At the LMAI conference in Kochi, Ian Pollock, director of Mark Andy UK, spoke about the rising demand for digital presses globally. “In 2017, the sales of digital presses worldwide marked the sales of conventional presses. And in 2018, the number of digital presses sold was higher than the sales of conventional presses,” Pollock began.
Pollock stated some of the major challenges faced by customers, including demand for better print quality, capability, increasing material cost, lack of good operators, shorter run lengths and sustainability. He introduced the Performance Series E Line, a flexographic solution for narrow and mid web printing that targets these issues. The three new models under the E Series – P9E, P7E and P5E – are equipped to solve converter needs and provide better efficiency, faster changeovers and reduced waste. The presses can save up to 50% waste by reducing ink and energy consumption and can set up 4 colors in 3 minutes. They are simple to operate with streamlined automation for advanced print quality and registration with consistent results. “With over 300 installations of the Series E line in Southern Asia, I would like to thank our partners in South Asia, Flexo Image Graphics,” Pollock said.
In a discussion with Pollock, he said, “The conference is a great way to learn about the Indian market and the different challenges faced by the converters. It seems as if most of the converters are facing similar challenges. They are looking for higher productivity, better quality and value-added products. That falls right under the Mark Andy ethos and we are working on developments such as improving flexo machines. We will exhibit the new Performance Series E line at Labelexpo and you will also see digital offerings on our Stand 4C45 for high quality labels.”
In terms of the difference between European and Indian market, he said, “The cost structure of labor is more expensive in Europe and that has a huge impact on the cost but in India, while the cost of labor is rising, it is still comparatively lower. After talking to converters at LMAI, I realized that by far India is the largest market for pressure-sensitive labels. In Europe, there is a transition to other types of not just PS labels but flexible packaging is growing. In India, the digital take up is much higher than Europe and North America. People here are coming and exploring whether digital would be a perfect solution to satisfy their customer needs and increase profitability.”
Expanding on the E series, he said, “The series is all about reducing waste while saving energy and ink. And it is not just the suppliers but the converters who have an obligation towards sustainability. Material suppliers also are responsible for ensuring that stock does not go into landfills but is reused to make something else out of it. Sustainability seems to be the buzzword here. Every link in the chain is responsible for the environment, including the consumers. Individually, equipment manufacturers and converters can only do so much but if everyone comes together, a sustainable solution might be possible which will take time. It is my saying that bring evolution rather than revolution. We all would like for things to happen overnight but things evolve slowly.”
It is Pollock’s fifth visit to India in the last 9 months and talking about his observations at LMAI 2019, he said, “The converters here are saying that they are looking at the bottom line that is profitability, of ways to enhance their products. But that will come from brand owners. They are the ones who will drive innovation in product enhancement by telling us what they need. It is really about what they want and need. Converters need to tell us what their customers want ‒ whether it is enhancement and it is not limited to just labels, but also includes flexible packaging and IML labelstock.”
Mark Andy has a formidable after-sales support structure. “After-sales support is very important. The support structure is just as important as the quality of our product. We set up the Mark Andy University in the US to train students. Training programs and modules are available online for customers. So far we don’t have a training institution in India but our partners, Flexo Image Graphics, train the customers and help them understand the technology. They introduce them to our online training program,” he said.
At Labelexpo Brussels, Mark Andy will offer live demonstration of the Digital Series HD with new applications that highlight an expanded digital module, including 1200 dpi resolution and production speeds of 240 feet per minute. The company will also display Digital Pro, a modular 4-color toner system available from a base roll-to-roll model up to an advanced inline hybrid with semi rotary.
The latest edition of the Performance Series press will be launched by Mark Andy at the event. The new press was developed to meet industry demands at a lower starting price-point. Visitors can also get a hands-on experience with the P9E 26″ print stations on the stand.
Given the recent growth and launch into the European market, Mark Andy Print Products supplies team will be on the stand showcasing advanced flexo consumables by Mark Andy.
Commenting on the previous participation of Mark Andy at Labelexpo, Pollock said, “Labelexpo Europe 2017 proved to be another successful event for Mark Andy and our global network of distributors. Unveiling new technologies in digital and flexo equipment, crowds were both impressed and eager to learn more about the new wave of dedicated hybrid equipment brought to Belgium in 2017.
“Labelexpo Europe gives our company the opportunity to showcase new innovations and connect with the label and packaging industry. We expect to have many signed contracts on the show floor as well as generating more interest and knowledge about some of our latest innovations.”
The company is looking to target converters and printers in the label and packaging industry.