Industry Is on a Roll

The saying goes: Timing is everything. As Lady Luck would have it, this year's edition of the Foundation of the Flexographic Technical Assn.'s Annual Forum and INFO*FLEX Exhibition in Las Vegas on May 2-5 couldn't have been planned — or timed — better. While last year's event certainly was not disappointing from an agenda/informational standpoint, everyone with whom I spoke felt this year's program — especially from an attendance perspective — was exceptional.

And what were those attendance numbers? The FFTA is entitled to bragging rights on this one: 1,500+ with an average 350 people in attendance at each of eight technical sessions.

And why was the timing so ripe? My guess is that the window of opportunity is opening because the need for training and insight on new technology over the course of perhaps as much as the past five years is becoming critical. One attendee who sat next to me said he hadn't been to an FTA meeting for five years, and he felt it was about time he revisit the event to find out what was new. Another supplier revealed to me that his company has been overwhelmed with a record number of orders for the past two months due to what he believes is pent-up demand for printed packaging.

More than just a new seating arrangement at the general sessions appealed to the audience. My favorite session was Emerging Trends & New Technologies, which was chaired by John Anderson of Eastman Kodak and his co-chair, David Galton of Asahi Photoproducts (UK). Never mind the fact that it was classy of Anderson to invite his competitor Galton to chair this session together, the session also produced the event's Technical Innovation Award winner: Bobst Group's Fischer & Krecke smartGPS flexographic print startup technology.

As Michael D'Angelo said upon accepting the award at the opening banquet on May 2, “It is a major, industry-changing contribution to the future of flexo printing; one that significantly reduces operating costs, advances flexo versatility, and offers printers the opportunity to take a major stride toward achieving sustainable operations.” PFFC offers its deserved congratulations to F&K and to FFTA for staging truly a premium event.

It would be remiss not to offer congratulations also to the Assn. of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters & Laminators for holding a successful AWEB conference on May 17-20 in Rochester, NY. Executive director Craig Sheppard shared, “The reviews were through the roof. Tour of Optimation was great. Sage on Stage went two hours nonstop. Papers were excellent.” Attendee John Wysokowski, winding/conveyance/planarity consultant for DuPont Tedlar PVF Films, testifies, “I found the round table discussion…especially valuable. I also picked up several valuable ‘Rules of Thumb’ to add to my technical ‘toolbox’ and refreshed others.”

Maybe our industry is on a roll?

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