PROJECTS A new technology center, the study on how to print electronic devices, engagements in southern Italy and at Converflex-Grafitalia plus: communication, recruitment, synergies with institutions and dialogue within the sector… Sante Conselvan, President of Atif comments the last Flexo Day and talks about the many projects undertaken by the Italian association for developing flexography.  E.P.

«Flexo Day 2012 was well attended and packed with information, an authentic opportunity for flexographic printing operators to meet up, update and exchange information». Last November, at the end of the traditional Atif conference, Sante Conselvan, head of I&C and newly elected president of the association for the dissemination of flexographic printing expressed his satisfaction: More than 300 operators registered for the event where the most authoritative representatives of technical knowhow in the field took their turn on the speakers’ rostrum.
Conselvan remarked that «the presence of graphics experts and representatives of the user industry was also noted, thus promoting the dialogue within the sector and the sharing of knowledge and skills so essential to common understanding and successful cooperation».

And it is not the only "opening" worthy of note. While remaining true to its statute of technical organization, in November Atif also offered its members an interesting excursus on the potential of flexo printing of material for electronic and biomedical applications: a sector which in 2008 was worth 3 billion dollars but that has a potential of 90 billion dollars (sic!).
«In order to develop appropriate procedures – Conselvan, convinced advocate of expansion of perspective within Atif states on this count – a technical  association must also know what the market demands from flexographic printing, and perhaps also understand what opportunities are open to a technology that in packaging and labeling has enjoyed uninterrupted growth for years, but that may also find important outlets in other areas».

This was borne witness to by the well-attended talk held by David Deganello from UK’s Swansea University, presenting the results of experiments conducted on "thin film" for RFID, flexible OLEDs, biosensors, photovoltaics, etc.
As Deganello documented with factual reasoning and by showing samples, the procedure leads to excellent results and considerable savings compared to traditional silicon based micro-engraving, aboveall thanks to the adaptable and flexible inks and the excellent productive capacity of flexography.

Participate? A surplus balance
«The European Union – Conselvan said on the matter – has funded several research projects regarding the flexographic printing of electronic devices and the results obtained to date show that it was worth it. Notify and inform on the results of tests carried out by scientists has been important for everyone, especially in this time of crisis, confirming Atif’s prime task of information sharing and dissemination. This providing there is a true dialogue, without secrets, capable of involving all operators and stakeholders, upstream and downstream of printing.
This also includes the other associations: the "sister" associations in other countries, as well as the entrepreneurial associations, that have other goals and that hence show a great potential for interesting synergies».
This the message accompanying the coming Atif recruitment campaign: "Together we are stronger."
«Truth to say – the Atif president considers – Italy does not have a tradition of direct involvement comparable to the U.S., or Northern Europe, but I am convinced that new operators will join Atif if we can communicate the benefits clearly enough: professional growth and business access to information relating to technology and industry, direct contact with operators in other countries, the collective development of the topics of greatest interest … ».
This is what is more borne witness to by the Atif’s growth in recent years: the flexographic printing experts associations has not only increased in membership but it also has given itself a structure with a technical and a marketing committee, a series of consultants and increased susceptibility to direct participation».

Communication and training
A more solid organizational structure has led to the association’s embarking on an increasing number of evermore ambitious undertakings. The program of the new presidency is eloquent: «To relaunch and multiply opportunities for exchange, in 2013 we already have three major events: FlexoDay Sud, that is becoming increasingly important given the vibrancy and vitality of the operators and flexography in Southern Italy; the international trade fair Converflex-Grafitalia, where we will hold a couple of factual technical seminars dedicated to current issues; the coming edition of FlexoDay at the end of the year where, among other things, we will review the experiments and tests carried out on the machines in the intervening period».

«And, speaking of experimentation – reveals Conselvan – we have started up a project with great potential. At the San Zeno Graphic Design School of Verona we are in the processing of establishing a technology skill center dedicated to flexo and where Atif members, their customers, students, and professional refresher course participants will be able to carry out tests and experiments on new developments, materials, devices and methodologies.
Hence, with this kind of "research laboratory", we will finally have a place to carry out and check up on tests on machines without weighing on the good will and resources of the manufacturers who have generously hosted us up to now.

We will also be able to carry out tests, manage the training of technicians, try out new products and investigate possible opportunities not to mention – and it is not a secondary benefit – to be able to rely on a pool of experts which the industry so badly needs».
Communication and training, therefore, are the cornerstones of Atif’s growth projects. Conselvan believes this firmly: «Without the rendezvous, the sector press that multiplies and disseminates information, without the continuing professional growth of operators, not even the best projects would be able to get off the ground».    

Flexo Day 2012: the talks
The last Flexo Day was held in Bologna November 21st, 2012 under the title "Efficiency and reliability: from theory to practice”. After the welcome address by Sante Conselvan, Atif President, the following talks were given:
• ISO/TC 130 updates, Alessandro Beltrami, UNI Graphics Technology commission coordinator;
• Are things safe in the print room? Roberto Monguzzi, Assografici;
• tesa® process improvement in each roll (the correct use of plate mounting tapes and the splices at the reel changes), Massimo De Stefani, Silvano Tamai and Alessandro De Mannicor for Tesa SpA;
• Check-up and characterization of the print system, Moreno Melegatti, Atif;
• Efficiency in print before and after machine start-up, Andrea Dallavalle, Atif;
• Guidelines for the economic optimization of flexographic printing, Egidio Scotini, Sun Chemical SpA;
• Non-conventional flexo, David Deganello, College of Engineering, Swansea University (UK);
• Graphic preparation in flexo printing, Stefano D'Andrea, Atif;
• Reflections on the day, Emilio Gerboni, Atif.
The conference, organized by Atif (Association for the promotion of flexography), was supported by Ditom, Kodak, Lohmann, Simonazzi, Sun Chemical and Uteco, who provided the Technical Committee with the necessary equipment to carry out the experiments in 2012. Alongside these concerns the event was also supported by Tesa, Biessse, Bst, Edigit, Ets, I&C, Inglese, Huber & Tresu