December 5, 2023 | Lena Chmielewska

Innovative cosmetic tube manufacturing by 3 Druk Group – Mark Andy Evolution Series E5 is key to the project_VIDEO

The first manufacturing line, based on QFLex technology and devoted to cosmetic tubes, has been recently started up at Qtube – a new brand belonging to 3 Druk Group, the Polish packaging producer based in Cracow.  A Mark Andy Evolution Series E5 flexo press is one of the most important elements of this innovative project, and according to Qtubes’ management, QFlex technology is its response to the changing needs of its customers and enables short- to mid-run production of cosmetic tubes. These tubes offer a high level of elasticity and high quality of decoration. They can be applied partially or entirely with a metallic layer as well as covered with QProtect – a gloss or matt antibacterial varnish. The complete process is sustainable and eco-friendly, according to 3 Druk Group’s customers’ expectations.

Please watch the movie about the Qtubes’ project

QFlex – the Globally Innovative Technology
Qtubes is a new product for leading cosmetic brands in Poland.  It offers cosmetic packaging (tubes) manufactured with globally innovative technology – QFlex, which combines the best elements of the two dominant tube production technologies: extruded and laminated.  “As a result, we produce perfectly printed, fully extruded elastic cosmetic tubes that enhance and differentiate a branded product on a shop shelf,” – says Dariusz Kosinski, Managing Director of Qtubes.  “Moreover, we’re doing our best to make our production process as sustainable as possible. Based on the 3R philosophy (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), we’re focusing on waste reduction and assets upcycling.  An important difference in our activities is that the tubes are covered by QProtect – a patented anti-bacteria layer. It prevents the growth of bacteria and therefore prevents infection.  This layer has biocidal properties and is an integral part of a varnish layer.  It all results in us being able to offer innovative tubes in response to the current needs of market and our customers.  We can also offer shorter delivery times of compared with other companies who use traditional methods of tube printing. We are now able to produce affordable short- and mid-runs, according to current market needs and expectations.”

Qtubes are offered in three different diameters: 35, 40 and 50 mm. They can be manufactured with an EVOH barrier that is a protective and safety layer against oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and helium.  It also reduces the amount of preservatives and extends the product’s shelf life, while maintaining its fragrance, color, and freshness.  Qtubes can be recycled according to the EU regulations making them more eco-friendly and safer for the environment, which also meets customers’ and consumers’ expectations.  The production process combines tube-formed extruded polyethylene with pre-printed substrate.  The product’s specifications are configured according to customers’ needs and expectations.  According to Dariusz Kosinski: ,“QFlex technology guarantees high quality and precise flexo printing, while using a flat substrate.  The Mark Andy press has 11 flexo print units and a cold stamping module, with full visual control and 360° printing.  “QFlex technology reduces production costs because we can use substrates 6 times thinner than standard, which minimizes waste and opens new opportunities for our customers” – says Dariusz Kosinski.

Mark Andy Evolution Series E5 –  an important part of the Qtubes project
Dariusz Kosinski says the Mark Andy Evolution Series E5 flexo press is an important part of this innovative manufacturing line.  “When we started the project, our aim was to increase the competitiveness of our company.  Thanks to Qtubes, we are now able to deal with customers from the cosmetics industry in more complex way.  The project was implemented with EU funds, so the printing press was chosen on a closed-bid basis.  We needed a press that offered the highest standards and print quality to streamline our production process.  The Mark Andy Evolution Series E5 proved to offer the most in the bidding process, and from the start we were very impressed with Mark Andy’s approach: its comprehensive support, advice, and quick response to all the questions and concerns we had.  Last, but not least, Mark Andy’s European HQ, including a professional service team, is located in Warsaw, which means a lot to us.   The E5 press has been in commercial production for a more than a year now and is a real game-changer.  It enables us to offer completely new products to Polish companies and others from around Europe, which have previously only known the traditional and simpler tube manufacturing method.  The Mark Andy press also offers the highest print quality, which distinguishes us on the market and gives us the huge competitive edge.”

The Qtubes brand, as with the entire 3D Group, is focused on sustainable and eco-friendly activities in terms of manufacturing processes. “On a daily basis we try to reduce as much waste as possible,” – Dariusz Kosinski states.  Because we can decorate laminates of 60-microns, we have reduced the volume of waste six-fold.  We have also reduced energy and manage consumables and substrates in a sustainable way with the inline manufacturing process, and deliver them for recycling, which reduces waste considerably.  We’re able to manufacture tubes consisting of 83% PCR/PIR (Post Customer Recycling / Post Industrial Recycling) materials.  Basing this on circular economy principles, we segregate and deliver plastics for recycling – at this stage the small amount of waste does not allow us to run the recycling process in house.  Qtubes also manufactures electricity from solar energy.  We use heat pumps and a recuperation system for heat recovery – we gather and use waste water and heat the entire factory with heat generated during the production process.  We use natural light and eco-friendly transport – ironically, the company is also surrounded by flower meadows, which are a perfect environment for the bees that live in our own hives.  It all makes Qtubes a very modern and innovative plant, operating according to sustainable philosophy and offering tubes representing the highest global standards.” – Dariusz Kosinski concludes.

Speaking for Mark Andy, European Sales Manager, Lukasz Chruslinski commented: “We’re extremely happy to be involved with such an innovative technology project.  It confirms that Mark Andy’s presses perfectly suit the requirements and expectations of companies focused on niche products, with the tubes offered by Qtubes exceeding market standards and diversity.  In addition, Mark Andy products enable us to meet the needs of companies working in different markets.  Innovative print techniques, implemented in our presses, fit globally innovative technologies and projects, and Qtubes is the perfect example here.  We hope that its activities will become an inspiration for other companies operating in niche markets and offering a special selection of products, or those considering starting such a business.  Qtubes has opened completely new opportunities in the industry and Mark Andy has a variety of technology to offer many different companies – both win out!”