FTA Honors Excellence in Flexography


BOHEMIA, NY | The Flexographic Technical Assn. (FTA) handed out its annual Excellence in Flexography Awards at a gala awards banquet April 28 during FTA’s 2013 Annual Forum in San Diego, CA. There were 35 gold medals awarded, 34 silver medals, and 33 bronze medals, with seven of the gold-medal-winning works named “Best of Show” Designations.

The following were Gold Award/Best of Show winners:

Sunshine Plastics Corp. for the Autumn Lakes Duck A L'Orange wrapper

Accredo Packaging for the Special Kitty Salmon wrapper

Smyth Companies for Hochstadter's Slow & Low Straight Rye Whiskey

Colbert Flexographic Packaging Corp. for the EnviroGuard VetGuard carton

Panflex s.r.o. for the Samsung TV box

RockTenn Preprint Canada for Skotidakis Greek Yogurt

Encore Envelopes for the Tesco Every Little Helps envelope.

Environmental Excellence

Two flexo printers were honored in the 13th Annual FTA Environmental Excellence Award program.

Taking top honors was Paragon Label, Petaluma, CA. The family-owned company, specializing in printing fine quality pressure-sensitive labels, has a number of programs that save energy and reduce waste, water use, and solvent air emissions. The facility has energy-saving compressors, more efficient lighting, low flow water fixtures, in-house waste water treatment, digital platemaking equipment, drought tolerant landscaping and a variety of recycling areas. They created the “Green Team” and brought in assistance to help them find ways to further reduce their environmental footprint.

Global Packaging, Oaks, PA, won honorable mention in this category. The company specializes in printed rollstock and converted bags for the consumer product, food, bakery, confectionary, and pet food markets. Pollution prevention, waste reduction, and lean manufacturing processes have been an important part of the company many years. In 2009 Global Packaging was the first flexographic facility certified by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership. It is also the second time it has received an award from the FTA Environmental Excellence competition, having been awarded an honorable mention in 2005.

Technical Innovation

FTA named three companies winners of the 2013 Technical Innovation Award. GMG placed top in the prepress-graphics category, while Berry Plastics and Mark Andy were the honorees in the heavy-machinery classification.

GMG’s OpenColor Proofs are said to simulate a printed result accurately. Company color specialists set out to develop a computer-based tool that precisely predicts the color appearance of printed inks, particularly “overprints”– inks printed on top of each other. The resultant technology, OpenColor, allows the previously unattainable ability to let a proof accurately simulate a printed result. Reported benefits include reduced time to market, reduced make-ready preparation and expenses, and the elimination of unnecessary fingerprints. It also improves the color communication and approval process between all supply chain partners and verifies color expectations. 

Berry Plastics took honors for its Indirect Flexo process, a hybrid process said to be
winning conversions from in-mold labels, shrink sleeves, heat transfer labels, and p-s labels. Berry’s patent-pending modified approach reportedly produces excellent photographic quality graphics—on white, clear, and colored substrates—with softer edges and better highlights.

Mark Andy’s Quick Change Die Cut (QCDC) stations are said to aid converters when bottlenecks must be removed; productivity must be enhanced; accuracy and consistency must be guaranteed; and converting capacity cannot be curtailed. The design of the new die cut station promotes faster changeovers and enhances matrix stripping speeds, judges noted

Hall of Fame, President’s Award

Gary Hilliard, past chairman of Foundation of Flexographic Technical Assn.’s board of trustees was installed into the FTA Hall of Fame. Hilliard, who passed away, February 23, 2013, just two days after learning of the honor, worked for four decades ensure flexography became and remained packaging’s print process of choice, FTA reports.

This year’s President’s Award went to John Crammer, Best Label. FTA says Crammer has demonstrated an ongoing strong commitment to the goals and objectives of the FTA and  the FFTA. He is a vocal proponent of education, and routinely stresses the importance of elevating skill sets at all levels within the flexographic business community. He first investigated, then invested in FTA’s FIRST Certification Program, earning recognition as a FIRST certified Implementation Specialist. From there, he and a group of his managers set about embarking on the next level, a FIRST Company Certification, as the very first business to achieve this designation. He recently assumed the definitive role of organizational leader as he joined the FTA board of directors and FFTA board of trustees in March of last year.

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