Clemson, S.C. — All Printing Resources (APR) has become the fifth industry sponsor to support STRIPE, a novel virtual online educational tool for the package printing industry developed by the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson University. APR’s commitment as a Leading Sponsor of the platform will impact the development and dissemination of this tool to graphic communications educators across the nation. Other STRIPE sponsors include Poteet Printing Systems, Harper Corporation, Anderson & Vreeland and the Flexographic Technical Association

A snapshot of STRIPE Online

A primary view of STRIPE Online showcases the current press setup for flexographic training.

“APR is very proud to be a sponsor of the Sonoco Institute’s STRIPE virtual online press,” said President and CEO of APR, David Neimen. “We have had a long history of supporting educational technologies and innovations in the flexo industry. STRIPE brings new capabilities in flexo printing simulation that will prove to further address both existing and new challenges for workforce training in our market.”

Catherine Haynes, director of digital solutions and training at APR, noted that “The STRIPE virtual press will be an amazing resource for our industry. I can envision a variety of ways to use this tool to enhance training for students, new employees, and veteran operators. A non-intrusive method to help individuals put theory into practice and build problem-solving skills. We are very excited to be working with Clemson University’s Sonoco Institute.”

STRIPE was initially developed as a virtual reality tool for print training and recruitment in 2018. Shortly thereafter, Sonoco Institute staff began showcasing it live at trade shows across the country to gauge interest. It quickly gained momentum and in 2019, FTA became the inaugural sponsor of STRIPE VR. 

“As the inaugural sponsor of STRIPE, the FTA is extremely pleased with the progress the STRIPE team has made in such a short time,” commented Joe Tuccitto, director of education at FTA. “We believe this training initiative will impact the future of flexographic training for both industry and education.”

A snapshot of changes being made to the final print run in STRIPE.

STRIPE users can operate the virtual press and see changes to the final print job in real time.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit early in 2020, the Sonoco Institute quickly pivoted STRIPE VR to become accessible online through a web browser. Co-branded STRIPE Online, development of the browser-based tool has progressed tremendously with the help of critical feedback from sponsors and educators in the field. 

“Feedback from students is wonderful and positive,” commented Clemson University Graphic Communications Lecturer, Michelle Fox, in a Q&A with the Sonoco Institute. Fox was given access to STRIPE Online before the University transitioned online in Spring 2020 due to COVID-19.

“Given that we were all pulled away from in-person labs in the spring, it has been great to have an online experience available to those that choose to take the course as online only,” continued Fox. “It is also a tool for in-person students to further their understanding and gain more hands-on experience.”

Student interaction with the beta version of STRIPE Online will continue on, as it is planned to be utilized as the main platform during the annual Phoenix Challenge flexographic press competition taking place virtually Spring 2021. To-date, the platform has been shared with around 34 educators who have helped make recommendations on its development for use in the classroom. 

“Our hope is to be able to share this tool with universities, technical colleges and even career centers at high schools so that more students will be able to get acquainted with flexographic  printing,” said Bobby Congdon, assistant director of the Sonoco Institute. “We rely on the support of our sponsors to fund the development of STRIPE which becomes more detailed and user-friendly every day.” 

A snapshot of the STRIPE central impression setup

A preview of the STRIPE central impression, flexographic press slated to launch in 2021.

Slated to launch early in 2021, the STRIPE development team is also working to implement a wide-web, central impression press alongside the current inline, narrow-web press for expanded flexographic training. Companies and educators can visit vr.sonocoinstitute.com to learn more and contact Congdon at rcongdo@clemson.edu or 864-650-2762 to inquire about joining forces on the development of STRIPE. 

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About the Sonoco Institute

The Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics uniquely combines the synergies that exist between the Graphic Communications and Packaging Science departments at Clemson University. Founded in 2009, it is the only university program in the country with this one-of-a-kind, multidisciplinary approach to packaging.

About All Printing Resources, Inc. (APR)

All Printing Resources, Inc. (APR) is a proven resource for solutions, trusted service, and support to the flexographic printing industry. APR delivers measurable performance enhancements and total cost reductions, including the after sale attention needed to see optimal results. APR represents some of the most innovative product lines worldwide and takes a “team” approach to deliver process improvement and innovative solutions.