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Awards that are as important as ever


In the run-up to this year’s Global Flexo Innovation Awards, Christopher Horton, independent judging panel chairman and industry expert, explains what makes them special – and why sharing flexo’s success stories has become even more important…

The Global Flexo Innovation Awards is different from other competitions. It’s not about one company beating another. It’s about highlighting companies doing great work. Miraclon is setting a threshold of excellence, and that level is available for everyone. So any company that rises above this threshold is going to be a winner.

When I judged the awards last year I was very impressed with the quality level from around the world. While North American companies made relatively few submissions, Latin America, Europe and India did a fantastic job, providing innovative ideas and high-quality work that was exciting to see.

As an example, Italy’s Z-Due did a great job of communicating what they were able to achieve for mass conversion from litho to flexo in the Italian corrugated market, by providing a broad spectrum of samples that showed the impact they were having in the marketplace, with supporting documentation to explain the science behind it. It was really beneficial to the judges to understand how they were innovating as a company, and how they were benefitting the marketplace in general and their customers specifically.

Another entrant that set the bar for creativity last year was Imageworx, from the US, with its lenticular stamp, which used unique Miraclon technology to achieve a 3D look, to showcase the precision that can be achieved with modern flexo.

Lorytex, a tradeshop from Uruguay, and a high honor gold winner from last time, also provided a detailed analysis on how implementing ECG in the printer and converter workflow can provide cost savings, while improving quality and consistency. The application they submitted was particularly interesting because it was implemented in a printer site with an old geared press, bringing it back into operation and achieving top quality print jobs.

“Flexo has been on an upward trajectory for the past two decades. And while the Covid-19 crisis is undeniably disruptive, flexo has a key role to play in helping the world’s response.”

Vital links in the chain

The awards really are a great way to recognize the importance of this industry. Our goal is to demonstrate how the flexo process continues to innovate and grow, becoming more powerful as a tool. Most of the potential participants operate in the food packaging value chain. And in these adverse times, these companies are essential. They are working, many under difficult circumstances, to supply their product so people can eat.

Flexo has been on an upward trajectory for the past two decades. And while the Covid-19 crisis is undeniably disruptive, flexo has a key role to play in helping the world’s response. One of its primary uses is creating disposable packaging, the use of which has dramatically increased for hygiene reasons.

Shared experience

These awards may provide a crucial avenue for flexo companies to promote themselves, and to learn from peers from around the world. Some challenges may be the same, but how those challenges are approached may be completely different.

The best thing? This all benefits the industry as a whole. When companies show they’re above the threshold that Miraclon has set, it drives more volume to flexo, and the entire industry becomes a winner.

Christopher Horton is a print innovator, entrepreneur and consultant, and is independent judging panel chairman for the Global Flexo Innovation Awards.