Gert Talen (the GT in the company name) began life in the graphic arts industry as a flexo printer back in 1988. Through various endeavours in the intervening years, he has built a reputation for being a great solver of print problems and is often referred to as ‘Gert the Label’. Today, with son Luke and daughter Anna, he owns and manages GT Etiketten & Labels based at Schoonebeek on the Dutch/German border, which affords him easy access to the packaging markets of western Europe.
The company, which opened just prior to the Covid pandemic in 2020, is based in an 1800sqm factory unit that was fully refurbished prior to the first label being produced in September of that year. With a staff of 15, company sales will exceed €6.2m in 2023 and is showing a healthy growth rate of 20% year on year, working a flexi-shift pattern five days a week. Beginning life with two used presses, which Gert subsequently sold for a profit, production really got into gear with the installation of the first Mark Andy press in 2022.
That Mark Andy is an Evolution Series E3, 8-colour flexo line with 430mm (17”) web width. It was followed by two Mark Andy Evolution Series E5 presses, installed in August 2023. Both are 8-colour with 430mm web width and all three have GEW LED/UV capability and are fitted with ABG Vectra turret rewinders. Additional features include Teknek web cleaning and Vetaphone corona treater, delam/relam, turn bars, cold foil, automatic and pre-register capability, die cutting, a touchscreen interface for BST Powerscope vision system, and a servo driven cantilevered lower rewind with 40” (1016mm) capacity and taper tension.
Speaking for Mark Andy, Maarten van Bergeijk of local agent Packtion commented: “These are highly capable production tools with a wide substrate range and 230 m/min (750 ft/min) running speed. They will offer GT Etiketten the scope to develop the business in a variety of ways with innovative products for new market sectors if they choose. The company’s production floor is now an excellent showcase for Mark Andy flexo technology in the Benelux region, and we are grateful to the management team for this valued cooperation.”
Around 80% of work at GT is produced for the food sector with logistics and pharmaceuticals making up the balance. Currently, the company is printing predominantly on top-coated paper substrates, but Mr Talen sees a swing towards filmic with PP and PE for their recyclability properties. “We are currently trialling water-wash adhesives that will save around 80% of recycling costs over the way the labels are currently produced,” he explained. This is good for presentation as more of the product can be seen through the packaging and is especially appreciated by the meat and bakery sectors.
Flexo printed labels can be cold foiled, laminated or varnished with a choice of matt, gloss, or UV finish, with a peel/reseal facility to double the image area. All are produced to BRC standards and supplied with migration reports and data sheets compliant with packaging for the food industry. In addition to printed labels, GT also supplies blank labels on rolls or sheets using various FSC papers and plastic substrates, available with a selection of adhesives from removable to permanent acrylic, permanent hotmelt, and permanent frozen glue.
To add to the company’s reputation for quality work, one of its labels was recently judged best in class by EFTA-Benelux. A four-colour flexo label cured by LED/UV and printed on a coated stock for ‘Denner Zartbitter Creme’ chocolate won both the Narrow Web and Food Packaging categories at the Awards Ceremony held recently in Antwerp. With a machine-park full of the latest narrow web flexo technology from Mark Andy, the company’s success looks set to continue in 2024 and beyond.
Summing up for Mark Andy, Sales Manager Timo Donati added: “The Benelux region is an important and fast-growing market for Mark Andy where we have enjoyed great success with our flexo and hybrid presses in recent years. In fact we have the most installed LED/UV label presses there, which is a tribute to our sales and support personnel as well as the capability of the technology to earn money for its users. GT Etiketten is a great example of that and we prize them highly as a customer.”