Labels, Tags & Inserts (LTI) has switched allegiance to Vetaphone for surface treatment on its Mark Andy presses after performance and reliability issues with its former supplier. The family owned business in Burlington NC currently operates six Mark Andy flexo lines, from two- up to nine-colours, as well as one of the manufacturer’s new entry-level Digital One toner presses.
The company prides itself on providing a quality product and service and has been innovative with its use of added-value techniques that keep its customers one step ahead of their rivals. In particular, its use of spliced ‘dry’ films for inline adhesive lamination has required skilful use of the Martin Automatic unwind technology fitted to one of its two Mark Andy P7 presses.
With the company looking to grow its business in the shrink sleeve sector, Facilities Manager Jim Baker says LTI is targeting the local craft breweries and similar enterprises that do not have the resources to print direct onto cans, but still require high quality graphics for the product. Although the sleeves cost slightly more per can, LTI’s flexible production capability that offers short lead times on small runs is critical. The key, according to Baker is continuous running, and for that he needs reliability at every point in the production line.
The choice of Vetaphone corona technology was straightforward but somewhat belated, according to Baker. “We’d had an American corona treater on our presses dating back years, but there had always been issues with reliability and service support. It was Mark Andy that suggested we made the change, so when we specified the second P7 press we made the switch. One key advantage is that we can now run as fast as we want, without the corona treater creating a production bottleneck. So, we are seriously considering changing the nearly new treater on the first P7 to a Vetaphone unit,” he explained.
The change has been a revelation, according to Baker, with no performance issues and a level of after sales support that matches a premium brand product. He is quick to acknowledge the part played by long-time business associate and local Vetaphone agent Donnie Hopkins of JDH & Associates. “Donnie was aware of the problems we have been incurring and lobbying me to switch to Vetaphone. Now that we have, I can appreciate a back-up service that’s a world apart from what we experienced before,” he said.
Commenting that the Vetaphone VE1A units are easy to clean and maintain with their slide out cartridges, he said that, most of all, he likes the design that separates the power unit from the treater station. “We have always had major condensation problems here when the weather is humid – the Vetaphone iCorona generator has a slow-start up mechanism that avoids this, and being separate from the treater, there are no cut-out or corrosion issues,” he added.
Currently running four days on double shift, and a single shift on Fridays, LTI is busy, but the plant still has spare capacity. “We’ve refined our production capability and invested wisely in the best technology available. Having experienced Vetaphone products and service first hand, I can see why a market leader like Mark Andy specifies it as standard equipment. It’s certainly made a big difference here,” he concluded.