Hammer Hot Seat: An Interview with Flexo Operations Manager, Kellye Rizzo
We sat down with Kellye Rizzo, Hammer's Flexo Operations Manager, for an interesting conversation about her career at Hammer and the evolution and future of flexo printing.
Q: Kellye, you've held a few positions at Hammer. Tell us about your career progression.
A: I've been with Hammer for 15 years. When I started at Hammer Packaging, I worked in customer service. I enjoyed working directly with our customers, but after 5 years I was ready to spread my wings & offer the company more of myself. I moved into a supporting role within our flexo department & a year later promoted to Flexo Operations Manager.
Q: How have you seen flexographic printing technology evolve / improve since you’ve been in this department?
A. Flexo printing, back in the day, was referred to as “down and dirty printing”. The impression system on a flexo press is like reproducing images with a rubber stamp, so we were often working through challenges of ghosting and exacting registration. However, flexographic technology has come leaps and bounds over the years. Today, we're utilizing an HD plate system and state-of-the-art Mark Andy flexo press technology to create crisp edges on text & soft vignettes, to mention a few of the improvements.
Q. What do you think is the most interesting component of the flexo printing process?
A. Seeing all the pieces come together throughout the printing process into a complex finished piece.
Q. Why should a customer choose Hammer Packaging’s flexo printing capabilities? What makes us leaders in flexo packaging?
A. Hammer Packaging offers support to our customer from start to finish. Our people and their passion set us apart, not to mention our state-of-the-art technology. Since 2015, our flexo division has added 5 new P7 Mark Andy presses along with 4 new Rotoflex Slitters, to be sure we keep up with customer’s expectations, innovation ideas and most importantly, quality.
Q. Pulling out your crystal ball, what do you think the future looks like for flexo printing in the industry? What part(s) of the process do you see continuing to evolve?
A. I see all aspects evolving from the ink to the material, equipment and printing plates. We continue to develop more efficient run and color strategies using the unique capabilities of these powerful presses. We are always exploring the next developments in flexo plate and equipment technology. If you stand still in this market there is only one way to go, and that's backwards.
Q. What does the future look like for Hammer Packaging in the flexo printing?
A. With our philosophy of "Lead. Don't follow.", flexographic printing at Hammer Packaging will continue to grow. One thing this company is not afraid to do is invest back into the company to stay ahead of trends and our customer needs. Looking forward, I foresee the Flexographic division adding wider press equipment, continuing to improve plate technology, and adding capabilities through unique press configurations.
Q. Lastly, what is something you love about your position/department? What gets you up and out the door every day?
A. I have always had a passion for printing and design. Seeing technology evolve and being able to see a finished product on store shelves will always feel rewarding. I absolutely enjoy working with my team - the knowledge everyone has to offer as well as the willingness to meet our customer needs day in and day out is top notch.