The Sonoco Institute

The Sonoco Institute was created to exploit the synergies that exist between the graphic communications and packaging science departments. It is the only university program in the country with this one-of-a-kind multidisciplinary approach to packaging as a core competency.

2012 FTA Phoenix Challenge Competition

The FTA's Phoenix Challenge is an annual collegiate competition that occurs during the Spring FTA Forum. Each participating school is given the same real world printing challenge which is used for the base of the competition. The students are responsible for researching everything from marketing analysis to printing and finishing technicalities.

This years challenge was to create products that would be found in a convenient store located on a college campus. The teams could submit up to 4 products, which had to be printed with the flexographic printing process. To make the competition more challenging, the assignment was given limitations. Each product could only use 4 printing stations, but these could not consist of process colors. 

In order to have ample time for research and testing, Clemson quickly chose their 4 products: gum package, soda shrink sleeve, chip bag, and resealable candy bag. The market research was completed using online surveys. The next step was to gather materials such as substrates and inks. Onsite visits to both Sun Chemical and Environmental Inks was necessary in order to formulate ink sets for each of their substrates. They had to characterise the press, which aided in the development of the artwork for their final products. After using process controls to insure consistency while printing their 4 products on seperate substrates, the team achieved color matching under a 3 delta-E across all products. 

The group used the following donated products, equipment, and software at the Sonoco Institute: OMET Varyflex 530, DuPont Fast, Esko CDI, Esko Kongsberg, Esko Automation Engine, Lohmann Tapes, Camis Plate-mounter, X-rite Spectro-densitometers, and Epson WT7900.

Clemson's Phoenix Challenge group is made up of Graphic Communication students as well as an advisor. This years team consisted of Matthew Furr, Joel Engelberth, Megan Bolick, Drew McWhorter, Katelyn Wrobel, and Dr. Nona Woolbright. The team sends a special thank you to the following companies that took time to help them in this years challenge: Sun Chemical, Plastic Packaging, Environmental Inks, Exxon Mobil Films, Actega Coatings, Esko, and The Sonoco Institute.

Click HERE to watch the video which follows the team through the entire process.