The recent installation of a second Mark Andy Performance Series P5 press at LabelPrint in Tallinn marks a significant milestone for both the Estonian label converter and the American machinery manufacturer.
In 11 years from inception, Sten Sarap, the charismatic entrepreneur behind LabelPrint, has pushed monthly turnover through the 500,000 euro barrier, during which time his company has become the leading Mark Andy user in the Baltic states, having installed five of the manufacturer’s flexo presses, and three Rotoflex machines with 100 percent inspection capability.
According to Sarap, 2012 will be the most profitable year in the company’s short history, with the factory now on triple shift production to meet demand from a growing portfolio of international brand owners in the food, beauty and healthcare markets. With more than 30 percent of output now exported, LabelPrint has specified its two Mark Andy P5 machines to allow it to move into the market for high-value labels that require added-value finishing techniques.
Both of the P5 presses have a 330 mm (13in) web width and eight UV flexo print stations. In addition, they are fitted with delam/relam, two screen units, hot and cold foil capability, embossing and sheeting. The first was installed when LabelPrint moved into its new purpose-built factory in 2011. Five kilometers from Tallinn airport, it serves national and international customers from its 3,250 square meter unit, which employs 50 staff.
The investment in Mark Andy Performance Series technology (LabelPrint also has three 2200 flexo lines), is a mark of Sten Sarap’s belief that companies become more efficient by specializing in market sectors. He explained: ‘The performance and screen facility of the P5 has allowed us to move into the high value cosmetics market where the margins are better. With run lengths declining, we needed the capacity to process jobs quickly, while still meeting customers’ quality expectations. Offering them added value labels is a bonus, and the P5 is perfect for all that.’
With run lengths typically down to 500 linear meters of substrate, LabelPrint is finding the easy and fast changeover capability of the new Mark Andy presses a major plus point. ‘We repeatedly handle 18 different jobs in an eight-hour shift, using six or more colors and other finishing techniques. You simply cannot do that on any other flexo label press – the P Series has changed the game,’ he added.
Having invested heavily in pre-press and anilox technology, which gives the company its own HD Flexo plate making capability, LabelPrint claims its Mark Andy presses offer the capability to run substrates from 20-micron PP and PE unsupported film, up to 400-micron board for tags, but realistically sees self-adhesive labels as its major growth potential. Volumes are higher in this area, according to Sarap, and running film is both more specialized and more competitive. He highlighted this by mentioning one recent label job, which was 60,000 meters, printed six-colors and varnish, and run off at 125 meters/minute.
Pictured: LabelPrint’s Sten Sarap (left) and Mark Andy’s Tom Cavalco during the press installation