Performance Series: All new from Mark Andy

By Jack Kenny | July 7, 2009

After inspecting and witnessing the new Mark Andy Performance Series press in action at the company's St. Louis plant, the customer was asked if he wanted to own one. "No," the converter answered. "I want to own two."

This month Mark Andy announces the creation of a narrow web press that it describes as new from the ground up, unlike anything the company has produced before. It is called the Performance Series, and is available in a wide variety of servo and non-servo configurations to meet the specific needs of each converter.

"The Performance Series demonstrates a balance between capability, speed and thoroughness of execution," says Greg Palm, vice president of sales and marketing. "This is about how everything works together. This press is more capable than any press you will see on the market."

Mark Andy's new Performance press has exceptionally accessible cylinders at each station, and simple controls.
The Performance Series makes its public debut in September at Labelexpo Europe in Brussels.
The machine is the result of listening to converters the world over, says Palm, and paying attention to their needs. "We believe in the VOC," he says – the Voice of the Customer. From there, the project underwent months and years of internal engineering and development under the guidance of Jeff Feltz, director of product management.

Mark Andy, says Feltz, determined that converters need advanced print quality management to meet customer demands, more capability to handle shorter run lengths and diversify, the ability to save on material costs, sustainability, consistent press operator output,and the capability to handle swings in the economy.

The press manufacturer then came up with nine design objectives to address those needs, incorporating them into the Performance Series. Here are the company's claims:

- Lower Material Waste – Waste reduction potential of 50 percent or greater; consistent press setup in one press length or less; no material waste to set impression following repeat changes; an intelligent auto registration system.

- Improved Print Quality – A robust print head design; "phenomenal" registration performance; superior dot quality, consistent quality output between operators and shifts.

- Faster Changeovers – Reduction in time of 50 percent or greater; complete station setup in under one minute; no inking adjustments required – load and lock; change repeat size without adjustment; impression setting change within seconds with substrate change.

- Simple To Operate – Less operator intervention; minimal adjustments; repeatable settings and reference points; sleek and simple controls.

- Increased and Adaptable Capability – Wide and flexible process range; high efficiency dryers; full film capability; cassette options; expandable for chill applications; dual web path standard; flexible sub-frame design; robust rail system.

- Higher Throughput – Better dryer performance for higher speeds; significant reduction in make-ready time; consistent results between operators – reduced variability; configured for a wide variety of applications – can perform the work of many specialized presses.

- Wide Open Access – Complete open access to the print head – no intrusive guarding; easy access to all components; open access for webbing.

- Robust UV Configurations – Optimized for UV; shortest UV web paths on the market; low volume ink consumption – less than six ounces to print on a 17" wide press; driven chill roll; simple combination web paths for hot air/UV/UV chill.

- Environmentally Friendly – Lower material waste = less material consumption; lower material waste = less material in landfills; low capacity ink required to print = less ink recovery waste.

The Performance press has a low profile and open access to the subframe.
In an ROI assessment of a typical converter,Mark Andy determined that the Performance Series would provide a 10-point improvement in direct profit margin, and in this particular example, the converter would realize an additional margin benefit of $240,000 per year. The company says that the Performance Series provides converters the opportunity to replace multiple legacy presses, providing the ability to make a significant impact on overhead and cost structure of their business. The company did not make public its pricing structure for the models, but says that the highest-end model, the P7, is priced respectively lower than the competition.

The press is handsome and easy to operate. Ink reservoirs, anilox rolls, doctor blades, and plate cylinders are all quite accessible. Plate cylinder operation, especially, is a work of simplicity: It is placed in the top of the open print station and locked in place with one touch of a button. Impression no longer needs to be set with multiple revolutions of the screws; the Performance Series requires no more than one turn of the impression knobs.

"It is extremely difficult to design simply," says Paul Brauss, president of Mark Andy. "Jeff and Greg really drove the product design needs based on the customer, and the market homework is extraordinary. This press makes the statement that we are reassessing the market segments as opposed to simply running in the foot race toward technology."

No doubt the crowds will gather in Brussels. Everyone loves a performance.