If the bulk of your expertise lies with flexo equipment, adding digital to your operation may seem like a daunting task. Have no fear! Digital hybrid is making waves in the print market and driving serious levels of profitability and success for current users.
What is Hybrid?
Hybrid comes in many forms. This ranges from semi, utilizing nearline or multi-company process integrations, to modular, which is a digital retrofit geared towards enhancing flexo presses.
The last and arguably most efficient classification of hybrid, however, is true. True hybrid is the premier offering from Mark Andy, providing single-source production platforms with web handling, digital print, converting, and finishing in one pass. As of early 2018, there were over 80 pieces of true hybrid equipment in production, ranging from approachable entry-level units to high output devices.
It’s no surprise that we’re seeing a large adoption of this process in the label making industry. Customers are reporting success across the board and below are five features that highlight the best of full-production true hybrid equipment.
ITW has experienced promising productivity from their Digital Series hybrid solution since installation in early 2017. Historically making use of offline finishing solutions for their digitally printed material, ITW is experiencing higher-speed production off the digital/flexo hybrid press. As a result, the converter is evaluating the value of incorporating inline die cutting to their machine. Luckily, the modularity and configurability of the Digital Series platform allows a painless upgrade path.
View the full feature here.
2. Arti Bau
Development is nothing new to Polish label powerhouse, Arti Bau. In 5 years, the company has grown from four to 25 employees and has moved into a larger plant. Well-earned growth sparked the need for an asset to support increased output requirements at true-production speeds. Flexo/inkjet hybrid, in the form of Mark Andy Digital Series, has proven to be a clear winner for Arti Bau by reducing two shifts work to one. The press has also opened a vast range of opportunities that were out of scope before, supporting market penetration initiatives within the sachet sector.
Read Arti Bau’s story here. Or better yet- watch the video.
3. Color Label
During an initial discovery phase, Color Label explored different equipment options: strictly digital devices with offline finishers, near-line production systems, as well as the inline Mark Andy Digital Series solution. Previously, the converter relied on a sheet-fed device to print digital labels, but recognized a substantial opportunity to bring production inline with a roll-fed machine. “The speed of digital hybrid along with inline finishing is a game changer for our business.” provided Kiske when hitting on the impact of the production-class machine.
4. Label Solutions
Having 10 years of experience in digital printing, Label Solutions is no stranger to the advantages of the technology. Coupling traditional flexo presses with digital hybrid, Label Solutions supports its market-leading position as a premier supplier of durable labels to the compressed gas cylinder industry. Their Digital Series hybrid press allows them to dominate the durables label segment with its’ UL 969 certification. The company has also tapped into the growing craft beer scene on the same press.
Access the complete story here. To see the press on Label Solutions shop floor, watch their testimonial video.
5. WS Packaging
Mark Andy Digital Series proved to be the perfect match for WS Packaging’s complex application needs. Recently, the machine has been loaded with prime label runs requiring sophisticated versioning and advanced VDP. For this type of work, the digital hybrid press runs nearly 50 jobs a day, with run lengths averaging 1,600 linear feet per SKU. Formerly produced on a flexographic press, the equivalent three shifts of flexo work are now completed in the single shift with Mark Andy Digital Series.
Learn more about WS Packaging’s experience with hybrid in an infographic.
Success is Standard
Early adopters of digital hybrid technology aren’t just winning. They are winning big. Their successes come in many forms, ranging from market expansion, employee development, and increased profits.
Across the board, users report an increase in throughput and heightened productivity, due in part to high speeds and minimal make-readies provided by full-production hybrid technology. Hybrid is here to stay and we are excited to see more and more companies take the plunge like the customers above.
Are you interested in adding digital hybrid to your workflow? Let us know in the comment section below.
About the Author
Chandler Davis is the Senior Marketing Specialist at Mark Andy based out of the company’s global headquarters in Saint Louis, MO. She is a University of Missouri graduate with a passion for social media, packaging design, and all things printing.