Positive Business and Growth Projected for the Flexible Packaging Industry

Erin Wolford Head Shot

Erin J. Wolford is Editor-in-Chief of Flexible Packaging magazine.

Flexible Packaging Magazine has just put to bed its January/February issue, which contains some very positive industry surveys and research. The cover story, our second-most read article (aside from our annual Top 25 Converters listing), features a Q&A with industry executives on their take of how 2015 will shape up. The outlook is once again positive. The executives have some interesting insights into the how and why of the industry gains, as well as their stance on how the rest of this year looks.

The January/February cover artwork reflects many of the phrases that our executives responded with. Take a closer look at the phrases and then read the cover story to see if you agree with the assessments the executives offered.

There is also a very nicely researched article from ThFLP0215_Covere Freedonia Group, which highlights the key growth markets for the flexible packaging industry. Titled Demand for Flexible Packaging Pouches to Continue to Grow, this article highlights global demand, which is should grow 6.2 percent annually, reaching $37.3 billion in 2018. The article highlights researched geographical regions of growth; package type/format that is projected to have the most growth; and growth by vertical market.

If you read anything about the flexible packaging industry this month, these two articles are the keys to kicking off this year in the right direction – with positive news!

You can go online and register to be part of the leading America’s leading event for converting professionals and I hope to see you in Orlando!

ICE USA’s Guest Blogger is Erin J. Wolford. Wolford is Editor-in-Chief of Flexible Packaging magazine, www.flexpackmag.com. Wolford has been in publishing since 2005, starting her career at the International Code Council as an Editorial Assistant. In 2006, she joined Security Magazine, a BNP Media publication, as Associate Editor and Electronic Media Editor, and was promoted to Managing Editor, ending her time there as Interim Editor. Wolford joined Flexible Packaging as Editor-in-Chief in 2010, leading the magazine into its positive industry positioning as the number one source for the flexible packaging industry. Flexible Packaging Magazine is the official publication for the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA). Email Erin at wolforde@bnpmedia.com.

Posted in Associations, Attendees, Business Opportunities, Education, Education and Seminars, Exhibitors, Flexible Packaging, General, Guest Blogger, ICE USA, Trade Publications, Trade Shows, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sharpen Your Skills at ICE USA 2015

Kelly Robinson Head Shot

Kelly Robinson, PE, PhD, Owner-Electrostatic Answers will be a featured “Ask the Expert” at ICE USA.

ICE USA 2015 is shaping up to be an excellent event at several levels. You’ll be able to see the latest technologies from many of the world’s top companies. And, you have at least three different opportunities to sharpen you technical skills.

  1. Ask the Experts – Six leading experts in converting technologies will be available for 15 minute 1-1 discussions.
  2. CEMA Fundamentals Seminars – The Converting Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA) is presenting their CEMA Fundamentals Seminars.
  3. ICE USA Conference sponsored by AIMCAL – The Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL) has organized an excellent technical program.

The Ask the Experts to learn more about converting technologies in 1-1 discussions. I would be honored to talk with you about static electricity in a 15-minute 1-1 discussion. Asking a quick question on the exhibition can be difficult because there are many activities. Holding someone’s attention for more than a minute can be frustrating. And, with all of the hubbub at a large exhibition like ICE, I find it hard to focus on one topic for more than a few seconds. So setting aside 15 minutes in a comfortable room with closed doors provides a perfect venue for a discussion. Perhaps there is a specific static problem in one of your operations. I can help you define a plan to solve the problem. Or, maybe you just have a question or you have received conflicting advice. I’d be happy to talk with you and help sort things out.

The CEMA Fundamentals Seminars are valuable for both those who are new to converting and for seasoned engineers. Individual presentations are presented on a variety of converting topics at an overview level. For those who are new to converting, the CEMA Fundamentals Seminars are excellent introductions to the diverse technologies that together enable efficient and reliable coating, drying, slitting and rewinding operations. For seasoned engineers, presentations in your areas of expertise are welcome refreshers that reinforce and perhaps deepen your skills. And, the rest of the seminars provide great introductions to “adjacent” technologies strengthening your understanding of the big picture.

The Seminars are organized into 2 concurrent tracks; Coating & Drying, and Slitting & Rewinding. The Coating & Drying track presents 15 seminars, each 30 minutes, on solution delivery, surface treatments, coating methods, defects, drying, inspection systems, web tension, winding, static electricity. The Slitting & Rewinding track presents 11 seminars, each either 30 or 45 minutes on unwinding, tension control, web guiding, spreading, slitting, winding and static electricity.

I present “Dealing with Static Electricity” in the Coating & Drying track. My colleague Matt Fyffe, Meech International, presents “Static Electricity” in the Slitting & Rewinding track.

The ICE USA Conference is a comprehensive educational program. Come and listen to 30 minute presentations by leading experts. I’ll be talking about “Static Control Best Practices for Converting and Printing.” We’ve planned time for a short discussion at the end of each presentation so you’ll have a chance to ask questions and listen to a short discussion of the presentation.

I look forward to ICE USA 2015. I hope to see you there!

ICE USA’s Guest Blogger is Kelly Robinson. In 2007, Kelly founded Electrostatic Answers, an engineering consulting company dedicated to eliminating injury and waste from static electricity. Over the last 25 year, Kelly has served over 100 companies including many of the Fortune 500.

He is a Professional Engineer in New York State, holds the PhD degree in electrical engineering from Colorado State University, and he is an IEEE Fellow. Kelly serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Electrostatics and he is a contributing editor for Paper Film & Foil Converter where he writes “Static Beat,” a regular column on static control for the converting industry. His columns, blogs, journal articles and patents contribute to:

  • Controlling static in converting, coating, and printing
  • Preventing static fires
  • Measuring charges
  • Improving instrumentation
Posted in AIMCAL, Associations, Attendees, Business Opportunities, CEMA, Education, Education and Seminars, Exhibitors, Guest Blogger, ICE USA, Networking, Trade Shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reasons why you should go to ICE USA 2015

Noel Ward Headshot

Noel Ward is Editor-in-Chief of packagePRINTING magazine.

I’ve long since lost count of how many shows and conferences I’ve been to over the past 20 years, but there has been one constant across them all. It is the value that comes with networking, gaining new knowledge, coming up with new ideas, and seeing first-hand how equipment and software can deliver new productivity and profitability.

Being a technology junkie, I am drawn to the show floor where I can get up close with the equipment, see how things work, and ask questions. That strokes my engineering genes, but very often it is the conference sessions that are the real gold. These are the places where perspectives are gained and ideas are born. I often find myself frantically scribbling down notes on new thoughts while listening to the speakers. Almost every notebook I take to a show comes home with a several pages filled with new thoughts and ideas for magazine articles, videos and webinars. This happens at nearly every show or conference I attend.

Conferences are also places where, free from the day-to-day demands of running a printing and converting operation, you can seek out new opportunities, maybe look at your business in a new way, and even question the status quo. You see something new, ask a question, or hear someone else ask one, and something “clicks” in your head. And you suddenly have a different way to think about a process, problem or challenge. Or maybe just see a new opportunity.

So as you cruise the floor at ICE USA 2015 next month, go with an open mind. Look at both digital and conventional technologies and see what they have to offer. Listen to what the speakers have to say about all types of printing and converting, and about how you can make your business more successful and more adaptable to our changing industry. The range of information available can be almost overwhelming and a little intimidating at times, but the more you hear and think about, the better prepared you are to make the moves in your business that can separate you from your competitors.

You can go online and register to be part of the leading America’s leading event for converting professionals and I hope to see you in Orlando!

ICE USA’s Guest Blogger is Noel Ward. Noel is Editor-in-Chief of packagePRINTING magazine, published by North American Publishing Company. He directs all editorial content for the publication plus cross-media activities including video production, webinars, blogs, and all electronic versions of packagePRINTING.

Spanning over 25 years in digital printing, marketing communications and market research, Noel has edited four leading printing industry magazines and advised leading vendors, franchisors and independent print providers on nearly all aspects of digital printing. He has written hundreds of articles and blogs, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and at vendor-sponsored customer events. He has created numerous white papers, case studies, and produced promotional and training videos for industry-leading companies.

Regardless of the medium or venue, Noel’s primary focus is on communicating ways companies can use digital printing technology as a driver of business growth, productivity and efficiency.

Posted in AIMCAL, Associations, Attendees, Business Opportunities, CEMA, Education, Education and Seminars, Exhibitors, General, Guest Blogger, ICE USA, Networking, Orange County CC, Orlando, Florida, Social Media, Trade Publications, Trade Shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PFFC subscribers respond to CalPoly Research on Innovative Packaging Technologies

Yolanda Simonsis, President & Editorial Director of Paper, Film & Foil Converter (PFFC).

Yolanda Simonsis, President & Editorial Director of Paper, Film & Foil Converter (PFFC).

In a market research study conducted by California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), PFFC subscribers answered questions related to converting on key trends changing the digital printing, labeling, and packaging industries. For full coverage of the study, visit PFFC.

Additionally, a full copy of the report is available on the CalPoly web site. PFFC readers who order the report will receive a discounted price. Contact me at ysimonsis@pffc-online.com using the subject line: CalPoly Research.

As author of the full report, titled “Emerging Technologies for Packaging Innovation,” CalPoly’s Carl Joachim (Associate, Graphic Communication Inst.) states the purpose of the study was to quantify the use of various emerging packaging technologies and applications used by value-chain stakeholders. The intersection of consumer marketing, packaging, and graphic communication fueled by emerging digital technologies was the basis for this research. Recent experience in working with packaging converters, consumer packaged goods companies, and technology providers led CalPoly to believe the research could serve the interests of numerous groups engaged in packaging and package printing.

Usefulness of Digital Printing & Packaging

Among the illuminating findings related to converter responses specific to the usefulness of digital printing and packaging are a sampling of direct quotes below from study respondents that I thought ICE USA website visitors may find revealing:

  • “It has a place in printing roll labels and is trying to find a place in the folding carton market. The challenge for the folding carton market is the additional processing required after printing.”
  • “Digital printing will become a large part of the traditional packaging printer’s production capabilities. Although some equipment vendors are addressing the needs of Packaging Printers, they still have a ways to go before it is truly a viable alternative for most.”
  • “I see digital printing useful not only as a short-run solution, but also as a solution to jobs that can be difficult to keep registered on press. For example, we have one client who combines shadow and highlight effects in Photoshop with very fine CMYK reverse text, and even with our laser CTP process we find it difficult to produce consistent results for the client. Digital would be a great fit for this job even if though it is not a short run.”
  • “As digital quality and speed increase, it is becoming a truly viable alternative to traditional methods. I am particularly impressed with the quality of finished product produced by the . . . digital press. Once a system exists that can economically produce print runs in excess of 15,000 feet fast enough to compete with traditional methods, the pendulum will have swung and traditional methods will reserved for only the longest of production runs.”
  • “I believe digital printing is not the future—[it] is the present. Our company made huge investments to use this technology. But, due to several issues regarding Food Regulatory statements, we cannot seize one of the most powerful improvements: flexibility.”
  • “In one year, on a 9% increase in sales, our [shipments] have increased almost 50%. People are ordering smaller lots, more often, and in greater variety. The shift has been underway for years, but seems to have accelerated lately. Hence the advantage of plateless printing with minimal make-readies. Short run capabilities seem to be a hot button in the market.”
  • “Unbelievable potential applications in the packaging market. If the ink suppliers can be more specific in FDA/food contact safety/language, it would be even better!”

Some converters note digital’s merits while citing the improvements it still must make for broader acceptance:

  • “Very convenient for short runs but the cost of (digital printer) inks, measured by click charge, is much more expensive than offset inks.”
  • “The high quality and low run capability of Digital printing is attractive but the cost onto corrugated is high. We use digital printing for our customers presentations to new markets, occasional point of sale displays and point of sale hangers.”
  • “Can be a huge asset for short runs, but has its own set of unique costs that need to be absorbed. Also, not all flexo operators can operate digital, which is more computerized versus the older flexo presses which we have are much more mechanical in operation. Highly skilled flexo operators are not necessarily skilled digital operators. Raises the issue: who runs the digital press?”
  • When it came to citing the most pressing issue that must be addressed for a company to adopt digital printing and why, the answers overwhelmingly cited the biggest issue was cost. Although said a variety of ways, in a nutshell it came down to the following:
  • “In terms of adopting these technologies internally, cost of investment for digital printing technology as well as lack of current market size to justify purchase within our customer base are both major barriers.”
  • “Cost of entry.”
  • “Investment.”
  • “Speed.”
  • “Equipment.”
  • “Know how.”
  • “Cost and training.”

Be sure to visit www.PFFC-online.com for the full executive summary.

Send Your News to PFFC

Of course, PFFC will be exhibiting at ICE USA, so be sure to help us provide full coverage of the event by doing two things:

  1. Send your news about your company’s presence at ICE and tell us what visitors can expect to see at your booth, including photos.
  2. Visit us at ICE USA–Booth #359–and chat with PFFC’s staff and technical experts, including:

See you on February 10–12 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center!

My friends call me Yo!

ICE USA’s Guest Blogger is Yolanda Simonsis. Yo is President & Editorial Director of YTC Media Inc., owner of Paper, Film & Foil Converter (PFFC). She is a 36-year veteran of the converting, packaging, and printing industries. She has held past editorial positions with several publications, including Packaging Digest (1978—1983) and Converting Magazine (1983—1995). In 1995, Yolanda joined the staff of Paper, Film & Foil CONVERTER (PFFC) under Penton Media Inc.’s ownership, assuming the position of Associate Publisher and Chief Editor. She also served as Editorial Director of Boxboard Containers International for three years. In September 2011, Yolanda spearheaded the acquisition of the PFFC brand from Penton after forming YTC Media Inc. with two partners. PFFC celebrates its 86th year in covering the converting industry as an exclusively online media resource at www.PFFC-online.com, providing full coverage of the flexible packaging, label, tape and tags, carton and box, and unprinted rolls and sheets industries.

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ICE USA Stands Alone as Favorite Trade Show

Dr. Dave Roisum is a well-known authority in the area of web handling and converting. Dr. Roisum is also one of the industry leaders taking part in "Ask the Experts" during ICE USA 2015.

Dr. Dave Roisum is a well-known authority in the area of web handling and converting. Dr. Roisum is also one of the industry leaders available to answer your questions with “Ask the Experts” during ICE USA 2015.

My favorite trade show of all is just a few weeks away and you should be making plans, registering and getting your travel arrangements to attend ICE USA 2015. My motivations include those that should also motivate you. We will have access to the best web machine builders, component suppliers and material sources on the show floor. Even if you are not in the market for a new machine, you can learn much and get many ideas from those that are operating on the floor.

While I might hesitate to talk to a customer service rep via phone or email, I have few such qualms doing so in person because it is so much more effective to do so face-to-face. In addition to vendors, there are ample opportunities to meet the industry experts; again face to face. I especially enjoy the Ask the Experts forum because I know I can get undivided and personal attention. Of course, there are also courses such as the CEMA Slitting and Rewinding short-course on Monday February 9. There are also continuous technical talks on a variety of must-know topics the following three days.

My personal goal in life is to learn at least one new thing from every person I meet and ICE USA will give me and attendees that opportunity. Where else can you meet with so many industry professionals in such a short time and learn so much?

In addition to those universal motivations, I have some of my own, in fact many. I will be teaching about spreading as applied to slitter rewinders for CEMA on Monday. I will show you how to diagnose wound roll telescoping and the corresponding causes and cures on Wednesday. In between, I will be in a booth as an expert. Sign up for a spot with me (and/or other experts) and we can talk web handling, converting, winding or problem solving. Come with a question, leave with an answer to your most vexing web issue.

I look forward to seeing you in Orlando for ICE USA 2015!

ICE USA’s Guest Blogger is Dr. Dave Roisum. Dr. Roisum is a well-known authority in the area of web handling and converting. He has authored nine books that include subjects such as Winding, Rollers and Web-Handling with his most recent being the Web Machine Buying Guide. He has coauthored or edited several others. Additionally, he has written 200 articles, conference papers and other publications. He has been a technical editor for Converting Magazine with a monthly column entitled Web Works since 1994. He is an AIMCAL technical advisor, instructor and blogger. Dave has been honored by TAPPI with their Finishing & Converting Division Award, Thomas W. Busch Prize and Finest Faculty awards. He was elected TAPPI Fellow.

Dave received his BS in Mechanical Engineering and MS in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and his Ph.D. from the Web Handling Research Center where he later became an Industrial Advisory Board member.

He is now a principal of Finishing Technologies Inc., providing consulting services to more than 300 clients who convert or manufacture; paper, film, foil, nonwovens, textiles, and many other materials.

Posted in AIMCAL, Attendees, CEMA, Education, Education and Seminars, Exhibitors, Guest Blogger, ICE USA, Networking, OEMs, Special Events, TAPPI, Trade Shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Expanding Your Business in Latin America


German Laverde will be the Keynote speaker on February 11th to open the Conference Sessions at ICE USA 2015.

Is Latin America the market that will boost your sales and profits?  Will you find “El Dorado” by bringing your company to Latin America?

Companies are eager to discover if Latin America will be a sustainable and profitable market that will improve their bottom line. Some of these organizations dive into the region headfirst, some follow references and others use the same marketing and sales strategies they use in their native markets. Often, they neglect to do research beforehand or become familiar with the local conditions and opportunities.

With an interesting mix of economical performance indicators and a huge potential consumer base, often representing the mix of their individual flavors, sounds and cultures, Latin America is an interesting market to explore. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is projecting a GDP growth of 1.3% in 2014 for the Latin America & the Caribbean region. Forecasts for 2015, also by the IMF, calls for a recovery and 2.2% growth rate.  Growing economies such as Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia have projected growth rates above 4%; other areas such as Mexico and some Central American countries have more modest forecast growth in the 2 to 3.5% range; while others such as Peru and Chile lose 2 points from last year. Panama is expected to be the best performer with 6.6% growth, while Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela are expected to show no growth or even lose more than 2 points.

Mexico City and Sao Paulo, with populations of more than 20 million (fourth and fifth biggest cities in the world), Buenos Aires with a little more than 15 million, Rio de Janeiro with almost 13 million, and Lima and Bogota with almost 10 million people, create a huge urban market with great demand for packaging and converted materials. All these cities are among the 35 biggest cities in the world. A very vibrant and interesting potential market!

However, this market also involves challenging demands and requirements. “Expanding Your Business Opportunities in Latin America: Realities & Challenges” is the title of an insightful and revealing keynote address that I will be presenting to lead off the February 11 Conference Sessions at ICE USA 2015 in Orlando, Florida.

This presentation does not pretend to have all the answers to guarantee success; however, it will offer guidelines and try to create awareness about the topics that may become relevant when trying to penetrate the Latin American market.  This presentation and assessment will be provided from the perspective of someone with over 20 years of experience with the capital equipment and converting industries and strong connection in Latin America.

Following the Keynote Presentation, I will also be providing complimentary one-on-one consultation sessions in the Ask The Experts Pavilion on the Show floor from 10:20 am to 1:00 pm. ICE USA attendees can book an appointment in advance on the ICE USA website.

ICE USA’s Guest Blogger is German Laverde. German has over 30 years of experience connected with business in Latin America. His experience includes positions as Technical Manager at Exiplast and Plastilene in his native country of Colombia. In the USA, he worked for almost 14 years with Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering, holding a variety of positions. He also worked for PTI as VP/Director of Sales – Latin America and for Cloeren Incorporated as Director of Sales – Latin America. German has chaired the Flexible Packaging Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers and is currently a member of SPI’s NPE Operations Committee. He has published papers and presented at ANTEC, TAPPI, AMI and numerous other conferences worldwide.

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Stimulating Challenges of Improving Processes

Dr. Kenneth McCarthy has over 35 years of experience in the coating industry and will be a featured "Ask the Expert" at ICE USA.

Dr. Kenneth McCarthy has over 35 years of experience in the coating industry and will be a featured “Ask the Expert” at ICE USA.

Welcome to everyone who is registered, or is considering registering, for ICE USA 2015. There are tremendous opportunities available at this conference for people in the converting industries.  For people who are fairly new to this field, the CEMA seminars on Monday, February 9th, are a great way to get a deeper understanding of the many processes that are used in these industries. The AIMCAL Technical Presentations, from 10-12 each day during the exposition, are an excellent opportunity to develop skills for your current job, or your next job. And the free “Ask the Experts” 15 minute technical consultations are a great way to get some insight and advice on those vexing problems that can beset any operation from time to time, so take advantage of all these opportunities to make yourself all you can be.

I am happy to meet with any of you who have questions that I may be able to answer. I worked at Polaroid and its derivative Multilayer Coating Technologies for 37 years, mostly in clean room coating operations, as an engineer, supervisor, and film plant manager. I was responsible for the introduction of new products in several film plants, bridging the transitions from R/D through Pilot Plant and scale-up to full production of more than 20 Polaroid products. It was always a stimulating challenge to get to the bottom of the underlying product technology and to improve our coating processes to meet the new product requirements.

Much of that time was spent on solving product defect issues, so I am happy to discuss those types of issues with you. I plan to bring my Celestron Digital Microscope with me to analyze any defect samples you may have.

At the 2014 AIMCAL Technical Conference, I gave a talk on Dispensing Systems, which included a discussion of bubbles in the dispensing systems for fluid coating operations. Most bubbles are caused by air entrainment, and there are several process steps where this issue can occur. On the suction side of pumps, any leaks can introduce air into the coating fluid. If there is recycling or solution is being added to an open container, bubbles can form if the solution is added above the fluid level, causing splashing to occur. Air pockets in lines caused by inadequate design can be sources of bubbles. Lastly, dissolved air coming out of solution is another cause of bubbles, so degassing is needed to eliminate this source. I am happy to discuss any dispensing issues and fluid mixing issues as well. See you in Orlando.

You can make an appointment with Dr. McCarthy or any other the other “Experts” here.

ICE USA’s Guest Blogger is Dr. Kenneth McCarthy. Ken has over 35 years of experience in the coating industry. He previously served as Senior Product Development Manager at Polaroid and Multilayer Coating Technologies. His company, Clean Room Coating Solutions, provides consulting services in coating, drying, defect characterization, coating heads, mixing, and scale-up projects, and more. His areas of expertise include coating fluid mix preparation and delivery, coating operations, clean room operations, coating applicator design, environmental management, and new product development. In addition, he has extensive experience in new product translation, from laboratory through scale-up into full-scale manufacturing. Ken received a PhD and MS in Chemical Engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Posted in AIMCAL, Associations, CEMA, Education and Seminars, Guest Blogger, Trade Shows, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment