West Midlands based converter Daymark Labels claims it has enjoyed major growth in both output and profitability in the 12 months since it installed two Mark Andy narrow web presses. The family-run business in Hartlebury invested in an Mark Andy Evolution Series E5 flexo press and a Digital Pro 3 toner-based press back in the Spring of 2022 and has not looked back according to Jon Bird (Snr), who owns the company with son Jon.
Founded in 1974 and built on a reputation for top quality work in some of the more testing niche markets, the decision to invest in Mark Andy technology was relatively straightforward, according to Jon (Snr): “We’d been looking to upgrade our flexo capacity and knew that we needed to add digital capability and wanted to source both from the same manufacturer. Mark Andy has the broadest portfolio of all narrow web manufactures, so the choice was easy, and I’m pleased to say it’s worked out well.”
The Evolution E5 features the latest Mark Andy servo platform for flexo. It has 330mm (13”) web width, eight flexo print units, and was the first to be installed in the UK fitted with GEW’s LeoLED/UV curing technology. Specification also includes a web cleaner, overhead rail with turn bar unit, delam/relam, double die stations and a sheeter/conveyor. “I’m so glad we opted for LED/UV,” said Jon (Jnr) “it’s so efficient and with energy costs rising, it has made a real difference.” Daymark is looking to add inline lamination capability that will facilitate more efficient production of labels for hazardous products which it is looking to do in one-pass. “The Evolution Series E5 allows us to win jobs we just couldn’t handle before – it’s such a confidence booster for our operators and our customers because they know we can deliver reliable quality.”
Turning to the Digital Pro 3, both Jons agree that they couldn’t be without it! “It has a learning curve for those new to digital, but it’s an easy press to operate and has allowed us to improve our customer service by having digital in-house and being able to colour-match it with the flexo press. This gives us the freedom to choose how we produce each job, and the facility to switch from one to the other without any loss of quality,” explained Jon (Jnr). Especially noteworthy is the Digital Pro 3’s capability with textured stocks, and for the fast-growing range of artisan businesses, this is proving a winner. “A typical job might be 1000 labels of five types, which the digital machine can handle equally well on porous or textured substrates – it’s a great all-rounder,” he added. Having become something of a short run specialist, Daymark has spent time growing its web-to-print business, and the Digital Pro 3 is ideal for this.
Phil Baldwin, Mark Andy UK’s Sales Manager explained why the Digital Pro 3 is so capable. “It’s the second-generation of our hybrid that combines a toner-based digital engine for 1200dpi CMYK with flexo printing before and after the digital module, as well as laminating, cold foiling, rotary or semi-rotary die-cutting, slitting and rewinding, or sheeting and stacking, all in one pass. It is capable of printing on a variety of stocks, from tags to pressure-sensitive and Tyvek materials, typically self-adhesive stocks, wine label substrates, and PP, without any need for primer.”
Digital Pro has a production speed of 23.4m/min (77ft/min) and requires no cleanroom environment nor involves any ‘click charge’. It features a simple to use RIP that allows any existing pdf to be printed at the touch of a button, and its small footprint and onboard compressor for its air-cooled LED-UV curing system, make for a ‘plug-in and go’ installation. In fact, its compact size, and the high performance of the Evolution Series E5 flexo press have resolved a major problem for Daymark, whose production floor had been bursting at the seams and threatening a need to move to larger premises. The two new Mark Andy machines have given the company breathing space to evaluate its next investment.
Since installing the new presses, Daymark has enjoyed a 15% hike in sales with no additional staffing costs or change in shift pattern. “We have always been conscious of maintaining a healthy work/life balance for all of our staff while building a profitable and growing business - it’s a model that has served us well in the past and we see no reason to change,” said Jon (Snr). He was also quick to compliment Mark Andy on its after sales service and technical support. “We see them as an important partner in strengthening our capability and extending our offering to customers,” he concluded.