Midland Regional Printers has moved into digital label printing with the installation of a Mark Andy Digital Pro3. It will take on short run work from a pair of flexo presses and open up new possibilities for the Nottingham business.
The press includes inline finishing as well as a flexo white unit ahead of the four colour section. Further cold foil, white and spot varnish options are part of the finishing options. “We will gain in productivity because we are printing and finishing on the same machine,” says managing director Steve Bates.
The white enables printing on films with LED UV curing to provide the opacity and consistency of surface needed for the subsequent application of toner. It is the first in the UK with this option.
The MRP team decided on the Mark Andy press after visiting an open house at its showroom in Macclesfield towards the end of last year. The press was ordered just before Christmas, delivered and up and running within days last week. Further training to understand the range of options and materials will follow.
Bates continues: “We have needed to offer digital printing. We will now be able to bring this back in house, while some of our existing work is better suited to digital printing, so it will increase capacity on the other two machines.”
Exactly which jobs will be directed to the digital line and which will be better suited to analogue production will be determined over the next few months. “Digital means we do not need to be making plates,” says Bates. Instead prepress will be more akin to the company’s litho and existing Konica Minolta Pro C5501 digital press. The operator of this machine will be trained on the new label press along with those used to printing labels.
MRP was one of the first commercial printers to shift balance and offer packaging alongside commercial print. Its packaging offering combines carton production with labels, and designing and printing different styles of carton.
The installation at MRP is just one of a number that Mark Andy has handled across Europe during the pandemic and lockdowns across the continent. As well as the Digital series of entry level presses, this has included a pair of inkjet presses for companies in Germany.
Mark Andy Digital label press at Labelexpo, running to a take up reel rather than into an inline finishing line at MRP. The company is the first with a flexo unit to print white ahead of the digital print section.