Mark Andy has recently organized two online meetings devoted for international students from printing-oriented technical universities. On 23rd of April the company invited students from Poland, on 26th of April – from the rest of the world. Both events were conducted by Mark Andy’s specialists.
On this occasion the company also invited special guests – the representatives of Watershed Group (incl. the Polish-based Etiko printer), its well-established customer and business partner. The webinars included live presentations of Mark Andy presses installed in its demo centers in Poland and the US as well as Q&A sessions.
The agenda of both webinars considered the most possible dose of Mark Andy’s knowledge about technologies, presses from the company’s offer as well as market trends and job opportunities in label printing business area. On the other hand, the company presented its customer’s point of view. They talked about benefits from using Mark Andy solutions. Tadeusz Kozinski – Director of Etiko printing house from Szczecin (Poland) was a guest of the Polish session. Kirwan Waters – Director of Watershed Group (consisting of five European printing houses, incl. Etiko) presented his views during the international session.
Mark Andy and its Offer for the Label Market
The participants of both webinars were welcomed by Lena Chmielewska-Bontron, European Marketing Manager Mark Andy. She underlined that, even during the current pandemic, another webinars devoted for students prove company’s commitment to keeping in touch with younger generations and providing them with knowledge. The events were moderated by Lukasz Chruslinski, Sales Manager Mark Andy Poland (the Polish session) and Phil Baldwin, European Sales Manager Mark Andy UK (the English webinar). During the Polish session they were supported by Lukasz Kaczynski – Warsaw Demo Room Manager, Grzegorz Rostkowski and Michal Mokrzycki – print specialists. During the international session James Mayenschein and Kevin Glatz – the representatives of St. Louis showroom were involved, too.
Lukasz Chruslinski and Phil Baldwin presented Mark Andy, including its history. They underlined that the company, established in 1946, is one of the oldest and the biggest manufacturers of narrow-web flexo and digital presses devoted for label production. Mark Andy’s portfolio, including printing presses as well as finishing equipment and consumables, was presented shortly. Nowadays the company has approx. 8500 pressed installed worldwide, including finishing equipment this number exceeds dozen thousands. It hires approx. 400 people worldwide, incl. 80 engineers. As both speakers indicated, Mark Andy presses are built by the company from the basis, guaranteeing high quality and stability of printing production. They added that having highly skilled engineering team allows the company for realizing individual orders from customers and fitting them to their current needs.
Mark Andy operates from three main locations: in the US, the UK and Poland. It also has many divisions in other countries worldwide. Its printing presses are based on main printing technologies used in label production: flexo, hybrid (inkjet + flexo, toner + flexo) and rotary screen. Currently Mark Andy offers two series of flexo presses: Evolution Series E3/E5 and Performance Series, both devoted to manufacturing longer runs of labels (incl. food and hazardous products), wrap-ups, cups, shrink sleeve, self-adhesive ones and many more. As the speakers indicated, modern label printers expect quick press set-up and job changeover, press’ functionality enabling economic production in smaller runs (including versioning and VDP) as well as substrate savings. Press manufacturers try to meet these expectations by designing even better machines allowing for this kind of production on a wider spectrum of substrates, including renewable ones. Mark Andy’s response to the mentioned market needs are Digital Pro and Digital Series iQ hybrid presses, as well as Digital Series HD, its flagship hybrid/digital model. The company underlines that each of them is devoted to different type of production: toner-based model handle jobs up to 400 meters, inkjet UV presses are fit for 2500-3000 m runs.
Digital Pro model was also highlighted during presentations. It was designed by Mark Andy as the company’s response to changing demands and needs of printing services market, including label-related one. It concerns many current market trends: decreasing runs, higher expectations of customers in terms of shorter delivery times and production diversity. Digital Pro is devoted to companies just starting its printing-related activities.
Market Trends in the Label Printing Industry
Lukasz Chruslinski and Phil Baldwin presented the current market situation, which – despite a global pandemic – is positive for label producers and converters. Partly basing on information from FINAT – the European association for the self-adhesive label industry, they also presented dominating trends on the label production market. They talked about future directions of printing houses as well as their purchasing plans, e.g. considering digital presses, additional equipment and finishing devices. According to Mark Andy’s experts, the whole label industry is developing very well as many brand owners are declare increasing label procurement. As they underlined, currently the market is dominated by labels produced for the following industries: food, pharmacy, beverages and disinfectant gels. Brand owners order more and more label stock including new decorations and finishing, QR codes, RFID tags and shrink sleeve.
Live Demos from Mark Andy Showrooms
The students of both webinars were deeply interested in demonstrations of presses installed at two Mark Andy’s showrooms – in Poland and the US. The Polish session was focused on Digital Series HD – a flagship model among hybrid/digital part of the company’s portfolio. It was used for printing jobs containing variable data with high flexibility, speed and quality guaranteed by four CMYK inkjet modules and additional flexo and finishing stations. The first job was a shampoo label, including different versions, followed by an orange juice label with a gold embellishment. The participants witnessed a very quick job changeover (it took only several minutes), which is significant in terms of shorter runs, different label versions etc.
The Warsaw-based demo center is also equipped with Digital Pro 3 and Evolution Series E3 presses. Annually it runs more than 120 presentations and handles current and possible customers of Mark Andy from various continents. The overseas customers are handled by the US-based showroom in St. Louis (Missouri), equipped in Digital Series iQ – the newest member of a digital/hybrid family as well as Performance P7 flexo press.
Watershed and Etiko: Special Guests of the Webinars
Mark Andy invited one of its key customers and a long-term user of the company’s equipment as a special guest of the webinars devoted to students. Watershed Group is the Irish-based, family-owned printing business, with five sites located in Ireland, the UK, Germany and Poland (Etiko). Tadeusz Kozinski, Director of the latter one, was the special guest of the Polish session. He presented the beginnings of the Szczecin-based printing house, its development, entering the Watershed Group as well as current situation and plans for future. He mentioned about long and close business relationship between Mark Andy and Etiko. During all these years the printer has invested in more than a dozen of Mark Andy printing presses. Currently its equipment set is based on five Mark Andy flexo presses and two slitter-rewinders from Rotoflex (the company owned by Mark Andy). Tadeusz Kozinski answered many questions from Polish students. They concerned e.g. the printing site, its offer and customers (Etiko handles mainly companies from food industry, dairy producers, manufacturers of household and industrial chemistry as well as cosmetic brands and building-related companies), but also the label industry, its current situation and future. Staff issues and printing education were among the topics during the discussion, also concerning a co-operation between vendors, printers and technical universities or printing-oriented high schools.
Kirwan Waters, Director of Watershed Group, was the special guest of the international session. He talked about the group’s activities, also in the international scale, underlining it has several European locations which impacts on bigger flexibility in handling customers and service complexity. He mentioned that even in the tough pandemic times the Group has invested strongly. Kirwan Waters added that his company uses numerous Mark Andy solutions in all locations. Recently one of its Irish sites has been equipped with a Digital Series HD model. Kirwan Waters underlined a huge potential and opportunities offered by a hybrid technology, as well as its influence on production flexibility.
Watershed Group focuses on co-operation with customers representing food, FMCG and beverages industries. Kirwan Waters announced further expansion of his company and his goal is clear: making Watershed Group one of the biggest privately-owned printing companies in Europe.
“We’re sure that this kind of meetings give students a great opportunity for getting knowledge about printing technologies and their usage in different types of production and final assortment. Moreover, they learn about a current market situation and the trends. Hopefully all of this will inspire them in choosing printing industry when considering future occupation. For many years Mark Andy has been committed to sharing our experiences and knowledge with the youngest generation of future printers. On the other hand, we wish to encourage other manufacturers and printing companies to build closer relations with students and teachers. Together we can upgrade skills of the future employees of our companies; what we have to do is to show the right way and enable access to specific tools. We wish to thank all the webinars’ guests and participants and we are extremely happy about their interest in Mark Andy’s online events” – Lena Chmielewska-Bontron concludes.