Essentra Packaging, based in Lublin (Poland), is part of the international Essentra Group. Recently, it has purchased its first hybrid printing press. After comprehensive market research, Essentra Packaging chose a Digital Series HD manufactured by Mark Andy. Piotr Skalecki, Plant Manager at Essentra Packaging underlined several positive aspects of his company’s co-operation with the American manufacturer: the advanced technology of the press package, smooth implementation of the press and staff training; and comprehensive advisory and experience from the vendor. He also mentioned that the benefits of the new machine have been obvious from the first day of operation. Essentra has reduced the time for sample printing and material usage for versioned work by up to 80%. It has also significantly reduced processing waste and with job proofing more streamlined, has made production more cost effective. Learn more on the video interview
Essentra Packaging located in Lublin, specializes in complex work for leading international brands, mainly from the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, for which it supplies printed carton packaging using sheet fed offset presses, and labels. Essentra Packaging, which includes the Lublin site, offers three kinds of products: carton packaging; labels; and leaflets. Every year Essentra Packaging manufactures approximately 270 million items of carton packaging and 1.5 billion of self-adhesive labels.
The company prides itself on being very customer-oriented with a collaborative approach and supports its customers at every stage of a project, from design, focusing on production optimisation and eco-friendliness, through manufacturing and finishing, to final delivery. Piotr Skalecki stated that a new hybrid press from Mark Andy fits all these aspects perfectly.
Piotr Skałecki from Essentra Packaging (on the right side) is explaining
the beauty segment needs to Łukasz Chruśliński from Mark Andy
Digital Series HD: ‘To serve and support our customers better’
Mr Skalecki explained how the new, high resolution hybrid Digital Series HD press has enhanced Essentra’s label production capacity: “Job runs are still decreasing but customers are constantly asking for more complex and difficult labels, and in different versions. So, we needed a press that would meet their needs and expectations. Digital Series HD combines the best from digital and flexo technologies in one complementary and highly efficient production line, so it seemed an ideal solution for our current needs. When choosing the new press, we focused on key aspects: the technical capabilities of the machine; and its stability and configuration options that would fit the company’s requirements. We also researched Mark Andy’s capabilities in terms of press installation and after-sales service, with special attention on engineering responsibility, where both digital and flexo elements are supplied by the same manufacturer.”
After detailed technical research and comprehensive testing of different presses, Essentra decided that the Mark Andy fitted the criteria best of all. “In our opinion the company and its equipment will be able to support us in producing jobs for cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and healthcare industries. All these markets, especially cosmetics, are constantly increasing their demand for quality in the supply chain. Customers expect much shorter delivery times, new designs for packaging and labels as well as redesigns and versioning of older ones,
Increasing numbers of different versions of the same label for a cream or shampoo forces the beauty market customers to respond quickly and implement new designs or adapt existing ones. They also need more technically complex and detailed labels. Another factor is growing pressure on improving quality parameters – this mainly relates to repeatability on different job batches. It all impacts on the choice of the most appropriate technology for a particular job. Considering all these market challenges, the installation of a high-quality printing press became a necessity for us. It was also a huge change for Essentra, but has opened completely new opportunities for our company,” he added.
The unique configuration on Mark Andy Digital Series HD at Essentra Packaging
Hybrid technology: the benefits of implementation
Piotr Skalecki: “The Digital Series HD offers very good parameters for digital printing in terms of resolution and colour gamut. The configuration of print heads results in an optimum balance between 1200 dpi resolution, press stability, and life expectancy of the components. We also appreciate the spectacular print consistency, which distinguishes Mark Andy from other manufacturers because they developed both flexo and inkjet modules. This also applies to the software that drives the press. Understanding the architecture of the entire technology, the capability of exploiting the full potential of the software, and implementing the improvements suggested by customers makes Mark Andy the leader among global manufacturers of hybrid solutions in my opinion.”
The new Digital Series HD has strengthened the digital production capacity of the entire Essentra Group, supporting its business units in the UK, the USA, Spain, and Ireland. “First of all, we can offer our beauty market customers difficult and highly advanced labels, as well as short run jobs. These orders often need a combination of flexo and digital print techniques. With the Mark Andy we can significantly shorten delivery times on all jobs because of the faster approval process, and by moving some orders from flexo to digital,” he explained.
According to Piotr Skalecki, hybrid technology is the perfect answer to the challenges of the cosmetics industry in terms of customer approval of new label designs. “We see a kind of revolution in this area, partly because of the pandemic, but most of all, because of a greater emphasis on production costs. In the pre-Covid era our customers approved new designs personally by visiting our plant, but when the pandemic started, an increasing number were realised remotely. Our customers expect various options with any product, and we need to get quick responses as to which one they prefer.”
Mark Andy says its hybrid press is ideal for this. Processing is very quick with significantly reduced prepress costs. With flexo, prepress is a major cost, making it unprofitable on short run work. With a hybrid, prepress costs are significantly reduced. Skalecki added: “We really like the ease with which any modifications on the press can be implemented. After installing it, we were immediately able to combine proven and well-known flexo with the most modern digital technology, allowing us to enhance Essentra’s market opportunities and offer greater flexibility to our customers. This allows us to meet their sophisticated expectations much more easily.”
The Digital Series HD is the first Mark Andy purchased by Essentra Packaging. “The opportunities offered by a hybrid significantly increases the diversity, precision, and speed of the production process. First, it has streamlined our workflow and consumables management, and made us more flexible,” said Piotr Skalecki.
Benefits of implementation and a ‘real life’ example
Digital Series HD combines hybrid construction, inline converting and high-resolution digital printing with flexibility and high efficiency. “All these factors enable us to accept jobs from current and new customers that were not profitable with flexo. The hybrid also offers a 50% waste reduction on short- and mid-length jobs, as well as measurable savings at the design approval stage. We can use one web of material to prepare several versions of a particular label, reducing usage by 75-80%. Digital Series HD also needs only half the power required by a typical flexo press and generates minimal ink waste. This is very important for us and our customers and is in line with our sustainability targets.”
Piotr Skalecki quotes an example taken from Essentra’s daily production. “Previously, it took 4 – 5 business days to prepare five label designs for a customer. Currently we need only one day for the same task, and the customer also receives more designs to choose from and approve. The entire process has become much faster, it’s reduced material usage, and enhanced our opportunities, bringing added value to the business relationships with our customers.”
‘A perfect installation’ from Mark Andy
Piotr Skalecki underlines one more aspect concerning the Digital Series HD installation. “We were very impressed by the work Mark Andy did during the commissioning process onsite. When we compared it with other manufacturers’ approach, it was way smoother. Mark Andy’s involvement and help at every stage built our trust in the company and its employees. We now call their implementation process ‘the perfect one!” The service and after-sales care offered by Mark Andy were one of the most important factors when we chose the new press, along with the obvious technological advantages of the equipment. We are very happy with the entire level of co-operation.”
Speaking for Mark Andy, European Sales Manager Lukasz Chruslinski commented: “It’s a great pleasure to hear such complimentary comments from a customer, mentioning our technical and service support. Our business philosophy is that the sales contract is just the beginning of the entire process, in which we try to get as close to our customers as possible, helping them to open the new and exciting opportunities offered by Mark Andy presses.”