As part of the event, FTA revealed the recipients of the 2021 FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards. The award-winning prints and printers were unveiled as part of Forum 2021’s Awards Presentation, kicking off the Association’s two-week technical conference. In the narrow web category, Berry Global was recognized for its Bioré Charcoal Anti-Blemish Scrub Tube.
“The Excellence in Flexography Awards are a tremendous opportunity for flexographers to demonstrate their expertise in a variety of printing applications,” said Excellence in Flexography Awards Committee Chairman Lon Robinson of Tension Corp. “This year’s winners produced some truly stellar jobs, making use of state-of-the-art techniques and processes in ways that enhance shelf appeal. It is these printers raising the technical bar, while delivering practical applications, that will continue to transform flexographic printing around the world.”
FTA also identified three recipients of the 2021 FTA Technical Innovation Award, which has recognized disruptive, groundbreaking and innovative technologies impacting the package printing industry for more than 25 years.
Fathom Optics was honored for its Light Field Technology Software, which enables printers to add 3D-like effects without the use of additional materials (prepress/graphics category). Hybrid Software was recognized for its Intelligent Flexo Cloudflow Module, which locates and corrects problem areas in images before printing (prepress/graphics category). And finally, Rheonics won for its RPS InkSight Viscosity Control System, a multi-station ink viscosity control system (prepress/pressroom category).
Fathom Optics’ awards submission included a testimonial from Steve Grace, Grace Label in Des Moines, IA, who stated, “We were excited to produce Fathom Optics’ light field technology on our current equipment without making any modifications. Previously, in order to do special effects of motion or depth, we needed to use special equipment or materials that were not practical or affordable for our market. This technology gave us 3D type effects without requiring any additional unique materials or special inks.”
Meanwhile, Hybrid Software has been honored for a second consecutive year. Hybrid Software Intelligent Flexo operates as a configurable, automated workflow process module. For example, with surface screening, Intelligent Flexo will improve ink transfer and boost density repeatably and consistently. It does this while varying many parameters, such as custom patterning, cell wall size, and skipping small dots with enough intelligence to keep micro-dots solid on finished plates.
“The technologies created by the recipients of this year’s Technical Innovation Award are proof that the flexographic printing process will never stop evolving,” says FTA director of education Joe Tuccitto.
As part of the awards program, two members of the community were recognized with the FTA President’s Award. PJ Fronczkiewicz, product manager at XSYS Global, a division of Flint Group, and a frequent contributor to Label & Narrow Web, and Joe Riccardella, continuous improvement manager at ABX Innovative Packaging Solutions, were honored.
“This year’s FTA President’s Award recipients are unique in their individual skills and in what they bring to the Association and the flexographic community. But they are alike in several key qualities: Volunteerism, dedication and selflessness,” comments FTA president Mark Cisternino. “It is a privilege to recognize PJ and Joe for the numerous ways in which they strengthen this industry.”
In addition, two winners, as well as two runners-up, were tabbed for their sustainability achievements. IGT Global Solutions Corp was recognized for implementing a waste management program (sustainability programs category), and TC Transcontinental Packaging received recognition for its Integritite 33% post-consumer recycled collation shrink film (innovations in sustainability category). Additionally, Rose City Label Co (sustainability programs category) and Emmerson Packaging (innovations in sustainability category) each received an honorable mention.
“Sustainability is here to stay, and these initiatives demonstrate the innovation and creativity coming from companies within the flexographic industry that are focused on sustainability,” explains FTA sustainability consultant Doreen Monteleone. “This year’s winners are tenacious in their desire to improve the environmental-friendliness of printing while reducing their footprint.”
Jean Engelke joins Hall of Fame
FTA has welcomed the newest inductee into its Hall of Fame, as Jean Engelke, an FTA fixture, becomes its 59th member.
Engelke’s wide-ranging career in academia, marketing, business development and print services has been defined by the strong leadership, level-headed analytical mindset and unwavering drive she brought to everything in which she was involved.
“One of the most interesting things about Jean is her incredibly diverse background. She’s worked in so many areas of the flexographic supply chain,” says FTA President Mark Cisternino. “That contributed significantly to her ability to help FTA over the years, on a number of different projects.”
“There’s only a handful of people I have dealt with in an ongoing capacity in my role at FTA, and Jean is one of them,” adds FTA Director of Education Joe Tuccitto. “It says a lot about how active she is as a member. She has always been there for us. Whenever we have needed her to do something for us, she does it.”