Nearly 2,000 people attended the conference.[/caption]
On the consumables side, exhibitors Rayven, Inc. and INX International announced an aqueous-coating partnership. UV and LED and aqueous coatings were also on display from ICP Industrial. New label products from Digimarc and media options from 3M also were presented. In prepress, Hamillroad demonstrated its Bellissima DMS digitally modulated flexo screening process. Esko showcased its new crystal, automated flexo plate-making process, and Glunz & Jensen showed its FlexLine modular plate technology while Flxon touted SWED/CUT high-performance doctor blades.
In-press products included FlintGroup’s lightweight family of rotec sleeves and adapters; Seamex sleeves from OEC Graphics are seamless for faster make-readies and maximized press speeds. Windmöller & Hölscher reported that more than 500 of its Miraflex flexo presses now are installed worldwide. A flexo-digital hybrid press developed by Domino powers its MPS EF SYMJET inkjet UV device. True digital printers abounded, too, including a packaging device from Muratec, the PKG-675i, which is part of the manufacturer’s Precision Label Series.
In its 60th year, the Flexographic Technical Association (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.
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