Education, Knowledge and Know-how

Everybody wants to reach a production process that is repeatable and of improved quality.
One can do this by identifying the variables within the system and understanding their interactions in printing.
This objective is attainable via educational activities in order to improve users technical know-how and allow a continuous update to the latest production techniques in flexography.
A significative experience, gained over 30 years of activity, allows flexo•expert to be a competent partner to rely on, in case of educational, calibration and consultancy requirements within the flexographic printing process for packaging production.

Certified education

The educational activities offered by flexo•expert are supported by the 30+ years of experience of Stefano d’Andrea within the flexographic industry.

Stefano is an industrial graphic expert who was acknowledged as Certified Implementation Specialist according to the FIRST (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances) program of FTA, the American Flexographic Technical Association.

This important acknowledgement is given after the completion of 3 levels of in-depth training on the flexographic process that covers all aspects, starting from the communication between the customer, the prepress and the printing phases, up to the optimization and characterization methods of the flexographic printing system.

A winning method

Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST) supports the methodical approach to process control, optimization, fingerprinting, characterization and process improvement as outlined in CGATS TR 012-2003 (Graphic Technology – Color Reproduction and Process Control for Packaging Printing).

While each organization may use its own workflow based upon its specific needs, there are certain fundamentals universal to the flexographic printing process that must be known for the system to be effective and produce quality and economic satisfaction.

With a firm understanding and application of this methodology, and thanks to the educational program offered by flexo•expert, flexographers can:

  • identify potentially troublesome issues;
  • benchmark press performance;
  • utilize statistical analysis to maintain optimal conditions;
  • perform accurate device calibrations;
  • identify improvement opportunities;
  • preserve stable conditions for repeatable results

All with the end result of satisfactorily reproducing the graphic design that was commissioned.

The training activities offered by flexo•expert comply with the FTA FIRST method, with the ISO standards relevant to the flexographic process and with the Guidelines and specifications suggested by Atif ( to guarantee a level of professionalism appropriate to the modern needs of packaging printing in flexography.

Training courses

Educational and technical training activities are addressed to packaging printers (flexible packaging, labels and corrugated), platemaking companies, repro studios and graphic designers, manufacturers and distributors of printing presses and related technologies, graphic schools and trade associations, brand owners.

All educational activities are conducted by Stefano d’Andrea, graphic arts expert and FIRST Implementation Specialist, Level III (Certificate #ISC0183), certified by the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA), the world’s leading professional society dedicated to the advancement of the flexographic printing process.

Program of activities covers the following topics:

Basic Training (6 hours)
Ideal for a good introduction to the fundamentals of the flexographic process, touching the most relevant subjects from the printing group components to elements of prepress and system calibration.

Advanced Training (18 hours)
Dedicated to the advanced users who need to dig into more technical information with detailed description of every component in the printing group and their variables. Our interaction with color reproduction, from perception, through measurement and management in prepress. And finally a complete step-by-step description of the system calibration with optimization, fingerprint and characterization.

Complete Training (24 hours)
The complete package, includes all subjects of the Advanced course plus a deeper comparison between different printing technologies and evolution of the flexographic process. A full training about the platemaking process and its calibration is also included.

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Detailed Program of Courses

Legend to symbols
= full subject covered during session
= subject covered in essential concepts

Components of the flexographic printing group      
Flexography among packaging printing systems Base Advanced Complete
Packaging among printed products  
Printing systems and printing forms  
Inking restraints of different systems    
Ink transfer and graphic reproduction  
Press structure in different printing systems    
Substrates used in the various printing systems    
Packaging products reproducible in different printing system    
Inks characteristics    
Recognize the printing technology on printed products    
Comparison of printing systems  
Evolution of flexography Base Advanced Complete
The origins of the flexographic system    
Evolution of the inking system    
Flexographic presses structures    
The anilox roller Base Advanced Complete
Understanding cell count and volume
Evolution of anilox rolls  
Laser engraving on ceramic
Construction, characteristics and tolerances  
Comparison between different angles and engraving geometries
Engraving volumes and ideal ratios
Anilox-to-plate ratio
Main defects due to excess ink
How to measure anilox volume  
Cleaning systems and maintenance
Ink metering in flexography Base Advanced Complete
Ink metering systems
Characteristics of the doctor blade
Metering angle
Metering system components and characteristics  
Usage suggestions
Flexographic ink Base Advanced Complete
Types of ink
Comparison of solvent and water
Curable inks
Concentration and opacity
Pigments and Color Index  
Types of resins and characteristics  
Solvents and dilution  
The pH in water based inks  
Typical additives and their functions  
Viscosity and control  
Determine the volume of ink needed
Ink formulation
The flexographic printing form Base Advanced Complete
Main features
Thickness, relief and hardness
Creating a relief printing image
Flat top or round top
Measurement of printing elements on the plate
Cleaning and compatibility with solvents  
Plate mounting and adhesive tapes Base Advanced Complete
Plate mounting
Principle and structure of double-sided cushion tapes
How do you make impressions on press  
Thicknesses and tolerances  
Suggestions for the use of double-sided tapes  
Cylinders and sleeves for plate mounting Base Advanced Complete
From gears to gearless  
Where printing takes place
External diameter and plate compression
Substrates Base Advanced Complete
Classification of substrates and their use
Surface tension
Paper and Corrugated cardboard  
Web tension
Perception, reproduction, measurement and color management      
Principles of graphic reproduction Base Advanced Complete
From live image to printed reproduction
Halftone and resolution of the human eye
Resolution of devices in the production flow  
Types of screening AM and FM  
Color and perception Base Advanced Complete
Perception and characteristics of light  
Color modes, additive and subtractive synthesis  
The color of light  
Viewing and lighting conditions
Behaviors of the human eye  
Color measurement Base Advanced Complete
Describe color with mnodels (Lab, LCh)  
Understanding and measuring density
Area coverage and dot %
Settings of densitometer and spectrophotometer
The color difference (Delta E)
Color management Base Advanced Complete
Color management principles, gamut and profiles  
Color conversion  
Four-color separation and construction of the profiles  
Output intents, generic and specific conditions
Color is managed in the press room
The role of design Base Advanced Complete
Use of special colors
Guidelines for the reproduction of text and lines  
Guidelines for the traps  
Guidelines for linescreen settings  
Guidelines for bar codes  
The role of prepress Base Advanced Complete
Calibration and compensation curves
Prepare a job for flexo printing  
Color management methods (ISO 10128)  
Color conversion with Device Link profiles
The management of special and spot colors
Beyond the four-color process: 6, 7 colors, EGP  
Color traps  
Full plate layout and plate distortion
Contract color proof  
Plate making Base Advanced Complete
Plate making technologies    
Analog and digital systems    
The photopolyerization process    
Calibration of the platemaking process    
Oxygen and polymerization: effects on the plate    
Methods to obtain flat-top plates    
CtP calibration: bump curve    
Direct laser engraving systems    
Quality, reference standards and calibration of the printing system      
Perceived quality and measured calibration Base Advanced Complete
We have always done in this way  
Print linescreen and quality  
Contrast, dotgain and quality  
Print density and quality  
Fundamental concepts and approach to calibration
Description of the calibration phases
ISO standards and reference specifications Base Advanced Complete
ISO 12647-6 – flexographic printing  
ISO 20654 – SCTV  
ISO 15339 – printing with different technologies, CRPC  
ISO 10128 – color adjustment methods  
Optimization Base Advanced Complete
Purpose and variables to be optimized
Uniformity and ink laydown  
Tonal curves and compensation  
Conventional, hybrid screens and minimum dot management  
Optimize the roller inventory with the band anilox roller
Fingerprint and process control Base Advanced Complete
Purpose and variables to be checked
Graphic elements to be used in the test  
The screen angles  
The calibration with gray balance  
Statistical approach and control charts
Characterization and improvement Base Advanced Complete
Purpose and variables to be verified
Considerations on the characterization process  
From characterization data to profiles, to control data
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