Mark Andy hosts Open House day at its label factory HQ

Steve Schulte, vice president of sales & marketing at Mark Andy discusses the company's Total Solutions Partner approach
Steve Schulte, vice president of sales & marketing at Mark Andy discusses the company’s Total Solutions Partner approach

At the beginning of the month, the global headquarters of Mark Andy was the setting for an energetic audience representing more than 30 converter companies that came to get a first-hand look at the company’s digital printing and finishing workflow solutions.

While the Digital Series hybrid production system running in a simulated production operation was the centrepiece of the Open House, several very informative presentations supplemented the day’s learning experience.

Attendees were welcomed by Mark Andy CEO, Kevin Wilken, who gave a brief overview of the company’s history in digital printing technology, which has culminated in the development of the Digital Series production system. “We went all-in about three years ago, hiring the best and the brightest to focus on R&D, combining flexo and digital printing, with inline converting and decorating. We launched the Digital Series because we are extremely confident in it and we are very proud to share this with you today.”

Mark Hanley provided a wealth of information on digital technology’s current and future potential in the label and packaging markets. He broke down the available digital technologies into four categories from table-tops to standalone production systems. Of these, hybrid modular inkjet systems, such as the Digital Series, are predicted to experience annual growth rates of 20 per cent through 2020. “Inkjet is at least capable as electrophotography in print quality, but is greatly under-represented in the market. Mark Andy is a protagonist of inkjet and carries a lot of credibility in the market,” he said.

Ryan Reding, followed this with an open and candid assessment of the Dallas plant’s experience as a beta site for the Digital Series hybrid production system. The site has gone through all the system’s transitions with Mark Andy and has been running the latest iteration of the Digital Series in a production mode since early January.

Mark Andy's Ralph Boer, digital sales manager, discusses the features and benefits of the Digital Series hybrid platform
Mark Andy’s Ralph Boer, digital sales manager, discusses the features and benefits of the Digital Series hybrid platform

The Mark Andy Label Factory was the centrepiece of the Open House, with the Digital Series press running continuously throughout the event, simulating the various run sizes and printing/converting combinations facing converters today. During the course of three hours in operation, the Mark Andy Label Factory ran 12 different labels with 18 different versions/SKUs, at production speeds of over 200 fpm, resulting in 300,000 sellable labels. Along with a live video stream throughout the entire event, attendees got an up-close look at the machine in operation during the facility tour. To conclude, a Mark Andy Label Factory Financial Plan was reviewed with attendees demonstrating a significant shift in the breakeven point between traditional flexo and a production hybrid solution.

The overall objective of the Open House was to provide converters with a first-hand look at Mark Andy’s digital printing and finishing workflow.

“I was very impressed with the event overall,” offered Dave Wagner, operations manager for PM Company in Fairfield, Ohio. “The highlight for me was the converter testimonial that provided a real-life assessment of the Digital Series hybrid system in operation. I was also impressed with the Mark Andy facility and its manufacturing flow, along with the company’s obvious commitment to customer service.”

“What an exciting way to kick off Mark Andy’s 70th year,” added Wilken. “The day’s focus was on Mark Andy’s digital printing and finishing workflow offering and we feel the live demonstrations reiterated Mark Andy’s commitment to offering Business Responsive Technologies to help converters reach their full potential.”