It’s no surprise that attendance is down at practically every trade show in 2003. The stagnant U.S. economy continues to impact the number of attendees that companies send to these gatherings.
Such is the case with the Foundation of the Flexographic Technical Association’s (FFTA) Forum 2003, which was held May 4-7 at the Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, UT. Approximately 900 attendees made the trek to Salt Lake City, a sharp decline from the nearly 1,500 who attended last year’s meeting in Washington, D.C.
Still, attendees said that the diminished attendance was somewhat made up for by the quality of attendees, as key decision-makers were on hand to see what was new at Info Flex’s 198 booths.
“As our members continue to re-evaluate their business travel and show expenditures, we can be very satisfied with the level of support that the Annual Forum received this year,” said FTA/FFTA president Mark Cisternino. “The strong technical program content and excellent networking opportunities provided participants with good value in a continued tight economy.”
“Reaching New Heights” was the theme of Forum 2003, chaired by Paul Lancelle of Green Bay Engraving. It opened with a consumer product company summit addressing the demands of package buyers and the approaches that converters can use. The summit was led by Ken Lowden, DuPont Imaging Technologies, FFTA’s Forum 2004 chairman.
Consultant Barry Wishner then delivered the keynote address,“Savvy Leadership...No Limits, No Boundaries."
Ink manufacturers played a key role in the presentations during Forum 2003. Ed Dedman of SICPA North America spoke at the paperboard session on “Total Inkroom Management,” in which he emphasized the importance of managing in-house ink color.
During the Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC) session, H. Conaty of Coates Inks, Inc. discussed “Extended Gamut Color in Flexography.” In the corrugated /preprint session, Jim Wegemer of Sun Chemical spoke about “Producing Award-Winning Graphics for Corrugated” through the use of knowledge and experience. During the towel and napkin session, Premier Ink System’s Greg Cansler spoke of “VOCs and the Sensitive Balancing Act” in order to meet and exceed required rub and bleed specifications.
In particular, the inks and coatings breakout session was a particular highlight for ink companies. The session was chaired by Chris Patterson of Flint Ink and Paul Fulton of Color Resolutions International. Ink management, UV inks and maximizing ink value were subjects that were covered.
The ink and coatings session speakers included Stanley Field of Flint Ink, who spoke on “Optimizing the Effect of Ink on the Converting Process”; Glenn Webster of Sun Chemical GPI, whose topic was “Energy Curable UV and EB Flexo: Helping You Reach the Pinnacle”; and Carl Cecil, Color Resolutions International, who discussed “Technological Advancements and Their Effects on Today’s Industry.”
In addition, there was the awards banquet, which included the presentation of FTA/Flexo Market News Technical Innovation Awards to DuPont Imaging Technologies for its Cyrel FAST Digital Platemaking System and Rotometrics for its work with UEI Group in developing Uniflex Hot Stamp Rotary Dies. Arleen Neustein, president of Excelsior Packaging Group, was inducted into the FTA Hall of Fame. “A Utah Mountain Adventure,” staged with supplier support, was a fun event for attendees.
Printing ink companies were well represented at InfoFlex. Akzo Nobel Inks, Colorcon, Color Resolutions International, Eckart America, Environmental Inks and Coatings, Flint Ink, Graphic Sciences, INX International Ink Company, Sericol, SICPA North America, Sun Chemical and Water Ink Technologies were on hand to show their new products.
FFTA’s 2004 Forum will take place April 25-28 at the Wyndham Anatole in Dallas, TX.