Industry News

GAA Gravure Global Summit 2020 Wrap-Up Report


The Gravure Global Summit 2020, organized by the Gravure Assn. of the Americas, proved to be a great success. Held in early March in New Orleans, LA, the program, “Gravure: Leading Today, Transforming Tomorrow,” brought together speakers presenting on business and technical topics across the gravure-printing and coating industries for products from flexible packaging to home decoration.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to impact travel, the attendance was in line with past years. In fact, if all who registered could have attended, this summit would have been one of the biggest. 

As a member benefit, the presentations are available for download in the Members Only area of the GAA Website. If you already have member access, login and head over to the Events/Events Archive (Proceedings). 

Review of presentations
​The dynamic keynote from Linda Casey of Brand Experience Packaging magazine set the tone for both days.  As she pointed out,  the gravure industry needs to present when possible print samples showing what Gravure can do to promote Brands.  The latest generation of designers need more exposure to the advantages of the Gravure printing process. She stressed supporting the print buyer and participation in awards like the “Golden Cylinder”.  Having the printers’ work and your client’s job being “Award” winning helps the print buyer justify their choice in printing process.

The presentation from Duncan Darby of Clemson University is a very good way to understand the pressures from society and brands on plastic packaging, but also what can be done to overcome the obstacles and what technologies and material combinations are providing environmental options.   

Dr. Kai Bär of adphos Digital Printing presented an update on the NIR (Near Infrared) drying technology that is on the new Faustel press starting up at Interprint.  NIR reduces energy consumption and high savings of CO2 emissions compared to conventional (gas)-dryers.  

Eva Rowe of Messe Düsseldorf North America presented what visitors to drupa would expect.  The trade show has changed its date to April 20-30, 2021 because of COVID-19 pandemic. The presentation shows the improvements to the trade show since 2016 and how to gain the best experience in your visit.  

As always Gary Jones of Specialty Graphics and Imaging Association presented what has and what is changing regarding the EPA and OSHA.  There is a significant amount of change so his presentation needs close review.  He pointed out the number of OSHA inspections has dropped but the fines have increased.

Blair Bullock, Assistant Professor from Tulane Law School, pointed out that as changes in society happen, the labor laws affecting HR change and need to be monitored.  Changes are happening concerning FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), needs to watch the FMLA during the COVID-19 crisis, rulings in Sexual Harassment (Me-too), legalized Marijuana, Transgender Discrimination and Social Media.

Andrew Delong of UW-Stout and students Mia Bartel and Kelly Jablonski showed how important it is for the Industry to work with higher education to assure talented persons will want come into the printing industry.  They also pointed out some important concerns with the newest generation to come into the work force: they want to be challenged and want more than a job.  Additionally, Chris Teachout of Daetwyler, a CPCC 2019 graduate, shared how scholarships were important and being able to work part time at CCL during school allowed him to gain working and academic knowledge so he could become a 3rd generation printing professional.

Todd Luman of Interprint was a pitch hitter for Rod Sosa in presenting an update of the rollover of the GEF into the PGSF (Print and Graphic Scholarship Foundation).  After the update he stressed the industry needs to continue to support and contribute.  Also, he wanted all to know with the move of the GEF funds to the PGSF, Rod Sosa, Walter Vail, and himself were added to the PGSF board to make sure the GAA was represented.

Prof. Robert Eller of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) updatied attendees on the HCR (Hybrid Chrome Replacement) project. It is always amazing the amount of scientific methodology he is able to apply to this project.  As he is pointed out, the data is showing the potential but the project is quickly approaching the point where a company will need to step-up and make the investment for the project to go commercial.  

The COVID-19 prevented Roberto Spinoglio and Jonathan Giubilato of Bobst from traveling from Italy but we were fortunate to have Kevin McNally present the material on “What does the future hold for Gravure.”  The presentation shows there is a future and innovated technologies are keeping the gravure process as important as ever.

The session on “Gravure Digital Transformation of Production Processes” was a tag team from Saueressig Group Allan Bendall and Christian Groh.  They presented how changes in workflow that integrated new color management technology utilizing the computing power of the cloud reduces cost and increases consistency in color. 

Bob Speiss of K. Walter Service Corp. presented “Innovations for Gravure Cylinder Making: Helio-Chrome and Helio-Pearl,”  showing the HCR project is not the only project that will help the Gravure Industry move away from Hexavalent chrome.  The Helio-Chrome has cylinders in production that utilize existing engraving methods combined with a Trivalent Chrome coating that removes the hazardous target from the gravure cylinder production.  The Helio-Pearl project that is in development has the potential to allow printers to move toward producing their own cylinders in-house.

Allison Crawford of Midwest Print Solutions moderated an open discussion that presented the attendees with a series of statements and questions asking for ideas from the audience.  This generated a lot of good ideas and the audience answers will be compiled and distributed.

Finally, Tony Donato of the GAA presented an update and review of the newly launched Website explaining the features that add value to companies that are members and it increases the GAA’s internet presence. 

While the 2020 Global Summit was a fantastic event, we also recognize the challenges the current health crisis has placed imposed on us all. We thank those of you who did attend and we fully respect those who made the decision, for their own health and safety or for that of others, not to attend. Throughout the course of the event, we repeatedly heard from those who were in attendance appreciation for the relevance, worthiness, and depth of information presented. For those of you who are interested in the materials from the 2020 Global Summit, they are available to members and attendees here.

We have begun planning for the 2020 Technical Forum in anticipation of being in a better place with COVID-19. More updates to come, but we look forward to seeing you in September to celebrate our past and plan our future together.

Read more: GAA Gravure Global Summit 2020 Wrap-Up Report

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