Flexographic Trade Services (FTS) recently held its two day Open House event at its Fort Mill, SC, facility, which included over 20 tabletop displays from many of the industry's leading suppliers, the majority of which have been vendor sponsors since the trade school was established in 2000.
Art Fields, founder and president of FTS, kicked off the event by announcing that the school was again accepting students for its three month Flexo Press Operator Course, and would be soon holding its popular two-day Intro to Flexo and Intro to Prepress courses. All potential students are put through an evaluation and mechanical aptitude test that must be passed before they can be considered for any of FTS's programs. In the last decade, FTS has been able to put several hundred graduates into good paying jobs throughout the flexo industry and in several cases has even been instrumental to helping many set up their own business in the narrow web market, Fields said.
Field's explained that for the past year he and his team, plus several key vendors, had been involved in the design and build of the Legacy LG10 – a new narrow web flexo press. Fields noted that a separate company had been formed called Legacy Press Company LLC, and in keeping with the FTS rules, had become a vendor sponsor of the school with the installation of its first LG10 8-color press complete with sheeter, laminator, turn-bar, waste wind-up and die section conveyor. Field's also announced that the first LG13, 8color 13" Legacy press was also in the process of being built and had been purchased by Subtle Impressions, a converter based in Gastonia, SC. All visitors to the event were given a tour of the Legacy's design, fabrication and assembly partner Dynamic Design Solutions, a company coincidentally situated on the same street as FTS.
"When you suddenly discover that you have such a company capable of providing everything you need to build a complete press right on your doorstep, then you know it was meant to be," Fields said. He then introduced some of the key vendors that had partnered with the Legacy Press Company in building the first and Legacy presses which included Craig Thomson of Martin Automatic, Derek Bradshaw of Aztech Converting, Mark Hahn of AAA Press, David Fleming of Kocher + Beck and finally Legacy's lead engineer Andy Kunik. All expressed their excitement about being involved with a new line of presses.
Meanwhile, on display at the school were products from AAA Press, Acucote, Air Trim, Allison Systems, Boge Compressors, Environmental Inks, FLXON, Harper Corporation, JM Heaford, K-Laser, Kocher + Beck, Lohmann Tapes, Luminite, Martin Automatic, Matthias Paper, Pitman, The Flexo Factor and Wikoff Color. Dupont not only exhibited its product's but were able to give live demonstrations of its Thermoflex platemaking exposure unit as well as Esko's Spark CDI system that they had provided for use by the school's students during training programs.
During the event, the LG10 press was run continuously, showing off its hot air, UV IR drying, slitting, sheeting, diecutting and re-registration capabilities. This included a 7-color diecut label, and a 5-color diecut school calendar that printed in perfect registration which was further proved when Chris Averitt, FTS School program director and trainer, was able to run the same job through a second time and re-register the final color to the previously printed job. The LG10's modular feature was also demonstrated in being able to take out complete print and die sections and place in different positions which was accomplished in less than 15 minutes per station. Fields said that what stands the Legacy apart is its ability to accomplish these results "without the need for sophisticated software and servo technology and by personnel with minimal experience or mechanical skills."
All consumable components for the press are readily available from most local hardware or on-line stores and as was demonstrated at the show, only requires a handfull of tools due to its simple design.