Asahi Kasei appoints Gene Martin as agent representing its products in US

Gene has an experience of 40 years in prepress and flexographic industry

Asahi Kasei has appointed senior industry expert Gene Martin as an agent representing its products in the US
Asahi Kasei has appointed senior industry expert Gene Martin as an agent representing its products in the US

Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, yesterday announced that long-time Asahi customer and senior industry expert Gene Martin has been appointed to represent the company and its products in the United States. Gene has been in the flexographic industry for 40 years, the last 30 of which were with a major provider of flexographic services, where he rose from graphics division manager to plant manager. 

As plant manager, a role in which he served for nine years, Gene and his team completely reinvented prepress at the company, moving from solvent-based flexographic plate making to Asahi AWP CleanPrint plates that use a water washout process and deliver cleaner plates that require fewer press stops for plate cleaning, resulting in a solvent-free platemaking department. In addition to being more sustainable, their faster processing time increased platemaking capacity by 33% and improved overall quality. Gene has also served on the FTA board for six years and served on the FTA Scholarship Committee from 2006 to 2019. In those volunteer roles and others, he earned market credibility and built a good network of US flexo operations.

“Ten years of successful printing with Asahi AWP CleanPrint water-wash plates has led me to this new role,” Martin said. “Based on that experience, these are products I truly believe in. I am proud to be a part of the team and looking forward to working with them and sharing my experience with the US market about the value of these plates, in terms of productivity, profitability, time to market, and importantly, sustainability.”

As Asahi’s agent for the US market, Martin will be working directly with its customers in partnership with distributors in the United States to provide value-added services to both Asahi’s distributors and their customers. This includes providing color management best practices and procedures for all US customers, working with potential customers to understand their current printing process, offering plate specifications to its distributors for print trials, addressing all customer complaints and resolving any plate-related issues. He will also act as an advocate for Asahi AWP plates, promoting their platemaking and printing attributes, with an overall goal of increasing Asahi’s US market share.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Gene to our team,” said Yuji Suzuki, development and technical advisor for the US. “It was a pleasure working with him during his previous company. We appreciate the thorough due diligence he did while revamping the company’s platemaking department. That knowledge, and the experience he had since implementing AWP water-washable plates, gives him great credibility as he is out in the marketplace meeting with customers. We are delighted that he is working with Asahi in this role!”

No solvents required for Asahi AWP CleanPrint flexographic plates

Asahi AWP CleanPrint water-washable flexographic plates are processed without VOC-based washout solvents, use less energy in the production process and deliver a faster time to press than VOC solvent-based plates. Asahi’s CleanPrint water-washable flexographic photopolymer plate technology’s ability to provide high-quality print performance results from its engineered photopolymer chemistry design. The water-wash technology also features a low surface energy plate resulting in fewer press stops for plate cleaning for significantly improved OEE in the pressroom and reducing press waste. These elements make them the most sustainable flexographic plates in the industry. In addition, AWP-DEW CleanPrint plates deliver extremely high-quality print due to their precise registration and ability to provide a perfect printing balance between highlights and solids.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

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