The Importance of a Partner: Digital Hybrid Press Selection

Posted by James "Nat" Davis on May 16, 2017 4:30:00 AM

The Importance of a Partner is a multi-part blog series written by Nat Davis, Digital Product Manager for Mark Andy. Below Nat examines the emergence of hybrid printing and how choosing a press provider can impact your business.


In NarrowWebTech 4-2015 (pg. 36) observations penned by John A. Bambery beautifully lay out the history of the label and narrow web market, questioning the introduction of 10 new hybrid models to the 2015 Labelexpo Europe audience. He finished this article with the following statement:

“Is there enough demand for this type of press, and if yes, will all ten models survive? As someone who has the advantage of thirty years’ experience of observing developments, I have seen many companies and systems come and go. Will the hybrid press endure? I doubt whether it will, but it will be an interesting debate subject that will be talked about for a few years to come. It will be exciting to see what will happen at Labelexpo Europe in 2017.”

0577_MarkAndy.jpgRalph Boer of Mark Andy leading demos of Digital Series, a full-production digital hybrid label press, at Labelexpo Europe 2015. 

As we ramp up in 2017, most industry players have come to the realization digital printing is here to stay. Digital is playing a critical role in the modern label and packaging landscape, and widespread acceptance and hype has led to an abundance of digital options within the market.

A Complete Workflow

Digital label presses were historically only available in roll-to-roll configurations, however, today full-production hybrids are the reality from many forward-thinking printing press providers. Converters are able to invest in technology that streamlines their entire workflow, enabling label, flexible packaging, and light carton to be digitally printed, converted, and finished in a single pass with a single technology.

Hybrid label technology is best known as a blend of two formerly-competitive printing processes, combining the benefits of digital with the flexibility of conventional flexo. These presses are not a one-size-fits-all solution, which adds complexity and confusion to the digital decision-making process.

The Right Path

As a business owner when you select a new technology, you buy into more than a piece of equipment, making it important to carefully select a partner to fuel your digital journey. Converters are investing in the complete workflow, philosophy and corporate relationship needed to maintain the health of their equipment and operation.

Rather than just sending a check to an OEM manufacturer or supplier, you should ensure you are entering into a dedicated partnership. A supplier simply sells and services a piece of machinery. A partner goes the extra mile to provide added value: the help and support you need to grow and manage your business. This is huge in the world of digital hybrid printing. At Mark Andy, we understand that a print business can crumble from excessive press and production downtime.

Leading the Charge

For over 70 years Mark Andy has been an industry leader in the label and packaging market building trust as a flexographic print partner for many converters due to our commitment offering high quality, innovative solutions that drive customer profitability.

In Labels and Narrow Web, April 2016 issue, Steve Katz did an excellent job of illustrating why hybrids, much like those offered by our company, make sense. In his opening statement he shares, “There are inherent advantages to both processes, with many compelling reasons for a label converter to adopt either flexo or digital.”

Throughout the article he compares strengths and weaknesses of each technology. He then concludes by stating that with regard to hybrid solutions, “While this topic merits an entire article of its own, it’s now possible to add both technologies in a single press purchase.”

When it comes to digital, Mark Andy truly takes it to the next level by adding both technologies (digital and flexo) in a single printing press.

Elevating Traditional Digital

Our team has developed hybrid digital printing solutions that go beyond the equipment and enable complete end-to-end workflows. We offer the broadest range of products to include digital printing, flexographic converting and decorating, inline finishing and competitively priced consumables on a pay-as-you-go model to meet the ever-changing label demands.

_MK34787.jpgConverters evaluate Digital One, a new hybrid label press offering, in Warsaw

More specifically our award-winning total production hybrid press, Digital Series, is built on the proven Performance Series platform making for a familiar foundation for adding digital capability to your pressroom. Additionally, Digital One, the entry-level digital label press is approachable thanks to it’s compact footprint and recognizable flexo components. Or consider Digital +3600, a fully integrated, self-contained digital retrofit available on any existing flexo press.

Don’t take my word for it. Watch Label and Narrow Web’s free on-demand webinar, Cracking the Digital Code, to learn how three different converters have integrated unique inline hybrid solutions to gain a competitive edge. You’ll hear first-hand how they’ve benefited from having the knowledge, expertise and support of a true partner.

Request a live label printing technology demo

About the Author

James “Nat” Davis is a Digital Product Manager at Mark Andy. In this role, Nat wears many hats to support our full production hybrid solutions. When he’s not enjoying the great outdoors or working on his wood carving art, he can be found in our demo room brainstorming ways to propel Digital Series into the future. You can also find Nat on LinkedIn.

Where does your business stand on hybrid technology? Do you agree it is the perfect complement to flexo? Let us know in the comments below.

Topics: Digital Hybrid

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