Six months after acquiring Presstek, Mark Andy held an open house in London to explain how the two brands are being integrated
Looked at from a labels perspective, the acquisition of Presstek by Mark Andy in December might have seemed an unusual fit. After all, Presstek is active in the small format commercial offset market with its direct imaging presses and not in the labels space.
But the acquisition makes more sense when considered as part of Mark Andy’s broader strategy to become a ‘full service’ provider of equipment, consumables, consultancy and support in the digital, flexo and small offset sectors.
Around its conventional presses, Mark Andy has built up an eco-system which includes flexo platemaking and processing equipment, plate mounting and splicing tapes, doctor blades, tint sleeves/flood coat rollers, pressroom chemicals, pre-press systems and anilox rolls.
These products and consumables come under the umbrella of Mark Andy Print Products, headquartered in Chicago. There are three more distribution hubs across the US (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Newark and Atlanta), and locations in Toronto, Canada, Mexico City and the UK.
Mark Andy takes over global sales and service support for Presstek’s 4-6 color 34DI (direct imaging) and 34DI Eco-UV direct imaging waterless offset presses alongside the Dimension CTP image-setting systems and Anthem Elite thermal printing plates.
Mark Andy had already been distributing these systems in partnership with Presstek in North America, and the two companies had previously shared a common owner – so strong working relationships were already in place.
Mark Andy Print Products recently introduced 24/7 online ordering for its full product range in North America, and this service will also be extended to other global regions.
It is worth noting that Presstek’s Zahara waterless plates division is not part of the Mark Andy acquisition. Instead it is being spun off as a new company – Verico Technology – headed by former Presstek CEO Yuval Dubois.
Stuart Gallup, VP Offset/DI/CTP at Mark Andy, explained these developments at an open house at the Presstek European HQ in London, where a 34DI Eco-UV press – fitted with UV LED lamps – and a Mark Andy Digital One were demonstrated alongside each other as complimentary systems.
Mark Andy has been successful pitching the Digital One as a relatively simple way for commercial printers to enter the label market for micro and short run products, as well as label converters looking to complement their existing conventional and digital capabilities.
At the same time, Gallup believes there are great opportunities for commercial printers in the small format offset market to grow their business into labels. ‘For commercial printers there are plenty of opportunities to enter the label market enabling diversification from competition.’
The Presstek 34DI 4-color digital offset press was equipped with the LED-based ECO-UV add-on system which instantly dries sheets, allowing an immediate second side print, and the capability to move straight to finishing rather than using standard offset set-off powders.
The in-line curing system is now available as a retrofit to any existing Presstek DI press. Attendees saw a variety of different jobs printed, including a ‘bath bomb’ box, PVC cards and sheet-fed labels. A key advantage of the UV LED system for filmic products is that it does not generate heat, allowing production of short run filmic labels for products such as water bottles. The 34DI Eco-UV press is well suited for non-absorbent materials because, as a waterless system, there is no excess water to remove.
Industry consultant Nick Coombes, a long-time observer of the commercial and package print sectors, pointed out that the DI and Digital One presses have the potential to ‘reinvent’ the old in-plant market once dominated by the Heidelberg GTO. ‘That market had disappeared, but now we see it coming back – with the micro-breweries, for example, or the small gin producers and other craft industries. They need high-end packaging but in small volumes, and these presses allow the instant availability of print in any application from lightweight papers to plastics.’