April 2008 Issue


drupa Gets Personal

drupa is not only the largest print media trade fair in the world, but it also brings together the world’s entire printing industry. Away from all the technology gadgets on display, everyone has a funny, ­exciting, or interesting drupa experience to remember. Four printing industry experts talk about the changes that have occurred over the years and share useful tips on how best to prepare for the marathon show, being held May 29-June 11 in Düsseldorf. What do you remember about [your first drupa]? Klaus Schmidt: [drupa 1990] took place just a few months after fall of the Berlin Wall and shortly before the

Flex Pack —Polischuk

Flexible packaging is alive and well. It continues to be a bright spot in the package-printing arena, led in part by novel pouch implementations in a broad range of product categories. The Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) recently held its annual meeting in Orlando. The 260 attendees were treated to two days of timely presentations that covered important topics affecting the industry. Presentations included FPA’s “State of the U.S. Flexible Packaging Industry,” “The European Flexible Packaging Market,” “Capital Markets, Mergers and Acquisitions,” “An Economic and Financial Outlook,” “A Closer Look at Election ‘08,” “Conducting Business in China,” and “The Future of Flexible Packaging.” As

Globalization: What’s the Deal?

The term “globalization” has become one of the package-printing industry’s favorite things to talk about. It’s important enough that the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) devoted an entire study on the effects of globalization on flexible packaging, and in 2007, PLGA Global made globalization the theme of its annual operational conference. Domestically, the economic impacts of globalization are sometimes negative. But, some experts and converters believe that there are new opportunities opening by globalizing their businesses. More importantly, there may be no choice in the matter. What does it mean to you? Globalization means different things to different people. Merriam-Webster defines globalization as “the act,

Good and Getting Better

Business success can be the result of many factors. Sometimes it’s the result of an entirely unique product; other times it’s as simple as being in the right place at the right time. For most successful companies, however, it’s the result of hard work and a focus on what they do best. This latter approach describes the success achieved by Oaks, Pa.-based Global Packaging, Inc., which focuses on flexographic printing—wide-web flexo printing to be more specific. Further, it combines its expertise in flexo printing with a focus on its customers. “Our operating philosophy begins and ends with meeting customer expectations,” says Debbie Hobbs, sales

In This Corner. . .

The flexible packaging industry is, and will continue to be, a relatively healthy segment in the realm of package printing. This doesn’t mean that everything is rosy—not by a long shot. The U.S. economy is being stressed to a significant degree by a credit crunch driven by the sub-prime fiasco, and inflationary pressures fueled by the cost of crude oil, which recently surpassed $110 per barrel. Flexible packaging advantages A slowdown in the economic environment not withstanding, flexible packaging has many factors in its favor. It continues to move into established packaging segments with distinctive product offerings, many times in the form of pouches.

Looking Ahead

The Global Release Liner ­Industry Conference, hosted annually by AWA Conferences & Events, took place this year Feb. 6-8 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The event, which alternates annually between North America and Europe, drew 150 delegates from all corners of the globe to focus on the opportunities and concerns in a business that has seen considerable consolidation in recent years, and is facing rising costs, reduced profitability, and environmental issues. Market data Opening the formal conference proceedings, Conference Chairperson Corey M. Reardon, president and CEO of market research consultants AWA Alexander Watson Associates BV, provided the first keynote address—his company’s global update on the


May May 4-7—RadTech UV/EB Technology Expo & Conference; Chicago, Ill.; www.uveb2008.com May 6—Harper 2008 Roadshow; Nashville, Tenn.; www.harperimage.com May 7-9—Global Pouch Forum 2008; Chicago, Ill.; www.packstrat.com May 12-14—International Sleeve Label Conference 2008; Chicago, Ill.; www.awa-bv.com May 13-14, May 15-16—FFTA/Clemson Digital Proofing for Flexography; Clemson, S.C.; http://graphics.clemson.edu/ITC May 14-15—Web Coating & Drying; Chicago, Ill.; www.SeminarsForEngineers.com May 29-June 11—drupa 2008; Dusseldorf, Germany; www.drupa.de June June 17-18—Understanding Web Handling Systems; Montreal, Canada; www.SeminarsForEngineers.com June 19—Harper 2008 Roadshow; Reno, Nev.; www.harperimage.com June 27-29—FFTA/Clemson Color Measurement & Management Symposium; Clemson, S.C.; http://graphics.clemson.edu/itc July July 9—Harper 2008 Roadshow; Milwaukee, Wis.; www.harperimage.com

Too Late to Ignore the World

For many years, most of the general population of the United States has had a ­domestic focus and perspective. We are surprised, and to some extent hurt, when other nations do not go along with our view of the world. Whether our international policies are right or wrong is not the point of this column; it is the fact that we no more control global development than we control the Internet. Take money matters. Americans traditionally look at the U.S. dollar as the basis for all other currencies. The traditional media reinforces that perspective; when we watch the Today Show or even the

Top Flexible Packaging Converters — Pressing Ahead

Last year, the Flexible Packaging Assocation (FPA) predicted that the flexible packaging industry would grow at a rate of 2 to 4 percent in 2007. In reality, the industry grew about 2.9 percent, according to the FPA—right in its target range. Compared to 2006’s growth rate of 5.1 percent, the more modest increase seems to reflect the hard economic times. packagePRINTING’s 2008 Top Flexible Packaging Converters Survey indicated that growth, though modest, was achieved by the large majority of flexible packaging converters that responded. About 86 percent of these converters reported that their businesses experienced growth in 2007, while 14 percent said business

Transforming Art into Science

Consistent repeatability is a critical goal in slitting. However, if slitting is approached as a work of art, where uniqueness is valued, such repeatability will be extremely labor-intensive, if not impossible. Instead, slitting should be a product of science, where the value is in understanding the parameters and being able to replicate the results again and again. Variability and uniqueness in the final product is not valued in science and shouldn’t be valued in the world of slitting. Knifeholders offer direct control over six critical factors—blade sharpness/profile, cant angle, overlap, side load force, overspeed, and slitter geometry—limiting variation and improving slit edge quality in

Will Wonders Ever Cease?

Whether they are political or technological, most revolutions give way to a period of fine-tuning and incremental improvement. Having shown that they can meet the needs of packaging houses for fast, affordable concept and interim proofing, digital inkjet devices up to 44˝ in width now are proving that they also can satisfy the rigorous demands of legal contract proofing for high-end packaging applications. Traditionally, inkjet has had difficulties in reproducing trap and overprint characteristics, fine lines and text, moiré patterns, light pastels, and metallics, and has needed special media and color management tools. Because of these issues, brand-sensitive clients still may specify a