Graduate School; Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Cat Bromels keeps Clemson streak intact for flexographic scholarship


For the seventh consecutive year, a Clemson University student has received the coveted Rossini Scholarship, which grants funds to a student and their school for winning a flexographic printing research proposal.

Cat Bromels, graphic communications
Cat Bromels

Cat Bromels of Chicago is the 2020 recipient of the FFTA Rossini North America Flexographic Research Scholarship. The $13,000 scholarship provides $10,000 to Cat, a master’s degree student in the Department of Graphic Communications, and $3,000 to that College of Business program.

Cat began her career in printing in 2005 as an intern at Durst USA, Rochester N.Y. Since then, she worked as a press operator and color management specialist in Chicago, served as the print services manager at Columbia College Chicago, and has twice been a visiting researcher focusing on printing capacitors at the Laboratory of Future Electronics at Tampere University in Finland.

Currently, Cat is a graduate assistant in the Department of Graphic Communications and in the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics’ printing laboratories, both at Clemson.

To qualify for the scholarship, applicants submit research proposals to address a problem in the flexographic printing industry. Cat’s successful proposal, which she will research over the next year, is titled “Can the Differential Distortion of Postprint Corrugated Be Calculated?” The research addresses the issue of plate stretch specific to printing on corrugated cardboard in the flexographic printing process.

According to Cat, the thickness of flexographic plates for corrugated substrates requires the plates be soft and malleable to conform to the irregularities of the corrugated cardboard surface when direct printing. However, that also makes the plates very “squishy,” which can cause them to stretch. When the corrugated plate stretches so does the image on the plate. This can cause alignment issues if, for example, multiple plates are being used and one plate stretches while the others don’t.

Her research will analyze the relationship of the graphics coverage on the printing plates to the subsequent print results and will analyze whether one can calculate in advance how much a soft plate will stretch. This could lead to a mathematical formula, which will allow plate graphics to be properly shrunk prior to plates being made so when they stretch on the press, they print at the correct dimensions.

The Rossini scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in a two- or four-year institution who are majoring in a program that focuses on flexography. In order to qualify for the scholarship, students are required to submit a proposal that addresses a problem in the flexographic industry.

Rossini North America, LLC is a leading global manufacturer of printing sleeves and bridges for narrow, mid and wide web flexographic applications. Its products provide high-tech solutions allowing modern presses to achieve maximum performance.

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