Flexographic Tech Wins Gold in FTA Excellence in Flexography Award, College Student Category
Minneapolis—Flexographic Tech was honored to take home the Gold award for the College Student Category of Flexographic Technical Association’s 2018 Excellence in Flexography Awards. Student Aaron Pitt (Computype) from Flexographic Tech’s 12-week Press Operator Course produced the award-winning card.
The winning holiday card was printed on both sides of 8pt tag (supplied by Avery Dennison). The black text on the inside of the card was printed in station one and the web was flipped using the turn bar. The student then printed a four-color process image, a spot green, a high gloss spot varnish and a tactile pearlescent varnish over the snowflakes. (The card shows the 4 graduating classes from 2017)
What really sets the card apart is the tactile pearlescent vanish (supplied by Flint Group). The tactile varnish was run using a 105 CPI, 28 BCM anilox roll. With this much ink film thickness, the student had to run slow (95fmp) with max UV lamp settings in order to cure properly. The card was printed on our Mark Andy 2200 13 inch press. The student used extra-wide (half inch) bearer bars on the plate to help reduce the plate bounce inherent with our 22 year old press. Tight registration on the images with fine detail of logos made registration challenging. High resolution plates (Kodak supplied NX plates) required excellent kiss impression settings to allow for great-looking highlight dots and crisp images.
To ensure the best print quality the students optimized and fingerprinted the press, determined the best anilox rolls, plate screening technology and mounting tape to be used for the different colors. The optimization process allowed the tactile varnish to really pop off the front of the card and provided the touch sensation we were looking for.
Flexo Tech instructor Shawn Oetjen notes, “This is the second year in a row that Flexo Tech has taken top honors in the prestigious print competition. Although Flexo Tech is a newer addition to flexographic education, students are learning award-winning print fundamentals.”
Flexographic Tech’s role in training press operators is vital to the future success of the flexographic printing markets. The demand for the trained operators increases daily, as more people retire and fewer people enter the industry. Oetjen notes, “Every week I get more and more calls from printers looking for flexographic press operators. Some of these individuals are in a real panic and as the lack of operators is negatively impacting their business. Sadly, this problem is only going to get worse over the next decade if we do not train new operators.” According to JP Morgan Chase, There are currently 5.6 million unfilled jobs in America and that number is predicted to skyrocket to a staggering 16 million in 2024.
Flexographic Tech Welcomes New Silver Sponsor, Interflex Laser Engravers
Minneapolis— Flexo Tech is proud to welcome our newest Silver level sponsor, Interflex Laser Engravers. Interflex is a leading anilox roll supplier offering engraving quality through experience and technologies. Interflex realized the value and need for a flexographic educational institution in the Midwest and supports Flexo Tech’s training initiative with generous donations, such as supplying cutting-edge anilox rolls to ensure students produce the highest quality print possible.
“Interflex Laser Engravers sees firsthand the issues the Flexographic industry faces with a lack of trained press operators. We see a solution in Flexographic Tech and felt partnering with them would help the industry grow,” said David Skellie, President, Interflex Laser Engravers.
With help from our industry partners, Flexographic Tech is able to offer a top-of-the-line flexographic education for our students. Flexographic Tech is extremely grateful for the support received from its sponsors – without whom, the school wouldn’t exist.
Congratulations to the Latest Graduating Class of Flexographic Tech!
Minneapolis— Congratulations to the latest graduating class of Flexographic Tech’s Press Operator course: Andrew Webber, Aaron Pitt, Xai Thao, and Vang Thao. When the now-graduates began the course almost 12 weeks ago, they were completely new to flexographic printing. After completing the rigorous mix of 80% hands-on and 20% classroom training, all four graduates are now able to successfully operate flexographic presses. Part of the students’ final was to run a tight register, seven-color job with a die cut. In order to receive maximum points, they were required to set up the job in under 850 feet. Time played a pivotal role in the grading process, as the students had to perform both setup and clean up in less than 3.5 hours. In addition, the students completed an intense 150 question written final and achieved their FTA Level One Certification.
Left to right: Xai Thao (AWT Labels & Packaging), Aaron Pitt (Computype), Shawn Oetjen (Flexographic Tech Instructor), Andrew Webber (Blanco), Vang Thao (AWT Labels & Packaging)
Through a variety of classroom and hands-on work experience, the students increased their knowledge and efficiency in advanced press operations and components. The course ran from July 10th through September 15th and concluded with a celebratory presentation of program graduation certificates. All four students look forward to their new roles as press operators.
See what the latest graduating class had to say about their experience at Flexo Tech:
Flexo Tech is a great way to get your foot in the door of flexographic printing. This course is perfect for learning all of the ins and outs of this industry and it will teach you all of the skills needed to be a successful printers. I would recommend this class to anyone interested in this career path.
I was working as a press helper who was new to the flexo industry. After going through the Flexo Tech Press Operator training program I was able to become an entry-level operator, not a helper anymore. I am excited about my new career and the benefit it will have on my future.
Flexo Tech has really opened my eyes to the flexographic printing industry. There's so much to learn, and Shawn made it really fun. After the course I feel like I have the knowledge to put out the highest quality product every time I work.
Flexographic Tech was a great experience. It has made me appreciate the printing industry a lot more. It allowed me to learn what it takes to operate a press and what goes on to “behind the scenes” to create a label. My education at Flexo Tech will without a doubt help improve my career in this industry.
6/29/2017 Flexographic Tech Graduates three press operators from Philadelphia, PA and one operator from Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis— Congratulations to the latest graduating class of Flexographic Tech’s Press Operator course: David Bey, Adam Byam, David Forbes, and Edward Lashley. When the now-graduates began the course almost 12 weeks ago, they were completely new to flexographic printing. After completing the rigorous mix of 80% hands-on and 20% classroom training, all four graduates are now able to successfully operate flexographic presses. Part of the students’ final was to run a tight register, seven-color job with a die cut. In order to receive maximum points, they were required to set up the job in under 850 feet. Time played a pivotal role in the grading process, as the students had to perform both setup and clean up in less than 3.5 hours. In addition, the students completed an intense 150 question written final and achieved their FTA Level One Certification.
To attend the almost three-month course, Bey, Forbes and Lashley traveled to Minneapolis, MN from Malvern, Philadelphia, where they are employed as extruder and slitter operators at Infiana. Adam Byam worked in receiving at AWT Labels & Packaging in Minneapolis, MN. All four students look forward to their new roles as press operators.
Through a variety of classroom and hands-on work experience, the students increased their knowledge and efficiency in advanced press operations and components. The course ran from April 4th through June 9th and concluded with a celebratory presentation of program graduation certificates.
See what the latest graduating class had to say about their experience at Flexo Tech:
Traveling from Philadelphia to the Midwest, I did not know what to expect from Flexo Tech and the exciting world of flexography. I've learned about Anilox rolls and their importance to the Flexo industry. After my time spent training at Flexo Tech, walking into a supermarket is a totally new experience knowing that 90% of the product printed was done through flexography.
I have been in manufacturing and extrusion for 10 years and thought I know it all. There were some similarities in terminology and web handling and tensions, but I quickly identified that I had lots to learn. I had no idea what an anilox roll was or even registration. This class was intense and covered a lot of content in a short period of time. I feel good about what I leaned and amazed at what I can run on a press. I am looking forward to my future as a Flexo press operator.
After graduating from Flexo Tech, I have a new appreciation for labels found on consumer products at grocery and big box stores! Flexo Tech is a great school that deepened my understanding of the flexographic world. It was an excellent hands-on learning experience. Shawn, with his passion, was excellent instructor and makes going forward in this industry exciting!
The Flexo Tech Class was intense and I learned a lot. I never thought there was this much to know about printing.
About Flexographic Tech: Flexographic Tech is a Minnesota Non-Profit 501 C (3) Corporation dedicated to providing flexographic press operators and others in the flexographic industry hands-on training that ranges from a 2-day color theory course to a 12-week ‘deep dive’ flexographic press operation course. Flexo Tech is led by a nationally recognized instructor with over five years of teaching experience at Dunwoody Technical College. Flexo Tech’s mission is to provide the Midwest with a local source of training, filling the gap in the print industry’s need for qualified press operators. Flexographic Tech was founded and continues to be supported by AWT Labels & Packaging and Computype. Thank you to all Flexo Tech sponsors who have donated materials and financial support.