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Wiking Graf Installs State-of-the-Art Mark Andy Performance Press

Left to right: Przemyslaw Polkowski and Tom Cavalco of Mark Andy with husband and wife owners of Wiking Graf, Marek and Anna Jakubowski

Wiking Graf is the latest Polish label converter to install a Mark Andy Performance Series press. The family owned business, based in Lodz in central Poland, is an established Mark Andy user, with the new press joining an LP3000 and an XP5000 press, along with a variety of other flexo and digital print capability, and a full suite of finishing technology.

The servo driven Mark Andy P5 has a 430mm web width, and is a high specification press, with 10 UV-flexo print units, screen (for Braille), cold foil and delam/relam capability, as well as two peel-off stations that can handle up to four layers. Capable of handling substrates from 12-micron PET up to 450gsm board, Wiking says it is intending to dedicate the press to peel-off and added value labels.


According to company owner, Marek Jakubowski: “The new Mark Andy is five times more productive than its predecessors, which were state-of-the-art in their day, and just shows how far flexo technology has come with the Performance Series. This equates to more jobs per shift, which in today’s short run market is vital.” Today, 80% of Wiking Graf’s output is for the pharmaceutical sector, with cosmetics coming second, but a long way behind.


The changes in EU legislation for labelling of pharma packaging is testing the ingenuity of graphic designers who have to accommodate more information in their artwork, and this, in turn, is causing converters to think very carefully about the specification of any new press. “We have chosen to specialise in this sector of the market and now have a level of expertise and technology that few can match,” said Jakubowski, adding that the company is fully self-sufficient pre-press, including rotary screen production with any material. Only flexible dies are still outsourced.


Although an existing Mark Andy user, Jakubowski said the choice of a Performance Series was by no means a foregone conclusion. “Technology advances so fast these days that one needs to keep abreast of who is doing what. In the end, two things clinched the deal for the Mark Andy – the ease and speed with which it can be made-ready, which makes it the most productive – and, its small footprint. The P5’s competitors would simply not have fitted if built to the specification we needed.” He also confirmed the superior after sales service offered by Mark Andy in Poland, which is expected to expand even further.


This point was taken up by Tom Cavalco, Mark Andy’s European Sales Director, who commented: “Like most narrow web converters, Wiking’s production floor is very busy, so space is at a premium. The design of the entire Performance Series supports this, and when added to its modular construction, making additional units easy to install, it means there is a Performance Series press for every label printer.”


Always keen to pioneer new technology that increases quality, Wiking Graf is proud of what it has achieved in the way of international accreditation. This includes TUV Nord and EN/ISO 9001-2008 for self-adhesive, peel and read, and booklet production, as well as a Quality Award from the Polish Politkya Jakosci, while CMP certification is ‘work in progress’ according to Jakubowski.


“It’s customer pressure that is driving new applications and styles of printed packaging, and this has to be reflected by the technology that manufacturers are developing. This is why we continue to invest and engage in strategic cooperative partnerships, like the one we have established with quality converter, August Faller, which also specialises in pharma work,” he explained.


Working alongside the Mark Andy presses is a variety of inspection rewind technology for which Jakubowski is full of praise. This includes a Mark Andy VSR fitted with AVT 100% inspection, a Rotoflex VSI 330 with E+L 100% inspection, and, installed at the same time as the latest Performance Series press, a Rotoflex VSI 440, also with AVT 100% inspection. He knows that fast and accurate finishing is key to maximising productivity on his high-speed presses


Elsewhere, in the plant, Wiking Graf has a modern and well equipped offset department that includes a new Heidelberg SM74P press for two-colour or 1/1 printing, an MBO and two GUK folding machines, and two Schneider Senator 115 guillotines, all installed in the past five years. Esko has largely equipped the company’s pre-press department, and the company also has an HP-Indigo digital line.


With a factory unit that is bursting at the seams, the company is looking to move to a new 6000 square metre site in the near future, which will provide space for another P5 press, according to Jakubowski. Currently employing 115 staff, Wiking Graf will see its 2014 turnover hit the €5m target it had set itself. And it looks likely to increase its annual growth rate of 10%.

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