The Flexographic Trade School (FTS), located in Fort Mill, SC, USA, is becoming a major training facility for prepress technicians as well as for press operators. The technological expansion coincides with the acquisition of a 50 percent share of the school by Robert Smithson, founder of Trinity Graphic USA, an advanced prepress company headquartered in Sarasota, FL.
Smithson, now CEO of FTS, shares ownership with Art Fields, president and co-founder. Smithson acquired the stake recently from the other co-founder, Chris Fredd, owner of Enterprise Marking Products of Westfield, IN.
Until now FTS has focused on training press operators. Smithson's involvement in prepress has attracted the attention of well known companies who have donated equipment for the education of prepress students, as well as for the continuing education of those already in place at converting companies.
Esko-Graphics has donated a Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) Spark XT and supporting Scope workflow with DeskPack, BackStage, FlexRIP and Plato. Dupont has delivered a FAST plate processing system. "We have a complete PCC Artwork Systems workflow here," Smithson says. "Pitman Company made a big contribution, supplying us with Macintosh and other equipment. Olec has supplied us with point light source plate exposure equipment, and Agfa has donated a full Aquaflash water-wash platemaking system. We are now better equipped than most prepress operations. Normally you don't have so many different products under one roof."