Label Leaders increases its capacity with the new Evolution Series E5 from Mark Andy
Label Leaders, the South African converter based in George, has built its business on a long-term relationship with Mark Andy. Most recently, it installed its sixth flexo press from the US manufacturer, delivered and commissioned by Sarepco, which has been Mark Andy’s representative in South and Central Africa for more than three decades.
Speaking to Label Leaders, co-owners Theo Raubenheimer and his sister Rene Koen commented: “Our philosophy is based on building close relationships with all business partners, both customers and suppliers, and Mark Andy has been a strategic partner since my parents started the business. Underlining this is the fact that all the Mark Andy presses at the George plant have been delivered by Sarepco in what Raubenheimer describes as a relationship that guarantees good advice to ensure the success of each project.
recipe for success
“Our values have not changed since we started. We focus on high quality products and services. Developing close working relationships allows us to make strategic decisions faster, and as a private company, our partners appreciate our flexibility,” he stated.
The same philosophy forms the basis of cooperation with suppliers. Whether it’s a press, substrate or ink, Label Leaders needs the support of suppliers. This has been especially important recently with the issues caused by the pandemic and supply shortages.
Despite the difficulties, it has been a successful period for the company, which has made further investments, including the Evolution Series E5. The company has also built up a stock of various substrates to ensure customers receive their labels on time.
Time for a new press
It was during a visit to Labelexpo 2019 in Brussels that Theo first saw the Evolution series. “He attracted us from the beginning with his short setup time, high speed and simplicity of operation,” he said. With the likelihood of a second shift looming, which the company wanted to avoid, the decision was made to invest in an E5, and it was installed in August 2021.
The new press is equipped with eight flexo printing units and the new QCDC die cutter. “Because it is a Mark Andy, we can use the plates, cylinders and dies that we already had, which allows us to optimize costs and streamline the machinery park,” he explained. The new E5 joins other Mark Andy presses in Label Leaders, including a Performance Series P5, a 2200, a Scout and an 830 that has been there since the beginning. When asked why he wasn’t at the company museum, Theo joked, “Because it still works and makes money!”
Wider web – higher capacity
The new E5 brings much-needed additional capacity to label leaders and offers shorter lead times. “Labels are special products that will always be needed. To develop new designs with new substrates, we needed a press that was fast in setup and changeover, and with its wider web width, it is a very effective tool.”
Label Leaders caters to three main market sectors: retail, dairy and wine, and while each has its own specific requirements, Theo says print quality and reliable delivery are common to all. In the case of the wine industry, it is vital that the labels are delivered the same day the wine is bottled so as not to affect the alcohol level.
With the current global shortage of substrates and more than 500 different labels to manufacture, the company needs to maintain a high level of stock in its warehouse to keep customers happy, but also find optimal production parameters to preserve margins. Longer runs are a solution, even if paper prices have quadrupled since December 2021. “This is where having a press as flexible as the Evolution works well and fits with our business philosophy,” he said.
Sarepco: a long-term business partner
Theo Raubenheimer sees Sarepco as a continuous stimulus for his company’s business. In addition to delivery, assembly and staff training, Sarepco takes care of many future-proofing actions, including preventive maintenance and annual repair. “We like the fact that Sarepco technicians are always available; it gives us a sense of security and comfort knowing that our Mark Andy team is in good hands,” he added.
Paul Bouwer, Director of Sarepco commented: “I remember the beginnings of Label Leaders and I signed the original contract for a Mark Andy 830 with Ben Raubenheimer, Theo’s father. The interesting thing is that this press is still used daily here!” Bouwer is also impressed with how Label Leaders has managed the long distances between major cities in South Africa and credits the management team for what has become one of the largest privately owned label printers in the country. “We are delighted that this development is based on Mark Andy’s technology. The recent installation of the E5 confirms the quality of the equipment and underlines the confidence in Sarepco as the local distributor of Mark Andy”, said Bouwer.
Speaking on behalf of Mark Andy, Executive Vice President Tom Cavalco concluded: “We are happy that the management of Label Leaders follows the same principles that we follow at Mark Andy. This close working partnership began in the 1980s and we are proud that the Raubenheimer family continues to invest in Mark Andy technology. I would like to add a special word of thanks to Sarepco who has been with us for 35 years and has been fundamental to the success of Label Leaders.