You may have heard, champagne glasses were raised many times as MPS celebrated a new record of show sales at this year’s Labelexpo Americas!
Demonstrated were two of our future-ready presses for the narrow web industry, and both drew crowds on stand. But the hottest ticket by far in Chicago this year was hybrid (flexo/inkjet) presses.
Everyone at the show was clearly looking at digital label printing.
Printers are planning to invest in digital either now or in the future. But hybrid printing, that combines both digital and flexo printing, is the better path to take.
Our EF SYMJET hybrid solution presented at Labelexpo combines our EF flexo platform with an integrated Domino N610i inkjet engine, allowing converters to combine flexo and digital printing as well as converting — all in one pass.
And this is what drew interest from show visitors:
One press. One operator.
You see, the beauty of the EF SYMJET is that converting can take place inline, and there is no need for separate workflows. You can choose flexo, digital or a combination of the two to print labels, with savings in needing only one operator and one machine investment.
Thinking outside the box
The 13-color press we had on show (6-color flexo, 7-color inkjet) featured a unique operator-controlled demonstration by Hans Poortinga who simultaneously ran while presenting features of the press. Why? To show how simple the press is to operate!
With this operator perspective, we encourage printers to ‘think outside the box’ and imagine the powerful potential hybrid printing can bring to their business in providing different product to different segments.
During the show, we gave away label samples printed live on the EF SYMJET that combined flexo and digital together. Stand visitors could see how digital can look more like flexo, especially in matching colors with 100% color gamut.
The embellishment and high-quality print that flexo brings to hybrid printing brings flexibility. We’re seeing that once printers decide for hybrid, they tend to add flexo stations, which is easy to do with the EF SYMJET’s modular design. In fact, the printer that purchased the EF SYMJET demonstrated at Labelexpo added two more flexo color stations!
North American debut of Automation Arena
In addition to excitement for hybrid printing, the Automation Arena also packed seats.
Thirteen hardware, software and materials suppliers presented two automated press lines for digital (label) and conventional (shrink sleeve) label production, from job creation through to pre-press, printing, finishing and invoicing.
During the Automation Arena, MPS demonstrated the EF-APC advanced machine with 100% print automation, for both sleeves as well as anilox positioning along with a valuable added-feature of our ‘talk to me’ connectivity technology, for Industry 4.0 implementation.
Change in the industry
There is a big change happening in the label industry, especially with the emerging adaptation of a hybrid solution and not just investing in a single print technology. smaller printers, too, see the value with investing long-term in a hybrid solution, to grow alongside the demand for more complex labels.
Shrink sleeve printing is also growing in demand, especially with craft beer to promote their speciality brews. View our hybrid press printing shrink sleeves at a speed of 70 m/min (from a job change from a self-adhesive labels) here!
That’s a wrap!
In an ideal location, our stand was a full house with six live hybrid demos per day — and many printers commented that it was the best print coming off a hybrid press on show.
We left Chicago with five orders in hand – four hybrid EF SYMJET presses and a sale of our flagship EF multi-substrate flexo press. Plus a lot of show leads.
Altogether, it was a fantastic show for MPS Systems North America! A big thank you to everyone involved – our staff, partners, and visitors who took time to stop by.
Curious if hybrid printing is the answer for your company? Download the free whitepaper here.
Marjolein Ekkelboom worked at MPS as Global Marketing Manager