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Specialist Manufacturer CUPSZ Chooses Mark Andy Evolution Series E5 for Water Based Flexo

The brothers Daan and Michiel Willemsz, who founded CUPSZ, decided to make their love of coffee cups their profession in 2014. Since then, the company's headquarters in Tillburg have designed and manufactured countless coffee cups for clients in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France. Recently, as part of the business's effort to innovate, CUPSZ expanded its selection of disposable cardboard containers by introducing BOWLSZ.

Having initially outsourced the production of print, die cutting and forming, the brothers realised the need for independence by 2016 and set out on ambitious plan that included securing a 2000 square meter unit on the same industrial park in Tillburg in 2019. It was ten times the size we needed for our staff of six, and no sooner had we moved in than the pandemic hit, and the business world looked likely to collapse, and take us with it!

However, as 2020 went on, demand started to increase. With a business strategy based on producing high quality short to medium runs quickly, CUPSZ soon found itself back in demand. Historically, this market was used to receiving cups from Asia after five or six weeks. As of right now, CUPSZ is the only manufacturer in Europe able to deliver in two or three days, and in an emergency in less time.

According to the customer, the business would always be constrained by digital printing's relatively slow web speed. Digital printing made sense for runs of up to 25,000 cups, but for larger orders, problems arose, and the cost became a bigger concern. Although Covid initially reduced demand, it also altered attitudes toward hygiene, leading people to prefer single-use paper cups over china and ceramic cups that required washing in between uses. Sales had returned to 2019 levels by the end of 2020, albeit with lower margins, but the business had endured and was in a strong position to expand. The business enjoyed record-breaking months throughout 2021, but the brothers were aware that unless they could increase production rates, trouble lay ahead.

The only narrow web flexo technology they had used was UV inks and lacquers, and CUPSZ was eager to switch to water-based technology in order to maintain a competitive edge in the market and adhere to the constantly evolving regulations for food packaging. The issue was that there was little commercial experience using narrow web presses in Europe, but American manufacturer Mark Andy, which played a significant role in the development of water-based flexo in the USA, was able to organize a full working demonstration of water-based inks in action in the UK. The demonstration was so convincing that CUPSZ had no doubts about the viability of this technology and ordered a Mark Andy Evolution Series E5.

"The depth of knowledge and expertise at Mark Andy most impressed us. The fact that their water-based presses are not equipped with UV lines like those of the other manufacturers really showed in the operators' confidence in their ability to switch jobs in five minutes with only 50m of waste. We believe we have acquired a partner with a wealth of useful knowledge to help us expand our business, not just a press, said Daan.

In January 2023, the new Mark Andy was set up and put into service. It is a 430mm (17") six-color Evolution Series E5 with full servo drive, a Vetaphone corona treater, and a web cleaner, according to Maarten van Bergeijk of Packtion, Mark Andy's agent in the Benelux. The six print stations each have independent airflow balancing, heating, and recirculating dryer base systems. Oldham couplings and bearings are used in the anilox drive for accurate and smooth operation. It has a 230 m/s (750 ft/s) maximum speed, remote diagnostics, auto- and pre-register, a BST vision system, and both. An 810mm (32") reel can be handled by a waste windup and sheeter head that are driven by servos. We also installed a Mark Andy package as part of the VPM 400 video plate mounter to ensure accuracy.”

The Evolution Series E5 has a surprisingly small footprint for a press while still providing the operator with plenty of workspace. There is nothing overly complex about it - what's there is for the benefit of the person running it, not a demonstration of how much technology can be added for the sake of it, said Michiel. "We like the level of automation it has because that makes it easy to set up and run and maintains good quality register," he said. The new Mark Andy will be significantly more productive than the digital presses at CUPSZ, typically running 350 to 460-micron board at about 120 m/min. It's a very stable press, which is necessary when working with heavier materials, and it demonstrates Mark Andy's expertise with carton board presses – and we can’t wait to see how it performs in everyday commercial production,” he concluded.

For more information on MARK ANDY EVOLUTION E5, please contact our local Dynagraph representatives.


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