Mark Andy/Comco Flexo Feast Feeds Minds of Converting Industry

CHICAGO, IL, USA—With the holiday feasts behind us, many of us start out the new year on a diet. Very few probably want to remember the turkey, the pies, the candies, the cookies—or at least we'd like our waistlines to forget. But the recent Mark Andy/Comco Flexo Feast is one feast a record-breaking number of attendees definitely will want to remember. From maximizing technical and technological developments to tips on how to expand service offerings, the Mark Andy/Comco two-day educational seminar provided converters and industry professionals a veritable feast of information and ideas for their operations.

The Trade without the Show
Held November 7 and 8 near Cincinnati last year, the Flexo Feast is part of Mark Andy's yearly line-up of industry events. Like the many trade shows it and many other suppliers participate in, the Flexo Feast facilitates a meeting of the industry minds, but, says Wes Harrrington (Mark Andy's director of packaging equipment sales) the seminar format provides a more initimate setting for discussions and learning.

"You could call it a mini trade show, but I guess it would be a mini focused trade show," Harrington explains. "We find this a better way to spend our customers’ money. We [certainly] get leads at CMM, at Labelexpo, and at Graphics of the Americas—they're different markets and different events—but the well is only so deep. This event has been the greatest return for our customers, for our co-suppliers, and, of course, for ourselves. We have about 20 to 25 co-suppliers here that have helped us put together the seminar with equipment, with consumables, with plates, or with separations—so attendees can get information on how things were produced, but it also gives them a relaxed environment to come in a take a look at the new technology without the throngs of people."

Mark Andy/Comco's Flexo Feast was held at the company's Advanced Technology and Training Center in Milford, OH, and featured several live, real-time press demos.

More Market Appeal
Mark Andy's educational seminar series provides valuable information for all types of flexo converters, says Harrington. "This event appeals to all three markets—folding carton, flexible packaging, and narrow web (tag and label and p-s applications). Converters can come and see what we’re accomplishing with our MSP press, which is aptly named the 'Multiple Substrate Press.' For example, the first day of the seminar, we ran two carton jobs and switched over live to a film job right in front of everybody, on the same press. The second day, we ran a carton job and switched over to two different film-ink structures."

This method, says Harrington, could provide a solution for the increasingly common marketing tactic of packaging the same product in various package types "If, for instance, that carton packaging method goes into a pouch structure, the converter doesn’t have to lose it to a flexible packager; he can keep it in-house. Or if a tag-and-label guy wants to print pressure-sensitive labels off the press and migrate into unsupported film for roll label or shrink PVC, the MSP press would enable him to do that."

Though presentations and discussions provided part of the education at the seminar, Harrington notes most of the event is hands-on, live press demonstrations. "Also OEM equipment is run on line with our presses as well as supporting equipment," he adds. "For example, if a pressure-sensitive label person wants to learn about shrink PVC, we have a speaker on the topic; we have all the co-suppliers there from inks to presses; and then we have the roll-label applicating machines."

Pilgrim Punch
A sample of one of the jobs produced at the two-day Flexo Feast. Each product produced cleverly listed the supplier contribution to the project in what is usually the "Nutrition Information box" that's mandated for food packaging.

A Unified Effort
Like the legacy of pilgrims and the Indians that made the US's Thanksgiving feast what it is today, the Flexo Feast also combines resources to make it a worthwhile meal. Sales/marketing executive Rick Sanders of Energy Sciences, Inc. (Wilmington, MA) says the Flexo Feast enabled his company to provide seminar attendees with some education in energy curing. "Specifically, we discussed how EB technology fits one onto the mid- to narrow web press industry for curing coatings and laminating adhesives on a flexo line. We also talked about the advantages EB in coatings: high gloss, low odor, no odor, good for food packaging (ideal for food packaging, actually), ideal for the environment, and very price competitive from both the capital and an operational cost standpoint."

Sanders says Energy Sciences also provided information on the on the lamination side of things as well as the all important issue of return-on-investment (ROI). "There are definite benefits for the industry with instant-cured laminating adhesives. For example, [when using this technology], a converter actually can print, laminate, and ship all in the same day," Sanders reports. "We also looked at the associated costs and broke out the ROI-type of information for the attendees: 'Here’s where it makes sense from a financial perspective. Here’s where it makes sense from a product perspective. Here’s what makes sense from your customer’s perspective.'"

According to Harrington, other Flexo Feast co-sponsors included Energy Sciences as well as these other suppliers/groups: AET Films, Akzo Nobel, Arcar, Atlas, Cincinnait Precision Plate, DuPont, Gannicott, Harper Corporation, High Definition Flexo Consortium (HDFC), IDC, Martin Automatic, Mobil, Potlach, Praxair, Precision Air Convey, Rotometrics, SICPA, Stork Screens America, Sun Chemical, 3MR, and UT Technology Inc.

For more information about Mark Andy/Comco and its products, visit

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