Published on August 23, 2023
As Heaford celebrates a decade of showcasing their groundbreaking FTS at Label Expo Europe 2023, we took some time to speak to Graham Littler, the Senior Designer in Heaford’s Design Department, who was instrumental in the invention of the game-changing FTS technology.
Q1: Please can you tell us a bit about your career at Heaford.
“I’ve been part of the Heaford family for 24 years now. It’s been an incredible journey, witnessing the evolution of our technology and contributing to innovations that have left a mark on the label printing industry.”
Q2: What are your day-to-day responsibilities within the Design Department?
“My role is quite diverse and exhilarating. I’m primarily involved in new product development, processing machine orders, and providing support to both our production teams and suppliers. Additionally, I’m hands-on in the creation and testing of new equipment, ensuring they meet our high standards.”
Q3: Beyond Heaford how do you like to spend your free time?
“Outside of Heaford, I’m passionate about agricultural engineering and the restoration of vintage cars and tractors. These hobbies offer a refreshing contrast to my work and keep me creatively engaged.”
Q4: I understand that you are the visionary behind the FTS, please can you share your inspiration for this innovation.
“Innovation often strikes when we’re least expecting it. The idea for the FTS technology actually came to me during moments of relaxation, whether it was unwinding in the evening or even when I was in bed. It’s a testament to the power of allowing your mind to wander and explore new possibilities.”
Q5: And what challenges did you face during the development of the FTS.
“The development of FTS was an exciting yet challenging journey. We were venturing into uncharted territory, departing from the conventional plate mounting methods. One of the most complex aspects was designing a table that could hold the plate and apply it evenly. Additionally, incorporating a cylinder lift mechanism for efficient plate checks added another layer of complexity. All these intricacies needed to come together seamlessly in a user-friendly machine.”
Q6: Looking back, how do you feel about the achievements of the FTS?
“I’m immensely proud of the FTS. One of the high points was when we secured a patent for its unique design, validating its innovative nature. Witnessing the widespread adoption of FTS machines and even competitors producing machines based on our concept fills me with a profound sense of accomplishment.”