An interview with: Martin (one of our flexo experts)
- Martin started working at LPF in 1991. Since then he’s proudly worked at LPF for 27 years.
- Just like Sido, Martin has also done quite some studies parallel to his work since then. When he started back in 1991 he followed an internal education to be an independent flexo printer. After that he’s he done another year long flexo study alongside his work. He has also followed a specialized cursus in flexoprinting at the GOC more recently.
- Martin likes to play football in his free time. He plays together with his team every Friday night. Participating in this organisation (vv Zuidhorn) is something he really likes, after the trainings they have on Friday they often relax together in the cafeteria. He also often coaches and trains the team of his son.
Flexoprinters and gravure printers: friend or foe?
““Delivering a successful flexo print with my co-workers feels like solving a challenging and large puzzle together with friends. We work in a team and tackle any issues together” – Martin
There is definitely a bit of internal competition between flexo and rotogravure printers. We’re not sure if it’s just a LPF thing or present everywhere. Our flexo experts are convinced that flexo is the superior choice while Sido and his co-workers from the Gravure department are convinced that rotogravure is still the superior choice. This never fails to lead to some quality banter between the two departments. Martin himself is pretty sober about this, he thinks the functions look quite a bit like each other.
Same principle, different execution
“The principle is not that different from rotogravure printing really, in both cases you try to make a good print and sometimes have to ‘puzzle’ away at flaws that form in the end-product. The big difference is the kind of flaws that appear are different between flexo and rotogravure printing, and the best ways to solve these flaws are also different.” – Martin
Examples martin gave were doctor blades leaving spots instead of stripes, or that when the printing plate gets filthy a flexo print will leave too much ink on the artwork. On the other hand gravure works with cylinders that dry-out when left filthy for too long.
As someone who has worked extensively at the flexo department, but also has some experience with being a rotogravure printer, Martin also adds: “The work is a little bit more fluid at our department. Our rotogravure team has 3 separate roles that have their own specific functions. On the other hand our flexo experts split all the work between two co-workers. And this split in workload is never the same but is very dependent on the situation.
Closing thoughts from Martin?
Flexibility is very important for aspiring flexo experts. Both when it comes to the work that you do and the hours in which you do it, according to Martin. Some weeks he works the nightshifts, where-as other weeks he starts a couple of hours before the sun rises and is done in the early afternoon.While it’s not for everyone, Martin quite likes the variance. It means he often has time to do the daily chores after a workday.
And just like gravure printers, good Flexo operators are getting more rare by the day. Therefore the demand for operators is getting quite high. And this will only continue to rise in the coming years with many wanting to work office jobs, Martin says.The function itself requires some technical know-how but it’s definitely not as technical as it used to be. This is in part because of the new W&H Flexopress he works with:
“The function is still technical in nature, but it’s definitely a lot less so compared to the past. Our new flexo printer has more systems and is a lot more advanced. This means the function also requires more of a combination of digital know-how and technical insight compared to the past, where it was mostly technically oriented ”- Martin