The Power of Hybrid
Leading narrow web press manufacturer, Mark Andy, welcomed more than 250 international visitors to a two-day Open House at its Demo Centre and Showroom in Warsaw recently. Organised with the theme ‘The Power of Hybrid’, the event was an opportunity to show different solutions from the company’s product portfolio. Following the press demonstrations, the day was crowned with gala dinner that included a laser show and a video message from Mark Andy CEO, Jason Desai. Please watch the movie to learn more about this event
The company’s flagship hybrid press, the Digital Series HD, was presented online during live daily production at Essentra Packaging, one of the latest Polish customers to install this very high-spec press. Three other presses were demonstrated live in the showroom: the toner-based Digital Pro, the new Evolution Series E3 flexo press, and, making its European debut, inkjet-based Digital Series iQ. Developed in cooperation with Domino, which supplies the inkjet engine, the DSiQ was additionally equipped with a Kurz Distorun embellishing unit. Mark Andy also launched sMArt Link, a new label production automation software. of Mark Andy was emitted.
Welcoming the international visitors, Executive Vice President Tom Cavalco underlined that every Open House was very special to the company: “It’s a great opportunity to meet our customers, share our knowledge and receive feedback and information from the people who create and drive the market and its development - those who know it best. Last year, Mark Andy celebrated its 75th anniversary and right from the start it has been focused on developing and manufacturing solutions that meet current and future requirements and expectations of the label market. This time we are presenting three of Mark Andy’s hybrid solutions, combining digital and conventional printing with numerous converting and embellishment options. We’re going to demonstrate several presses, representing different market areas – from entry-level to high-end. We’ve also prepared a demo of our Evolution Series E3 flexo press. We invite you to join us on a journey with the latest Mark Andy technology and solutions that we hope will be an inspiration for you, our customers, and your business development.”
Digital Series HD: a flagship hybrid in production conditions
The first station on the journey was Lublin in Poland, where Essentra Packaging is located. Recently, it has invested in a new Digital Series HD to enhance its label production. Phil Baldwin, Sales Manager Mark Andy Europe, who conducted all the presentations during the Open House, underlined that Essentra has one of the most extensive configurations of Digital Series HD in Europe: “It’s a high-end solution, devoted to highly efficient label and flexible packaging production, both for high volume and small to mid runs, including variable data and versioning. It’s extremely popular worldwide and has been one of our top selling presses for many years.” In 2021, Mark Andy delivered 78 hybrids worldwide, which is a record for the company in this market sector.
Mr Baldwin pointed out the potential and high efficiency of Digital Series HD: “Printing and converting or finishing are processed in one pass – this is one of the biggest advantages of hybrid technology. Compared with offline solutions, it makes for significant time and substrate and consumable savings, resulting in a higher production efficiency. This is why we are not surprised by the growing share of hybrid in our global sales,” he stated.
During a live demo from Essentra Packaging, beer labels with three different graphics were printed. The Open House guests were also supplied with white PP-based label samples, containing 12 different motifs, printed and converted on a Digital Series HD. “Prior to the Open House, a 12-motif label was prepared for the Digital Series HD and we’re printing the same job on other presses presented at the event, using toner, inkjet and flexo,” he explained.
This allowed the visitors to see the results of using each technique and compare the quality and converting/finishing options. “Our goal was to highlight the possibility of printing the same design on different presses using different technology, because we’ve been observing an increasing trend towards print standardisation among our customers,” said Baldwin.
Besides a live online demo from Essentra Packaging, two other Polish users of the Digital Series HD were seen in specially prepared videos. Arti-Bau and MD Labels spoke about their experiences with Mark Andy technology and the recent purchases of their second Digital Series HD presses that doubled hybrid capacity at both customers.
Digital Pro 3: a start-up point for digital printing newcomers
The toner-based Digital Pro 3 press was launched during the Labelexpo Europe 2019 trade fair. As entry-level press, it is quite often a first-choice solution for printers starting their journey with digital label printing. “We offer Digital Pro 3 in several versions,” said Phil Baldwin. “At the Open House we’re demonstrating a press equipped with semi-rotary die-cutting. Digital Pro 3 is compact, has a small footprint, and is a flexible and efficient press for short and medium runs. It offers a very fast changeover, increasing press uptime.”
During the event Digital Pro 3 was used to print labels with 12 different graphics that included cold stamping in the flexo unit and semi-rotary die-cutting, and three different versions of tea labels.
Evolution Series E3: simplicity in handling and flexibility in printing
Labelexpo Europe 2019 also saw the premiere of an important development from Mark Andy, the Evolution Series flexo press. With its totally new platform it instantly appealed to label printers worldwide. “Independent servo drives and flexibility; high quality of printing and speeds up to 152m/min; numerous inline converting and finishing options – these features of Evolution Series have been quickly appreciated by their users,” he explained.
As demand for the Evolution Series continues to grow, Mark Andy claims it delivered and installed more than 50 presses in 2021, around one per week. “Evolution Series prints on many different substrates, with end products including shrink sleeve and IML. This allows users to cooperate with their customers and brand owners who work in the most demanding industries, like cosmetics, healthcare and pharmaceutical.” said Baldwin.
The press installed in Warsaw’s Demo Room and shown during the Open House was equipped with six flexo units, including two spot colours, and a cold foil unit. It was used for printing 12 labels with different graphics (220/lpi) on white PP film. The labels were printed CMYK plus two Pantone colours, cold foiled and die-cut.
Digital Series iQ: the newest hybrid in Mark Andy’s portfolio
Last year Mark Andy launched Digital Series iQ, a new hybrid model co-developed with Domino, manufacturer of the V16610iV inkjet engine capable of printing with an extended colour gamut (CMYKOV + W). Details of the heart of the press were supplied by Ruud Bos, DP OEM Manager Europe at Domino. The Digital Series iQ, shown at the Open House, was additionally equipped with a Distorun embellishment module, presented by Marco Ordung, Product Manager, Kurz. It was used for printing a shampoo label based on white PP film. The same substrate was also used for printing the previously mentioned 12 different graphic motifs.
“We call Digital Series iQ a True Hybrid as it offers a wealth of possibilities, similarly to our flagship Digital Series HD press. It combines inkjet printing and numerous embellishment and finishing options, including very sophisticated ones. Printing with high quality and speed, up to 70m/min in rapid mode, Digital Series iQ is a comprehensive solution that opens new markets and opportunities for its users,” said Baldwin.
sMArt Link: label printing automation
The Power of Hybrid Forum also saw the official premiere of sMArt Link – a new software package from Mark Andy, devoted to automate label production. The new application was presented by Gretchen Tobol, Product Manager Mark Andy USA. “In introducing sMArt Link, we responded to numerous suggestions from our customers, taken during the meetings like this one,” she said. “We are very conscious of the need for efficiency and maintaining margins at printing companies these days. These parameters can’t be reached without higher process automation.”
sMArt Link is a real-time, on-press data collection and monitoring system. It is compatible with new and existing Mark Andy presses as well as other brands found on the production floor, and can be accessed through a Cloud-based platform on a single machine, on the production floor, or at enterprise level. It helps production managers to make immediate process adjustments, as well as helping executives to make strategic data driven decisions. It is devoted to label and packaging converters who want to improve press utilisation, efficiency, and sustainability.
Besides the presentations of presses and software, Mark Andy prepared a special newsletter/leaflet, covering all the technology on show and containing QR codes linked with YT movies devoted to each press, and customer quotes. A part of the publication was devoted to RFID technology, which is being used increasingly in the printing industry. The leaflet included testimonials from Mark Andy customers who have implemented RFID modules in combination with their flexo presses.
“The wide range of companies and implementations presented in our newsletter confirms the global presence of Mark Andy and our market position worldwide,” said Lena Chmielewska-Bontron, European Marketing Manager Mark Andy, coordinator of Open House and the publication. “We were delighted that our hybrid forum attracted numerous current and potential Mark Andy customers, who represented many countries across the world. We hope that, quoting the motto of our publication ‘Technology – Solutions – Inspiration for Business’ and the main theme of our Open House, ‘The Power of Hybrid’ will be a real help for many label and packaging printers.”
Summing up, she said: “We also hope the presentations, customer testimonials, and user quotes will be an inspiration for printing companies worldwide. We’d like to thank all the Open House participants and invite our customers and business partners to visit Mark Andy’s booth during the forthcoming Labelexpo Americas trade fair. The exhibition will be another great opportunity to see our hybrid and flexo solutions live.”