Berkshire Labels sets records after Mark Andy installation

UK converter chooses Performance Series P7E and reaches record month 

Berkshire Labels sets records after Mark Andy installation

Paul Roscoe, Berkshire Labels

One of the UK’s most respected narrow web converters, Berkshire Labels, has added another Mark Andy flexo press to its production facility in Hungerford, UK. 

The new Performance Series P7E is the latest of five Mark Andy presses onsite, which include an earlier Performance P7E and a P9E that is dedicated to filmic production. Two months after the new press went into production, Berkshire Labels recorded its highest-ever monthly sales figure.

Renowned for his company’s policy of re-investment, managing director Paul Roscoe said: ‘We commit at least 10 percent of our annual turnover to investment in the latest technology and this has served us well in both growing and strengthening the business. Our first Performance Series Performance Series P7E was transformational in terms of production efficiency and the Performance Series P9E moved the game on even further. Having settled on the 430mm web width as the best fit for our product portfolio, we now have three of Mark Andy’s Performance Series that we can dedicate to different work, and this is real plus for production efficiency.’

Mark Andy’s Performance Series is the fastest-selling platform in narrow web history with more than 1,200 presses installed worldwide. The latest Performance Series P7E at Berkshire Labels is a very highly specified full servo combination platform. It includes a web cleaner and corona treater, eight dual servo-driven UV flexo print stations, turn bars for delam/relam, cold foil and hot foil capabilities, and a rotary screen that can be placed at any position along the press. A cross-over unit enables the production of multi-layer labels as well. Standard features include 360-degree register, Oldham drives and Mark Andy’s new web control system for highly accurate auto register. Capable of up to 300m/min and with a substrate range of 12- to 450-micron, its maximum print and die repeat is 610mm.

Speaking for Mark Andy, UK sales manager Phil Baldwin said: ‘The whole principle of an inline press is single-pass production and this Performance Series P7E takes that to a new level with its capability to print screen, including Braille, high build, and tactile varnish on an extremely wide range of substrates. With the addition of a cross-over unit the Performance Series P7E can produce peel-and-read labels, where items such as Braille or warning triangles are required. Complementing these features is rotary hot foil to give a premium shelf appeal and produce complex designs in a single pass.’

One prime example of this is a current job that previously took Berkshire Labels three weeks to produce using flatbed screen and foil processes, now is completed in less than three days.

With such a varied capability and fast make-ready, Berkshire Labels is already switching some medium to longer jobs over from its digital presses to the new Mark Andy. All presses onsite print to HD standard and are paired for transferable work, which offers maximum production flexibility. With the lack of requirement for a second pass or offline processing that the Performance Series P7E offers, Paul Roscoe says that he has true single pass capability for the first time. ‘It really does tick all the boxes,’ he commented.

Effectively the latest Mark Andy has allowed newly promoted production director Craig Jones to dedicate each of the three Performance Series presses to particular types of work. The first Performance Series P7E is used for the majority of the company’s high-quality paper-based label work, the Performance Series P9E specializes in film jobs, and the new Performance Series P7E handles all the high-level embellishment labels.

‘It’s an ideal set up and with the facility to move work across from our digital presses when needed, the new press has added flexibility that enhances our overall productivity and reduced lead times,’ he said.

Currently, Berkshire Labels has a 60-40 film to paper split on value, with the opposite by volume, and it’s a situation that Roscoe feels comfortable with.  

‘We have a good mix of work from all kinds of labels to shrink sleeves, and pride ourselves on helping fledgling businesses grow into profitable enterprises – our job displays are full of examples of this, many of which are award-winning,’ he said. ‘This company is all about commitment to quality of product and service, and for that you need the best technology and the best people.’

Berkshire Labels has an in-house apprenticeship scheme that offers five young people a two-year training course with good job prospects – at a time when there is a woeful shortage of skilled staff. Employees currently number 75 at Hungerford and the current year will see turnover pass 18M USD,  a 12 percent uplift on last year. 

‘We’ll be looking at 25M GBP (30M USD) by the time we’ve completed our current expansion program,’ he said.