Chaired by Bob Coomes, Plastic Packaging Technologies Inc and Ann Michaud, 3M Co, the four-day conference united crowds from across all segments of the package printing and converting industry. Printers/converters, print buyers, designers, brand management firms, prepress providers, suppliers and students/educators were immersed in ways to continuously grow and improve as industry specialists took the stage for 10 undeniably informational sessions. Evaluations submitted immediately following each session included, “Very relevant material to our situation.” “All were terrific and presented a wealth of knowledge.” “Excellent speakers across the board.”
Session topics spanned from the future of the industry, to how to confidently purchase new equipment, package design, process control and proofing.
- “Purchasing Printing & Converting Equipment: Flexo’s New Market Scenario” emphasized continually advancing technology and how to blend existing teams with new talent
- Project reports were given from two 2017 scholarship recipients, industry updates were revealed and panel discussions about young people, new initiatives and international standards were had during “Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC): Cultivating Our Future Through Research”
- Real-word examples of productive work environments that have successfully married with long-term company goals were provided in “Culture Eats Strategy: Strategic & Cultural Alignment”
- Innovative technologies like plant integration and new levels of efficiency were divulged in “New Capabilities: Look at Flexo Now!”
- “Expanded Gamut: Where Are We Now?” looked back at the process’ 10-year history and how it offers solutions today that were not possible a decade ago
- Designers shared how to better understand behavioral impact of package design in “Taming Consumer Behavior Through Packaging Design”
- Attendees discovered the processes involved through an actual flexographically printed piece during “FIRST in Motion – Wide Web Project”
- Experts shared the importance of a clear press approval process in “Press Approval Match Game”
- Direct print market whizzes discussed the importance of managing purchasing decisions, the ways innovation makes for a better printer and how to compete for new business in “Advanced Corrugated Technologies: A Business Case”
- 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
- 114 winners were honored in the 2018 FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards, of which six were Best of Show recipients
- Lon Robinson was inducted as the 56thmember of the FTA Hall of Fame
- Jason Cagle was recognized with the 2018 FTA President’s Award
- Hamillroad Software and Eaglewood Technologies were awarded a 2018 FTA Technical Innovation Award
- Heritage Envelopes took home the 2018 FTA Sustainability Excellence Award
- Two students were awarded the FFTA Rossini North America Flexographic Research Scholarship: Katherine Treadaway, Clemson University (first place) and Emma Linnea Landgren, California Polytechnic State University (second place)
At the well-attended Solutions Theater, located right on the INFOFLEX floor, 14 technical presentations were given on a variety of topics including new screening software, scoring solutions, solvent-based inks and digital printing’s place in the industry.
Diamond and Platinum sponsors of Forum & INFOFLEX 2018 were: 3M Co, Esko and Kodak; Anderson & Vreeland Inc, Daetwyler Corp, DuPont Advanced Printing, Hamillroad Software, MacDermid Graphics Solutions, Muratec America Inc and Sun Chemical Corp.
For the first time in 22 years, Forum & INFOFLEX will be returning to New Orleans, LA for next year’s events on May 5-8. Chairing the conference is Ann Michaud, 3M Co. Forum 2019 will be held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, while INFOFLEX 2019 will take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.