Novakon boosts efficiency with Martin Automatic

Posted: November 04, 2009

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Mr. Alex Maree, Owner, Novakon and Frau Hamburger with Novakon's MBS splicer from Martin Automatic.

To boost efficiency at its new production facility in Harsleben, Germany, Novakon has fitted a Martin Automatic MBS splicer to one of its Mark Andy 2200 label presses. The results, according to joint owner, Alex Maree, are faster production speeds with less waste, and significantly, a short payback period on the investment.

Novakon, a dedicated sheet label plant, was created in 2008 by Alex Maree and Heinrich Braden following the success of Maree's first label production venture, Etikon, which opened at the end of the 1990s at nearby Rodersdorf. Using EU grants and support from the local authority, Maree, a Dutchman by birth, has been able to develop two highly efficient label converting companies in the former East Germany, where the high unemployment level belies the latent skills available from the local workforce.

Although beginning with used Webtrons, new press investment at both plants has been with Mark Andy, and on their recommendation, Martin Automatic. Said Maree: "Our press shortlist came down to a straight choice between European and American technology and I have no doubt we made the right choice for our type of work. After-sales support, when we've needed it, has been good, and the Martin equipment have proved very reliable."

Etikon has now grown to house seven Mark Andy 2200 lines, six of them with a 13" web width and the other, a 17" machine, to which Maree fitted his first Martin Automatic MBS splicer. It was his experience with this combination of equipment that prompted the latest investment in the new company, Novakon.

Founded purely to convert sheeted labels from the web, the new company principally serves the stationery and logistics markets, and has successfully negotiated large national and international rolling contracts with leading players in both fields. Novakon sits on a 22,000 sqm plot of land, offering Maree considerable scope for expansion. Currently, a staff of 18 works on the production and administrative side, and handles up to 800 shipments each day.

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Martin MBS at Novakon

Printing is carried out on two Mark Andy 2200 presses, both 17" two-colour models with full UV. One press was recently fitted with a Martin Automatic MBS splicer, and plans are in place for a second one to be fitted to the other press. According to Maree, the Martin MBS at Etikon increased running speeds by 10% and cut waste materials by 5%, which on 24/hour working, has meant a payback period of less than 12 months. Despite the present poor exchange rate (€/$), the new Martin MBS is proving just as good an investment for Novakon.

With the global financial crisis forecast to continue into 2010 and maybe beyond, Alex Maree sees a period of consolidation ahead. "We are growing rapidly through our contracts, which offer stability in terms of volume and profit, and our part of the market has been less badly hit than the high end 'added value' sector - but we have to be realistic in our expectations. That is why improving the efficiency of our existing operation right now is so important and why another Martin MBS is high on our priority list," he explained.

Currently, the two plants, Etikon and Novakon, consume 50m sqm of substrate each year, of which 90% is paper based, so it is easy to see why efficient handling is critical to Maree. "What I need from staff and machines is consistent performance 24/7, because we are serving a global market that never sleeps. To me, there is no more convincing sales argument than proven performance, and that's why Martin technology is an automatic choice for me," he added.