The Flexographic Technical Association’s annual FORUM conference and INFOFLEX trade show took place on May 5-8 in New Orleans, LA. At the opening ceremony and awards banquet on May 5, several Clemson Graphic Communications students were awarded scholarships for the coming year.
The first and second place 2019 FFTA (Foundation of FTA) Rossini North America Flexographic Research Scholarships were awarded to Clemson students Alexandria Gray Odom and Anissa Mollett, respectively. The 2019 Gary Hilliard FQC scholarship recipient was Dovie Jeffcoat, also from Clemson. Learn more about the FTA’s foundation of scholarships here.
A team of Clemson students also participated in the 2019 Phoenix Challenge College Competition and were recognized in the ‘Execution’ category for their innovative packaging solution for local business, Alchemy Improv Theater in Greenville, SC. The students designed and prototyped a puzzle box containing a two-sided BOGO coupon and several stickers in an Art Deco style, developed at the Sonoco Institute.
The following morning, FORUM kicked off with an inaugural Women in Flexo breakfast co-led by Clemson professor Nona Woolbright, followed by a session co-chaired by Sonoco Institute Assistant Director, Bobby Congdon. During the session, titled The Defectives, audience members participated in a print defect activity where they analyzed samples printed at the institute. Upon recognizing each defect, attendees were then polled through the FTA app to determine where they thought each flaw originated. The hands-on activity demonstrated common print defects and how best to work with various disciplines within the printing workflow.
That same day, 2018 Rossini Scholarship first place award winner Katie Treadaway, a graduating Clemson GC student, presented her findings on Optimizing Relief Depth for High Resolutions and Small Features from her 2018-19 flexographic plate research.
INFOFLEX, which was held just down the road from FORUM in the New Orleans Convention Center, showcased the latest innovations in flexo technology. Clemson’s Sonoco Institute exhibited an interactive, virtual pressroom where attendees were invited to operate the institute’s own press in a simulated reality. Bobby Congdon and Nate Newsome, the institute’s VR researcher, sat down on the Interactive Inks & Coatings podcast to discuss the project.
“What we want to do is get some industry support behind this to further fund the development of it and then get it out there as a training tool that everybody has access to,” said Congdon LIVE from INFOFLEX. “We especially see this as an important workforce development tool. We can put this out into high schools, tech schools, and try to get kids excited about printing.” Contact Bobby Congdon for ways to get involved.