English (German introduction below the English version)
Over the Skype – Premiere in German with DFTA and Andreas Weber, INKISH D-A-CH As guests today, at our premiere for ‘Over The Skype’ conversations in German, we would like to extend a very warm welcome to Ms Nicola Kopp-Rostek and Prof. Dr Greet Martin Dreher. Nicola Kopp-Rostek is managing director of the DFTA Flexographic Printing Association e.V. Prof. Dr Martin Dreher is a professor for packaging printing at the renowned Stuttgart Media University (HDM). Both are also managing directors of the association’s DFTA technology centre. Despite the Corona crisis, the interlocutors were relaxed, level-headed and open to conversation. Topics were a .: What is special about the flexographic printing industry? What does the association do? What is the mood like among the members? What are the prospects? The abbreviation DFTA stands for German-speaking Flexographic Technology Association. The association has existed for 40 years.
The statutes provide information on the tasks.
Here is an extract of the purpose and tasks of the DFTA:
– The DFTA is the professional association of companies, institutions, associations and people who deal with flexographic printing.
– The DFTA promotes technical and scientific progress in the areas of packaging printing with a focus on flexo printing.
– The tasks of the DFTA are in particular of a technical, business and organizational nature as well as training and further education, public relations and marketing for flexographic printing.
– The DFTA supports the work of the DFTA Technology Center.
Note: As with all our “Over the Skype” interviews, the picture/sound quality is based on the available bandwidth and the respective webcams as well as the possibility of literally leading the conversations LIVE. Despite everything, it works amazingly well, and with Over the Skype we have brought together more than 50 special personalities so far and give insights into the industry as it currently is. Have fun!
— GERMAN Introduction —
Over the Skype — Premiere in deutscher Sprache mit dem DFTA und Andreas Weber, INKISH D-A-CH
Zu Gast heute, bei unserer Premiere für Over The Skype-Gespräche in deutscher Sprache, dürfen wir sehr herzlich Frau Nicola Kopp-Rostek sowie Herrn Prof. Dr. Martin Dreher begrüßen.
Nicola Kopp-Rostek ist Geschäftsführerin des DFTA Flexodruck-Fachverband e.V. Prof. Dr. Martin Dreher ist Professor für Verpackungsdruck an der renommierten Stuttgarter Hochschule der Medien, kurz HDM.
Beide sind zudem Geschäftsführer des zum Verband gehörenden DFTA Technologiezentrums.
Trotz Corona-Krise waren die Gesprächspartner entspannt, besonnen und gesprächsoffen. Themen waren u. a.: Was macht die Flexodruck-Branche aus? Was leistet der Verband? Wie ist die Stimmung bei den Mitgliedern? Welche Perspektiven bestehen?
Das Kürzel DFTA steht übrigens für Deutschsprachige Flexographic Technology Association. Den Verband gibt es seit 40 Jahren. Zu den Aufgaben geben die Statuten Auskunft.
Hier heisst es auszugsweise zum Zweck und zu den Aufgaben der DFTA:
– Die DFTA ist der fachliche Zusammenschluss von Firmen, Institutionen, Verbänden und Personen, die sich mit dem Flexodruck befassen.
– Die DFTA fördert den technischen und wissenschaftlichen Fortschritt in den Bereichen des Verpackungsdruck mit Schwerpunkt Flexodruck.
– Die Aufgaben der DFTA sind insbesondere technischer, betriebswirtschaftlicher und organisatorischer Art sowie Aus- und Weiterbildung, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und Marketing für den Flexodruck.
– Die DFTA fördert die Arbeit des DFTA Technologiezentrums.
Wie bei allen unseren “Over the Skype”-Interviews richtet sich die Bild-/Ton-Qualität nach verfügbarer Bandbreite und den jeweiligen Web-Cams aus sowie der Möglichkeit, die Konversationen buchstäblich LIVE zu führen. Es funktioniert trotz allem erstaunlich gut und mit Over the Skype bringen wir bis dato mehr als 50 besondere Persönlichkeiten zusammen und geben Einblicke in die Branche, wie sie derzeit ist.
Hello – my name is Andreas Weber
and based in Frankfurt,
I manage the business of INKISH for the DACH region.
We at INKISH are committed to the unlimited success of print in the
And today is a premiere, and I have two guests, great people.
Who have also committed themselves to print in some form or another.
And this is the first Skype call in German language.
So a real German premiere.
And I would like to welcome Mrs Nicola Kopp-Rostek and Professor Dr.
So let us begin, and I will pass on to you, Mrs Kopp,
so that you can briefly tell us
who you are, what drives you
and maybe how you got up this morning, whatever comes to your mind.
Yes – Thank you very much, Mr Weber!
First of all for the friendly invitation,
it is a great honor and pleasure for us
to be part of this conversation today.
I got out of bed very well.
I also slept very well.
Yes, after a short breakfast
I went to the home office,
where I have been for six weeks now.
It’s been a while now, but as you can see here,
at least technically I’m well equipped
and therefore I’m looking forward to our conversation.
I think maybe at the very beginning I should briefly explain the DFTA.
What the four letters actually stand for.
D stands for German speaking.
Then I will continue with FTA.
FTA stands for Flexographic Technology Association.
We stand for an association with a 40-year tradition
and represent around 300 members from the printing,
prepress and supplier sectors.
Accordingly, we offer very classical association work.
We have an excellent network which we serve,
offer knowledge transfer, advice and support for our members.
And our Technology Centre is certainly considered
a unique selling point of the association,
which we’ll be hearing a lot more about as we speak.
This is very good.
And you, Dr. Dreher:
Did you get a good start to the day?
Yes, it went very well.
I also started by doing home office.
But now I am here at the Hochschule der Medien.
Hello from Stuttgart to everyone.
Right now we are at the Hochschule der Medien.
And there I am responsible for the teaching of
packaging printing in the packaging technology course.
And that is of course exciting on its own.
But I also work part-time
for the DFTA and manage the technology center.
And DFTA and Flexo is what connects Ms Kopp-Rostek and me.
And that’ s probably the characteristic,
which brought you to us.
Printing has been a part of this forever.
A whole eternity since my professional training
as an offset printer at the end of the 80s
and then studying printing technology here.
At that time it was still called Fachhochschule für Druck.
Now it’s the Hochschule der Medien.
And meanwhile I have specialized in
flexographic printing on the one hand, of course,
but on the other hand I’m much more deeply involved
in the areas of packaging printing.
This means that you then look a little
beyond the end of your nose at this point.
And I can imagine
that can’t hurt with both of the tasks you perform.
And that would also be the tenor for me today,
that we look beyond things.
Of course, if I may return to Mrs. Kopp-Rostek.
Obviously, there are certain things that upset you.
You yourself had to cancel or postpone your big event.
Does that affect you badly?
Are there any alternatives?
Yes – so indeed.
That really hit us right in the heart at the DFTA.
I can definitely say that.
Because ProFlex, as you said, is our highlight,
our main event, which we hold once a year.
And this year we even had the special feature
that we had planned a special edition of ProFlex,
which was planned with the sister, with the sister association, with
in Constance for the entire DACH region
Germany, Switzerland, Austria.
And then we were forced
to actually cancel the event two weeks prior to the event.
And yes, we were also forced,
because we had planned many board meetings around ProFlex and
correspondingly also internal meetings,
to reposition ourselves at short notice
or adapt to the situation.
And we also held our general meeting online,
which is the most important thing for an association.
This may sound simple at first,
but since a general meeting also has to take into account
a number of formalities,
it wasn’t really that simple.
And as I said, we had scheduled it.
It was then a certain challenge,
which we mastered however at short notice
and by the feedbacks of the members
was taken up then actually very positively.
How do you have to imagine that?
How do you do this as a video conference?
And how do you get a legally binding vote?
Yeah, right. That’s a good subject you bring up.
As I said, the legal obligations and all the rules t
hat have to be observed were not so simple.
We used a tool.
It was the go-to webinar
and we did some preliminary work internally
so that we could ensure all this.
We worked with hand sign functions
so that every member has the opportunity to speak.
Which, as I said, is simply very important for a general meeting,
because it is the member who sets the framework
for how we position and orientate ourselves in the future.
But we have mastered this.
That couldn’t have been an easy thing to do.
And now, perhaps we can have another look at universities.
Professor Dr. Dreher,
you probably have a lot of free time
because all courses are cancelled
and you can take care of the association intensively.
How does that affect you at the university right now?
Yes, it’s a little different.
First of all, all the lectures had to be virtualized,
which of course hadn’t happened before.
I’m way ahead of my colleagues,
because I had already written all the lectures
in prose text to the greatest extent possible.
Nevertheless, the whole thing can then be brought onto the electronic
A major part of the five weeks was taken up with audio, video and
because I had some delays between
the planned start of the semester and the one that has now taken
There was no boredom at all
and therefore I would tone down the statement a little bit.
There was not much free time and not much more extra time for the
But I still found the time to actually do something on the side,
and so we have now started to publish such explanatory videos,
where I explain things from my practice, from past professional
What is currently of interest.
15 minutes ago I finished the last piece of this kind,
it is now on my computer and is waiting to be distributed.
And because you asked earlier or this morning:
White Paper Packaging Printing
That was my start of the day today.
Of course, packaging printing means
that all processes have to be appreciated
and accordingly the white paper has become something completely
You may see here – over 70 pages.
This has already become a book.
This has kept me busy in stages over the last 3 weeks.
Now I have finished a draft and of course the association has to vote
Then there are also a number of videos on this topic,
which are easy to handle as well.
I will split it up and launch it on the market. It’s better than a big
This brings us to a topic, which of course also interests us at
not only in these times,
but generally the topic of knowledge transfer
and of course the topic of knowledge exchange.
And I can imagine that in the work of the association, Mrs. Kopp-
this is probably a fundamental point.
How do you keep contact with your members at the moment?
Do they get in touch?
Do you have to check on them?
How do you offer assistance?
Yes. I had very briefly mentioned before
how we had carried out the general meeting – online.
In the meantime, I must say that we have a good routine
with this online tool.
We do regular online meetings.
For example, we have already held a board meeting online.
We are currently planning to hold a working group for digital
packaging printing online.
I also know that the Sleeve working group is planning to agree on this
Let me say that both internal and external communication
works really well.
What was perhaps unthinkable two months ago
has now at least become routine for us
and we are really well positioned in this respect.
In addition to these online tools, we also offer what Martin Dreher
has just told us
about this new brand.
I can also say that I have really already implemented it as a brand.
This DFTA explains evenly also that, which we make available online to
as contentwise advanced training offer,
which serves straight the knowledge transfer.
And as I said, in this respect we have actually repositioned ourselves
quite quickly and at short notice.
And the members themselves have insight into this?
Can they understand it well?
Or is there a certain disparity that some don’t quite trust
or even like these media productions?
At least the feedback we get, these are members who use it.
They reflect a very positive image, I must say.
I get feedback from the office,
but of course also from Martin Dreher,
And so far I have the feeling that
the members are rather grateful that it continues,
that we offer something.
In this respect I must say that I actually get a positive image
Mr. Dreher, you said that you are already experienced in university
so to speak, you had to create a digital tutorial out of the ground.
Do you have any tips for us?
What does it depend on?
Because everything I know from my studies
good rhetoric is noticeable in the fact that many factors play a role
that I can’t convey via a display medium.
even what I have invented there will probably not be able to replace
One would have to ask the students then,
whether these two weeks in this kind of lecture can substitute for the
Yes, I also have the ambition
to make learning as sustainable as possible,
so that people not only get through the exam with me,
but also know everything about it afterwards.
And for this purpose I try to use different channels.
If I give them a script, and it’s printed then
it’s for reading.
It feeds into the visual channel.
But we all know, I think, how much of something stays stuck
that you only read once.
There are statistics about that, too.
But in my case, the audio channel is also added.
And then there’s the script to watch,
the script to listen to,
it’s just dubbed,
and then additional videos,
partly in the way I’m doing them now as explanatory videos,
but also separate ones.
A lot on YouTube too.
There are a lot of explanations that you can easily refer to via
and so you have a good media mix.
And so far I’m getting very positive feedback.
You will know in a few weeks
when the exams are written how it really has worked.
Which is still written in the stars.
Because we don’t even know if we can make the exams in public
or if we have to do them virtually online.
It is very, very difficult – yes.
So it’s an exciting challenge.
But this is like Christmas.
Everyone’s always excited in advance.
And then one day it’s 12-24. 5:00 PM,
and everything just runs like clockwork.
I know you have special activities
that confront you with special challenges.
You also have a technology centres
and an academy
and an important service offering for members to carry out print
How do you deal with that at the moment?
Yes, the Technology Centre, where Martin Dreher is currently based,
is indeed such a place that we normally offer the scientifically
accompanied print tests
with the presence of our members.
And there is of course one main or essential point
the Technology Center.
And we have thought about it in the meantime:
How can we deal with the fact
that this face-to-face event and this face-to-face print tests
cannot take place for the time being?
We then said that we would try to change it,
and that we would do print tests without the physical presence.
We communicated this to the members
and received positive feedback
that it was actually accepted.
In detail, the procedure
will certainly be carried out by Martin Dreher, the person who can
describe it in detail.
But as I said, we have changed the offer at short notice,
and thank God it is, I must say, well accepted.
That’s a good point, Mr. Dreher.
Perhaps you can give us some insight there,
because it is relatively exciting.
And at association level,
I’ve never actually seen such an approach before.
That could be my fault.
But it could also be because you offer a specialty.
I can imagine that this is probably very important
for the daily business of your members in the companies.
That what is done is very important and
can be validated, can also be scientifically validated.
Yes, I think so.
Even if only part of our membership.
Possibly even in general.
What’s the deal with these tests?
Flexo isn’t fully developed yet,
and far from it.
There is still a lot to investigate,
and most of it can only be seen when it has reached the printing
And that’s when people come to us in Stuttgart
to do things like that under controlled conditions.
This means that the flexo press can be handled centrally here as well.
And take their time to try out what they have come up with,
be it new printing inks,
new raster rollers,
new printing plates or something else.
And then we examine it for them.
And that can go on until we do the evaluation.
Such a benchmark test against the reference candidate
compare it with the new one
and then do an extensive investigation on it and reports and so on.
And how do we do that?
If we don’t let people in here right now.
We have very specific plans.
That means we agree with the client on what should be done,
what should be varied.
What patterns are to be drawn then.
And sometimes there are of course milestones in between,
where the customer has to say:
“This way and from here on we have to turn left.
If it behaves this way and to the right, if it behaves differently.
We solve this by video conferencing live with the customer and then he
looks at it.
Then we have digital microscopes
that can be used to show even micro images live.
Then you can make informed decisions on
how to proceed with the whole experiment.
That sounds very, very exciting.
Are these mainly tests to improve one’s own skills, so to speak,
or do I know this from packaging printing itself,
where new products are very often designed together with the brand
owners, with the customers of the printing companies,
and you have to check everything carefully because the idea is to
build a new production line.
Is that similar in flexographic printing?
That’s a little bit of both, tends to be the latter.
But we do not make any concrete qualifications of new packaging
So if printing company X has now developed a new folding-bottom bag
with customer Y
with a new type of printing or sealing mechanism or something like
Then we tend not to try it out.
They have to do it all themselves,
because then they have to produce it.
With us it’s rather one level lower.
That means that when a new series of printing inks
is to be qualified,
basically for the market, then people come to us here.
Or when a new mounting tape has to be tried out.
Whether it will work long enough that none of the printers using
it will have to fear any negative consequences.
And hopefully even advantages.
Then we will test it here.
So it is more generic than specifically designed for projects.
Very good, and now we have built a very good bridge,
because at the end of the day, it’s all about: How is business going
And what is the situation in the industry?
If I remember correctly, you identified three keywords on the website:
innovative, high-performance, versatile.
Can these core characteristics be represented by your members at the
Is business going well?
Is business going moderately?
Or are there big fluctuations?
Maybe you can give us some insight?
Yes, I’d love to.
I can speak for the packaging industry and especially for the food
That’ s what is being played back to me,
so that the productions are actually running according to plan
and that is also spoken of a quite good order book at the moment.
As an example, I can also mention a member
who is even producing in Italy
and Italy is really very, very badly affected by the crisis,
but thanks to the fact that they were considered to be relevant to the
they can actually continue to produce one hundred percent
and there has been no shutdown.
In the same way I can report
for the corrugated board sector there,
especially again for the food and beverages sector.
That the order books there are also quite well filled.
Sure, I think if you look at the printing industry as a whole,
you have to add water to the wine.
And I believe that there really is a lot of sales loss there
and that there are also orders, yes, cancellations.
And I think I can speak for the entire industry,
or for the printing industry as a whole,
that the extent of the decline is certainly not foreseeable at all.
I think it would be dubious to make a statement for the future now.
As I said, I can simply speak for this sector,
which, thank God, still has a very good order situation at the moment.
We were also able to capture the echo.
Last week we had an interview with Hamilton Costa from Sao Paolo.
He confirmed this and just said that as far as
flexible packaging is concerned,
the order situation has almost got better rather than worse.
Is Doctor Dreher from the scientific side of the business
also keeping himself busy to know what is happening in the market?
Are you observing this?
Yes, of course it is an important part of what we do.
This is what we always use to identify
what we need to include in our investigations next.
A good example was now a good year ago.
Then, quite suddenly, the story occurred that Netto
demanded from all the producers that this digital watermark
be put into the packaging.
And then we went from zero to a hundred within a few weeks.
So smart that we were able to give seminars.
And that only works if you hear about it on the market.
But clearly, you get requests and then you react to them.
And perhaps I should ask Mrs Kopp-Rostek again:
you said that even in Italy a member can produce,
identified as systemically relevant from the authorities.
But are there any bottlenecks?
Because the printing company alone does not have all the materials
Of course there are also very strong bottlenecks,
especially due to a high demand for disinfectants
there is a massive shortage of solvents, especially of ethanol.
And it is still the case that it is an extremely tense, uncertain
and there is no promise for the next or beyond two to four weeks.
It is an uncertain situation,
and at the moment we do not yet know what will happen next.
Some of the quantities are being rationed.
In addition, prices in this area have risen massively.
And this is an area that requires urgent action,
and another area is, for example,
the fact that some goods are not picked ua
and therefore the rooms are full, so to speak.
In other words, nothing is picked up, only partially.
Then I am asked for deferments
and I also know that payment morale has deteriorated in some cases.
The production has been running, so to speak.
Everything on time, and then there are logistical problems.
And you name it.
Yeah, right. Definitely.
Restrictions on speed,
delivery quantities and so on and so forth.
Really – what challenges there are right now.
I can just see Doctor Dreher nodding his approval.
Do you also have experience in this field or insight into specific
Yes, for example: the circle is now somewhat closed with these
We are currently being approached by foil printers,
who are now expected to pay a multiple of the price of ethanol
compared to before.
Now it would be quite exciting to print on the foils with water
Up to now it has not been a very widespread practice
and only a few people use water-based inks for printing on foils.
Most of the time this is only solvent ink.
But of course these are exactly the ones who are affected by this
shortage of ethanol.
And yes, then why not try now
to print successfully on the foil with water-based inks?
In principle, water-based inks have been available for years,
but you always have to qualify them for yourself as a printing company
so that they produce the same results as solvent inks.
Typically, it is only when you start printing new jobs
that you see where the graphics have to be reworked
and you can adjust to the water-based ink accordingly.
And probably such applications where there is no possibility of direct
because it is something, something new.
Another point that comes to mind.
Let me again pass this on to Mrs Kopp-Rostek:
When businesses are at work, especially in Italy, it goes without
saying that they must also work on their own hygiene regulations and
Is that also part of the discussions with members that you have?
Yes, I also know that the companies have actually changed at short
For example, that they switched to a 24-hour, 7-day mode,
that shifts were also reorganized in production or even in
I also know that safety distances
and supply ranges have been built up
and to make yourself independent as far as possible.
As I said, capacities were expanded and further built up where
It is also very interesting to hear about a company that is also
involved in textile printing.
They have changed at short notice and
now produce protective masks.
This is something you can see that the industry reacts flexibly
and meets the challenges and makes very dynamic adjustments.
I find that very exciting.
You hear it more and more in other industries as well.
In other words, it seems to be using a completely new form of
Dr. Dreher, how does this affect you now?
Both at the university and for the association?
To be honest, I haven’t really gotten into textile printing yet,
because I couldn’t contribute something
to decorate the protective masks or something.
I think it will be a fashion item, if it is not already.
But I don’t think our facility here is really equipped for that.
But to build a bridge between the mass production,
which our members will do, and the preview production, we usually call
Yes, that becomes our theme.
It has become a bit of our theme,
namely to create a preview print on various materials,
which then anticipates as accurately as possible the final graphics,
which will then be mass-produced.
So to speak, the theme determines it.
That sounds good and exciting.
I’m just checking my watch.
We’ve already spent 30 minutes together casually,
and I thought it was super exciting.
I hope you feel the same way.
Maybe we’re just getting into a short closing argument here.
We can continue the conversation at any time.
Whenever something exciting happens in your company, we will gladly
pick it up again ad hoc.
We have now made the experience
that we get along quite well together.
We’ll see what our viewers say later.
Maybe Ms. Kopp-Rostek I will ask you the following question:
What is the current situation, what is the perspective?
What are you currently working on to be able to cover the next weeks
Perspectively – of course we, like many others,
are waiting to see what happens next, when there will be some
We are naturally concerned with the question:
Can we actually hold our highlight event, the ProFlex in autumn,
for example, which is what is currently planned?
In other words, when will there be some more relaxation in the event
The same applies to the question of when face-to-face events and
in the Technology Centre can take place again in the Flexo Academy.
We are at least preparing ourselves for the possibility of making
face-to-face events possible
at short notice with smaller groups and somewhat different spatial
In other words: we are preparing for day X.
When it’s time to go again…
Then we can start, and we prepare ourselves accordingly.
And I just hope.
And that’s why I’m finishing with my sentence.
IYou had a T-shirt with the hashtag “Confidence.”
I dressed in green today,
the symbol of hope and confidence
so that we can really get going again quickly and also start with
An association lives through emotions,
through network, through actual personal meetings.
And in this respect I also hope Mr Weber that we will then get to know
each other personally.
And finally: I naturally hope that the industry will make it through
this crisis well.
We all hope so.
And now I’m showing my shirt again with the hashtag “Confidence.”
Of course the color green is also a very important one.
Doctor Dreher, you’re in charge.
There was the topic: ” Face to face ” events at the Technology Center.
Special hygiene and protective measures must be taken there.
I’m sure you already have. If the people there are working,
it’s already taken care of.
Is it very complicated now?
If you can then slowly open the gates again, or how do you generally
deal with it?
In fact – we have of course already made arrangements for our
but also what is then done in alternation home office,
so that one can not necessarily meet at all here.
The university is also relatively deserted.
There is, I think, very, very limited risk of encounter there at all.
There will be a decision to be made this afternoon, it’s on my agenda.
Will our next course actually take place in the last week of May?
This is a big course.
People come to us three times a week:
flexographic printing technologist with certificate at the end.
And we can’t put it off forever.
Maybe we can actually start at the end of May,
of course with a division of the team into two parts,
so that only a few people are in the seminar room at the same time
and the others are in the printing room at the same time.
And if, as Mrs. Kopp-Rostek has just said, this day X will be a while
Then we will also, we are already in the process of
building up further online formats.
For example, right now I’m working on a symposium.
This is one of our formats in the association,
where you normally meet in a group of maybe 30 to 50 people
and then you can have open technical discussions.
What do we do now? Well, there are some interesting subjects
I’d much more prefer we could do this face-to-face.
But if that’s not possible? We are almost ready for that – yes.
Well, thank you both very much.
And I’m quite sure that we have had a good start, a good German
premiere with a topic that is becoming more and more exciting for me.
Normally you have flexo printing in the back of your mind,
but you don’t really get it into your head because you addressed
certain market areas.
Above all, I think that many people, especially in the field of food
will no longer come from our industry, but beyond it,
to have good access to the topics we have discussed here.
Many thanks also for the insight into the hardships, but also for the
resourcefulness in the work of the association in making a virtue out
And may I end by making a kindly threat.
I’m afraid we are talking with one another again.
Thank you very much.
Stay healthy and have a good time.
Hashtag “Confidence” and the INKISH team would like to thank you
very, very much.
Thank you very much.
It was fun.