Minnesota-based converter Commerce Label (CLI) has invested in Mark Andy Digital Series iQ press to add hybrid to its existing digital capability, improve efficiency and maximize output.
Commerce Label, founded in 1991 by a group of local print professionals, operates today from a modern and well-equipped 22,000sqft facility in Plymouth, MN. From the early days, CLI focused on UL/CSA and durable goods. Brought up on narrow web flexo technology with up to 11-color capability, including a Mark Andy 2200, CLI first invested in digital in 2009 by installing a UV-inkjet press.
Having performed off-line digital finishing for more than ten years, CLI was keen to see what a hybrid could offer as a means of streamlining manufacturing and maximizing output.
Because of the company’s growing need to supply a broad spectrum of SKUs and volume mix, coupled with higher production flexibility, the combination of flexo and digital print technology and in-line converting in one hybrid machine was an attractive proposition.
‘Mark Andy has always been a great partner not only supplying press equipment but also in its dedicated after-sales customer support,’ commented Dave Warner, general manager at Commerce Label. ‘When we looked closely at hybrid presses, Mark Andy was the obvious choice because of its engineering capabilities and customer commitment.’
The result was the installation of one of the new Mark Andy Digital Series iQ digital/flexo presses in July 2022.
The Digital Series iQ is based on a fully servo-driven Mark Andy Evolution Series flexo platform integrated with a Domino N610i UV-inkjet engine. It is capable of printing 600 x 600 DPI in up to seven inkjet colors (CMYKOV + WW) at production speeds up to 230ft/min (70m/min) in high-speed mode or 164ft/min (50m/min) in high-quality mode on a 13in (330mm) web width.
The newly installed Digital Series iQ at CLI’s production facilities in Plymouth is specified with two flexo units before and two after the inkjet engine, which has the extended color gamut. The line also has semi-rotary die-cutting, web turn bars, and cold foil, lamination, and slitting capabilities. These extra options were chosen to handle many of the various embellishments that CLI has traditionally offered its customers.
‘We analyze job size and complexity and determine the best fit between traditional flexo and producing the job on the Digital Series iQ, taking the product quality and total costs, including prep, into consideration,’ added Warner. ‘We are accustomed to this flexo versus digital analysis for the past decade, but the Digital Series iQ gives us expanded parameters owing to its width capabilities, in-line options, print quality, extended gamut, and print speed.’
According to Adam Schafer, vice president of sales and marketing at CLI, the Digital Series iQ has extended the company’s capabilities as well as added capacity. It has also given the confidence to service customers with many more SKUs.
‘We are running new work on it as well as work transitioned from our current digital and flexo presses. The markets we are supplying include industrial goods, durables, electronics, and OEMs, and on the consumer side, labels for nutraceuticals, the food and beverage sector as well as health and beauty,’ said Schafer. ‘We will continue to be dedicated to sustainability in design and practice and engaged in ongoing developments with our trade association, TLMI, where we seek and advocate the least environmental impact towards high performance for our customer’s applications, as well as providing recommendations in design for recycling of labeled containers.’
‘To have communicated the Mark Andy hybrid benefits to a quality label converter like CLI and agreed its value as the right production tool for its customers, product portfolio, and ultimately its profitability says as much for the long-term cooperation between the two companies as the importance of the technology itself and the support involved in ensuring the success of its investment. We are very proud of that relationship and honored to be one of its preferred suppliers. Like us, it believes that hybrid is the way forward,’ concluded Ted Bright, sales manager at Mark Andy.