FTA Europe takes shape

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The June 25 meeting featured representatives from across the European flexo industry - Picture courtesy of Jan Vroegop (EFTA-Benelux)

National flexographic associations from across Europe are to work in closer cooperation in order to bring together the European flexo industry under an umbrella organization to be known as FTA Europe.

Representatives of associations from Italy, France, Sweden, Poland, the UK and the Dutch-speaking regions of the Benelux countries met in Brussels, Belgium on June 25 to outline their shared thoughts and knowledge from their respective countries, and to discuss the opportunities of working together to coordinate their activities and initiatives through a representative “voice of the industry”. They are all agreed that this is an important step in the development of the flexo industry in Europe and further afield.

The Brussels meeting was hosted by EFTA-Benelux and was a follow-on from a meeting arranged by ATIF, the Italian flexographic association, in Bologna, Italy on November 19, 2013. The next meeting of FTA Europe is to take place during Emballage in Paris on November 17-20, while a website and logo will be designed and unveiled in the coming months. 

FTA Europe has made education and standardization of the flexo process key targets of its initial work in order to enhance and promote the flexographic process as a competitive printing technology, especially for packaging. It will also be undertaking a survey of those involved in the European flexo industry to ascertain what they see as being important topics for the fledgling group to address.

FTA Europe will act as an umbrella organization for the European flexographic industry with national associations from across the continent as members, supported by industry suppliers. The June 25 meeting was sponsored by Esko, Sun Chemical and Uteco Group. The FTA Europe board is to be made up of nominated representatives from national member associations

Rogier Krabbendam, secretary-general of EFTA-Benelux, used education as an example to describe how this will work in practice. ‘As a group we want to raise the overall level of training and education in the European flexographic industry, but it will be those on the ground that are able to organize and deliver the training that will make this a reality.

‘This will help create a harmonized level of knowledge and technical competence across the European flexographic industry.’

Krabbendam added: ‘Harmonizing the work of the different European flexo associations will provide a way to help the flexo market to continue growing, and to keep the whole market informed about the latest technology developments and process advancements being made.’

Sante Conselvan, ATIF president, concluded: ‘FTA Europe is intended for all those in Europe who use the flexo process. Together we are stronger.’