Color Label, subsidiary of Mulligan Printing, investigated web-driven digital label technology for three years prior to the Digital Series acquisition. Digital Series is a full-production hybrid press from Mark Andy, which recently won the 2017 FTA Technical Innovation Award. The flagship digital solution combines CMYK plus white digital print with inline converting and finishing in a single pass. In contrast to the OEM’s entry-level Digital One platform, the unit is a commercial approach to digital label production with at-quality speeds of 240 fpm.
During an initial discovery phase, Color Label explored different equipment options: strictly digital devices with offline finishers, near-line production systems, as well as the inline Mark Andy Digital Series solution. Previously, the converter relied on a sheet-fed device to print digital labels but eventually recognized a substantial opportunity to bring production inline with a roll-fed machine. Jerry Kiske, president of Color Label, said, “Going inline really was a no-brainer for the bulk of applications we are running and ultimately sold us on the machine.”
True production speed of the Digital Series was also a key decision point for leadership at Color Label. “The speed of the digital hybrid is a game changer for our business,” said Kiske. Color Label maintains a commitment to customer service, and efficiency of the Mark Andy press enables rapid turnaround for clients in the pet care, food and beverage, industrial, and governmental market segments.
Beyond the capability of the technology, what pushed Color Label to continue its relationship with Mark Andy into the realm of digital label printing was the true degree of partnership. The narrow-web press manufacturer provided Color Label with sales tools and rallied to give support for the converter above conventional means, proving the longevity of post-sale product support with the OEM. “Mark Andy didn’t just sell us equipment and walk away. They have provided us with key training for our sales team, marketing support, and application expertise to help us succeed with this press,” said Kiske.
Looking to the future, Color Label anticipates gaining market share in the craft beer scene, as well as expanding their portfolio of durable label work with the UL 969 Certification of the hybrid’s inkset. Additionally, production teams are exploring new applications such as reverse printing in a single pass with the new press.
Color Label promotes a corporate motto of “Flexibility Redefined” and the Digital Series press is designed to do just that–providing flexibility to offer high decoration, quicker turnaround, VDP and elements of flexography in a single pass. Multiple print processes, consisting of litho, flexo, digital and now digital hybrid make Color Label a full-complement printer.