Kingfisher Labels goes digital with Mark Andy

The UK converter has installed a Mark Andy Digital Pro 3 press at its production facility near Bristol.

Kingfisher’s Karl Jackson and Andy Watts with Mark Andy’s Phil Baldwin and the new DPro 3 hybrid press installed in Bristol.

Kingfisher Labels UK, based in Bristol, has installed a Mark Andy Digital Pro 3 press at its production facility in Yate, South Gloucestershire. 

The company was established in 1996 with two Mark Andy 830 presses, and now the 22,000sqf industrial unit houses three flexo lines plus the new Mark Andy Digital Pro 3.

'We set out to grow the business through what we call total customer satisfaction, which basically means that you listen very carefully to what customers say and adapt your production capability accordingly through innovation and a policy of ongoing investment in new technology,' said Andy Watts, who joined the company in 2007 and now runs it with Karl Jackson.

With both water-based and UV ink capacity in up to 10 colors and extensive added-value finishing techniques including reverse side printing, multiple varnishing options, spot coating and cold foil, Kingfisher is well equipped to meet a diverse range of jobs, with the exception of digital printing. This is where Mark Andy stepped in.

Demand for digital printing had been growing steadily to the point where it made no sense to continue to outsource the work. 'We have many micro-breweries locally whose requirements typify the artisan product market and highlight the need for digital capability,' said Jackson. 'It’s not unusual to be asked for 10,000 labels of 12 or 13 different designs – go figure that with a flexo press!' 

With a need to streamline production as much as possible, Kingfisher determined a hybrid offering inline finishing would best suit its requirements. The company found the Digital Pro 3, Mark Andy’s second incarnation of its successful Digital One press that combines a toner-based CMYK engine with the option of flexo print stations before and after, along with die-cutting, stripping the waste, and slitting for single-pass production.

Phil Baldwin, Mark Andy sales manager, said: 'The Digital Pro 3 offers the best of both worlds because it utilizes well-proven technology that is supported by Mark Andy’s technical expertise. So all the flexo and web handling expertise we have acquired over the past 70 years goes into making Digital Pro 3 a productive and cost-effective commercial tool. We have now installed more than 350 worldwide, which speaks volumes for its capability.'

Designed as a low cost-to-print press, the Digital Pro series makes short- to medium-run work an attractive business for its users. It offers 1200dpi resolution at 23.4m/min across a variety of substrates from paper to BOPP, PET and PP films and vinyl, without the need for priming or coating. The flexo units can be used for spot color or varnish, as well as cold foil and an onboard air-cooled LED/UV unit gives it a small overall footprint, with no need for a clean-room environment. Plus, there is click charge.

'We are looking to grow our digital business with the Digital Pro 3, but just as important is that it will give us the opportunity to free-up space on our flexo presses for longer run work,' Watts said. 'What we especially like is the color quality that matches our flexo and allows us to switch jobs from one to the other as needed. And for one of our major customers, it’s perfect for producing 80 different designs of 100m each.'