Sonepat-based A&S Labels is a leading manufacturer and exporter of metallized, filmic, barcode, adhesive and non-adhesive labels. The company is a prime label supplier to pharma, FMCG, cosmetic, durables and liquor companies. A&S is also a leading producer and supplier of holographic strips. In the past year, A&S enhanced its capacity considerably with the installation of a Mark Andy Performance Series P5 narrow web flexo press at its 20,000 square foot plant in Rai. To go with the new press, a Rotoflex VSI330 slitter rewinder and inspection system featuring a Nikka 100% inspection system was also installed.
The Mark Andy P5 is the company’s fourth highly configured multi-color press installed since it began operation in 2006 with a Mark Andy Scout label press. In the intervening years, a pair of servo label presses—an 8-color and a 5-color—were also commissioned at the Rai plant. The 330 mm width Mark Andy P5 with all the bells and whistles can run up to 225 metres a minute on substrates from 25 to 356 microns. Its advanced waste winder allows converters to diecut and take up even oddly shaped waste matrices. With the installation of the new label press and inspection system, A&S is looking at less downtime and 15 to 20% increase in production.
“The advance waste wind-up system is beneficial for handling complex-shaped jobs (which are not circular or rectangular) and increases the uptime,” says Nikhil Puri of A&S Labels. “The electronic pre-register system on the press is capable of complete automatic register and capable of precision re-pass printing and converting.” One of the unique features of the Mark Andy P5 at A&S is its VariPrint capability, which optimizes print quality on stretchable substrates by varying the speed of the print and impression cylinders. The P5 installed at A&S is equipped with chilled impression rolls to assist in the printing and converting of unsupported fi lms and all types of labels and tags.
“We believe in upgrading our production process with modern and sophisticated equipment every 2 to 3 years. It’s essential to bring in new technology to remain competitive in the label business. So our strategy to upgrade every 2 to 3 years is in sync with the growing and changing market demands. Also, as a matter of principle we prefer to have at least a pair of machines of the same brand as a backup,” says Puri. “Being a packaging solution provider, we have to be very quick in adopting new technologies. Our prime focus and USP is our customer base.”
According to FIG, the distributor of Mark Andy presses in India, the P5 is currently one of the most popular narrow web label fl exo presses sold across the world. The P5 comes with features which allow converters to achieve very fast changeovers and reduce wastage of substrate with its unique web path, which is virtually straight. “One of the main reasons converters are looking at this press is to reduce substrate wastage and improve their makeready times,” says Gourav Roy, managing director of FIG based in New Delhi.
Price war is the biggest challenge
Speaking of the label market, Puri says, “From basic chromo labels to metallic, textured and other kinds of sophisticated labels, the label industry has come a long way. However, today the biggest challenge is hypercompetition; price war is the biggest issue that we are facing in the present scenario. Nevertheless, label printers are buying new and state-of-the-art machines to produce better products.”
Roy adds, “It’s about time label printers and converters seriously evaluate the costs they incur to produce an end-saleable product. This can be achieved only with the right technology, education, working methods and the right partners.”