FPLMA Technical Forum to bring industry together after two tough years

The Flexible Packaging and Labels Manufacturers Association (FPLMA) is confident that its 2021 Technical Forum and Awards event will be able to run across February 24-25 in 2022, having been originally scheduled for September.

The event will take place at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre in Southbank, so be sure to be across both Victoria’s COVID-19 safety requirements, and any additional restrictions imposed by the venue.

Day 1

Following the president’s address by Vince Sedunary, and the yet-to-be-named keynote speaker, the event will break for morning tea before starting the sustainability and grassroot improvements session.

With the packaging industry heavily focused on achieving compliance to the 2025 national packaging targets, the speakers are covering how it’s being achieved currently, and best practice.

Up first is Meredith Epp, sustainability officer, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) who will discuss collaboration between industry, government, and community groups to create positive environmental change.

Epp is followed by Matt Mills, partnerships and projects officer, APCO, discussing the integration of best practice packaging and sustainability measures into Australia consumer markets.

The last speaker for the session is Austen Ramage, group manager – sustainability, Martogg, on the circular economy in practice: challenges, achievements and the importance of education as we head towards 2025.

An end user’s perspective

The next session for the day will cover consumer expectations and how they are shifting for the packaging industry.

Mark Sammut, technical manager, FineFood Holding will cover the difference between innovation and being a ‘me-too’ company.

Then, consultant Stuart Burt, a sustainable packaging and materials specialist will discuss the importance of packaging from your consumers’ perspective.

The last speaker for the session is Ryan Sharatt, head of technical consultancy and performance – APAC, Schawk, who will explain what printers and brand owners are looking for in the current market.

Fast track to digital

The fourth and final session for the first day will discuss the shift to digital packaging and label printing, explaining what the latest technology is capable of, and the broader business benefits that digital flexibility offers.

Paul Thacker, A/NZ sales manager, Tesa, will kick off the session by discussing how to achieve high quality digital print results — even on long runs.

Daniel Blau, solutions and partners manager, HP, will speak on cloud printing, and how it allows businesses to ‘distribute and print’ rather than ‘print and distribute’, including benefits and advantages.

The final speaker for the session — and day — is Alexander Frenk, regional manager technical, W&H, who will specifically cover the digitalisation of packaging production.

Day 2

The second day of the technical forum focuses on ‘change, challenge, and opportunity’ and will examine business strategies, how technology is allowing for innovation, and the latest in print finishing options for business owners that want to enhance their finishing capabilities.

The first speaker of the day is Ivan Colhoun, global head of research, NAB, who will discuss the big four bank’s latest research.

Colhoun writes NAB’s daily and weekly economics and market reports, and has worked across the Reserve Bank of Australia, Deutsche Bank, Qantas and ANZ, having also consulted for Seek and Virgin Australia.

New, innovative technology

The second session of the day — and sixth in the forum — will be kicked off by Dominik Mietus, director and founder, EAC US, discussing new trends in anilox cleaning and maintenance.

Mietus will be followed by Danielle Kinsella, marketing production and communications, Hamillroad Software (UK), who will cover advanced screening for efficient flexo.

The final speaker for the session is Jonathan Moore, director, Leading Edge Flexo, speaking on how specialised materials impact the overall print process across sustainability, efficiency and accuracy.

Following Moore’s talk and questions for the speakers, the FPLMA will host its AGM.

Global business, global strategies

A one-hour long panel session featuring yet-to-be-named “distinguished industry leaders” will discuss how they took their businesses from good to great.

That will focus on four key areas: how they did it, how to build resilience out of mayhem to prepare your business for the future, chaos as a ‘best friend’, and speaking on whether the industry is ready to accept the challenge both on an individual and global basis.

Enhanced print

The final session of the forum will cover print enhancements and finishing.

Michael Dosser, general manager, Result Group of Companies, will explain the latest trends in smart packaging — with a focus on brand protection for consumers.

Then the conversation will pivot to inks, with Brad Wheeler, technical manager A/NZ, DIC speaking on sustainability ink systems and how to ensure the inks for your packaging meet regulations and compliance.

The final session for the day, and forum, will be delivered by Aldus Engineering, which will discuss the latest in its hybrid analogue/digital label printing technology.

Dinner, dance, and awards

The FPLMA awards and dinner dance will take place at 6:00pm on the second day, Friday February 25.

As attendees to previous forums will know, beyond the education and speaking sessions, the advantage of industry events is often coming together with your peers to catch up and network.

As FPLMA secretary Anthony Dalleore tells ProPack.pro, “The printing industry has lacked that for the past 18 months.

“It’s an opportunity for people to get together and talk about what they’ve been doing for the past 18 months, and how they’ve seen through the challenges, and how they’ve had to refocus their organisation to handle the current situation.”

The winners of the FPLMA awards will be announced, with entrants likely eager to know how they performed since entering the awards in mid-2021.The awards and dinner will be held at the Palladium in Crown, with Dalleore adding that the venue will likely be using the state or federal phone apps to check in and check for vaccination status on entry.

After a whirlwind18-odd months of coronavirus restrictions, it’s of course possible that an unexpected event will lead to a lockdown in Melbourne. In that case, the FPLMA has a backup plan to host it online.

Dalleore tells ProPack.pro, “We’re pretty confident of going ahead with it considering Victoria is opening up come November, with the double vaccination and person per square metre rules.”

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