Benelux-based web converter Flexprinter has installed a Mark Andy P7E press at its production facility in Nazareth, Belgium, as part of the company’s focus on roll-to-roll production of labels, pouches, shrink sleeves and flow packs.

“The market for self-adhesive labels is highly competitive, with many converters working local to us,” said managing director Michael Thorrez. “So, I looked for opportunities to convert other work that could be produced cost-effectively in one pass on an inline press, and flexible packaging was the most obvious.”

The Performance Series 22-inch P7E press is a 9-colour machine fitted with full GEW LED-UV curing, a Vetaphone Corona treater, turn bars and Mark Andy’s laminating unit. This is said to be the first of these machines in the Benelux region.

According to Thorrez, who had flexo experience prior to his recent offset work, the benefits are the greater stability, significantly lower waste, and high quality that the process offers, with more vibrant colours produced more consistently throughout the run. Also, flexo overcomes the potential adhesion problems that can be encountered on difficult substrates when printing offset.

“There is a far lower energy requirement with flexo, especially with LED-UV, and we print wet-on-dry as opposed to wet-on-wet with end-of-press drying,” he explained. “This is essential with products like in-mould labelling (IML), where any residual water causes major problems with downstream label application. I just prefer the simplicity and reliability of the flexo process – it makes sense and gives a better return-on-investment.

“Digital inkjet technology interests me because of its capacity to personalise short runs, which I’m sure is growing in demand, but for the work I’m looking to produce it is unproven, and an established process like flexo was a better business proposition.”

In addition, print samples had shown that the heavier weight of ink used in the digital process leads to cracking on certain substrates, without a low migration option and with a restricted colour gamut.

“Typically, we are looking at jobs of 2,000 to 100,000 linear metres and can offer UV or solventless lamination at a very attractive price,” said Thorrez. “This is useful for IML jobs, which have to be dishwasher-proof and scratch-resistant, and we’re looking to run these off at around 220m a minute.”

More information from Flexprinter, Venecoweg 9, 9810 Nazareth, Belgium. Tel: 32 9385 5019. Email: [email protected]. Web: flexprinter.be

Mark Andy, 18081 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield, Missouri 63005, USA. Tel: 1 636 532 4433. Web: markandy.com