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March 8, 2023
The print industry is traditionally thought of as being very male dominated however with the advancements in digital printing technologies we see far more women in key research and development roles transforming the world of print as we know it.
For International Women’s Day (IWD) we caught up with Velox’s Chemistry team leader, Dafna Heiman Burstein and Chemistry lab leader Sinaya Zanko Saad to learn more about their journey into digital print technology and thoughts about their work and the industry. These ladies are instrumental in the development of Velox’s proprietary inks and continuously work to expand the company’s ink technology capabilities through their expertise and insight.
Q: Tell me ladies, what led you to pursuing a career in the print sector?
Dafna Heiman Burstein: I started out my career in the medical device industry while continuing to study for a Masters in Polymer Engineering. My thesis focused on polymer coatings and following graduation, I searched for a position in innovative companies that focused on material science as a solution.
Sinaya Zanko Saad: After completing a degree in Polymer Engineering, I searched for a role that would be challenging and interesting. From the moment I started working in the Velox chemistry department I fell in love with the world of UV inks and digital printing. It has been six years and I still find the digital printing space to be fascinating. Q: What do you love most about your job?
Q: What do you love most about your job?
Zanko Saad: Each container type we print on and every new ink we develop, such as the recently launched Micro-Pixel Drop Shape Control Technology, is a challenge that drives me. I have the benefit of working with great team members, which include some of the leading professionals in digital printing as well as work in a company that provides an environment where I can have a good work-life balance.
Heiman Burstein adds “I love the multidisciplinary environment – where I get to see chemistry in action. This enables the team to develop the formulation for direct-to-shape applications in the lab and then immediately test it on one of our Velox IDS solutions in the R&D center, where the ink is being printed onto a cylindrical container. The team then analyze the results, revert back to the lab, and continues the process until it is completed. Our job is not just about formulating the inks but also to ensure that it achieves the expected high printing performance on the Velox decoration systems.”
Q: What do you feel can be done to encourage young women into the digital printing industry?
Zanko Saad: Exposing young women to the industry at an early age can create a lot of interest, encouraging them to study a qualification that is related to the print field. The digital printing industry offers a wide range of professions and expertise where women can find their passion. The idea that women can become an influence and be promoted to leading roles based on their knowledge and proficiency in this industry is also a driver for young women to seek a career in this field and investigate it further.
Heiman Burstein: The industry is more geared towards roles that require mechanical and electronics engineering which are unfortunately still male-dominated areas of interest, making positions scarce for women. The chemistry side of things is more accessible to women as they tend to take up studies in this field. Velox is unique as in creating its proprietary ink, a strong chemistry team is required to lead the R&D activities and roadmap. I am proud to be part of the Velox chemistry team where over 70% are women.
Q: Do you think that women find it challenging to advance their careers in the print industry?
Heiman Burstein: The diversity of roles in the print industry and specifically in chemistry are somewhat limited. Other positions in printing technology-driven companies such as motion control or system engineering can be quite intimidating for women to go into as they are very male dominated. As a result, women working for companies in the digital printing industry, as in other industries where the males are the majority, find it challenging to make themselves heard and need to adjust the way they express themselves to get their message across. On the other hand, they bring a sense of calm and order to meetings and work procedures, thereby increasing efficiency and decision making.
Zanko Saad: Currently the digital printing industry is noticeably male dominated as it involves professions that are popular with men. It starts with academic studies where men generally select mechanical engineering, physics, mathematics, electronic engineering, and others as their major. However, with the broader adoption of new technologies, the shift is already happening as more and more women are choosing to become engineers. While I think it’s very challenging for women to penetrate this industry, there are definitely more opportunities today for women to grow and advance in in print as well as in other businesses.
Q: What excites you about the future of print?
Zanko Saad: The print industry is moving towards becoming more digital, automated and innovative. What excites me the most is the progress that is being made towards sustainability and recycling and the fact that the Velox technology is a major contributor to this trend.
Heiman Burstein shares the same excitement and adds, “The reduction of setup time and waste, and the high-speed and operational efficiency of Velox’s technology removes the need to hold large volumes of inventory and storage, saving on material and energy. I feel we are contributing to making the world a better place.”
Q: Who is your favorite female role model and why?
Heiman Burstein: I can identify two female role models that had a significant impact on my life. The first was my high school chemistry teacher, Dr. Dalya Cheshnovsky. She wrote several Chemistry textbooks for high schoolers, improving the way in which chemistry was taught to students. She brought the love of chemistry to her students and is the main reason I decided to continue in the field. My second role model is Professor Hanna Dodiuk, Head of graduate studies of Polymer materials Engineering at Shenkar. She has been inspirational as she worked in a predominantly male centred environment at a time that women were not given the opportunities they have today. She advanced herself and has made a name for herself in Academics.
Zanko Saad: My role model is my mother. She has been a great influence over the years as she has demonstrated how a good balance can be reached between family and work life. She never gave up on her career which she loved and was passionate about, while at the same time raised a family. She perfected the formula of being a full-time mother and professional. She has shown me the importance of achieving goals and striving for excellence to fulfil my dreams, which I follow today by combing my family with a career in a leading digital printing company recognized globally.
As we mark International Women’s Day 2023, we would like to celebrate women’s achievements and strive towards a world where difference is valued and honored. Together, let’s recognize what women can offer to the print industry and the world.