PLGA Operational Conference focuses on the global market
Miami — “Operating Profitably in a Global Market” was the theme for February’s 10th annual PLGA Operational Conference. Attendees included printers, suppliers, end users, academics, PLGA management and the press. According to Jim Lepp, PLGA executive director, the annual conference continues to draw more and more people in management positions.
Although the conference also serves as a platform for the PLGA board of directors to meet, the event’s core is its collection of informational sessions. The goal of the conference is to provide strong content so attendees can leave with something in their hands to put to use right away.
Converters have long been aware that the packaging market has become increasingly global. Domestic converters have faced increased paperboard prices for several years, as foreign countries, specifically China, have emerged as paper product producing leaders.
The gravure market, whose growth has slowed in North America, is enjoying significant growth in eastern Europe and India. Gravure printing in the Asia/Pacific market is by far the largest market in the world for gravure. Additionally, China is building and installing hundreds of gravure printing presses per year, which according to John Melotik, Cerutti Corp., North America, is unheard of in the U.S. According to Giovanni Osstachhini, of ACOM, ssrl, these machines produce finished products that are good, but not up to western standards. These machines are finding their way into the Middle East, so gravure press manufacturers are seeing increased competition from China in that region.
One area of concern for the gravure market is the prepress side of the business. According to Michelle Fontaine, Amgraph Packaging, Inc., the gravure market must figure out how to make the front end of the process more efficient. On press, gravure’s quality is evident, but the time it takes to manufacture a gravure cylinder is much longer than for a flexo plate.