MPS is a narrow-web press manufacturer that offers flexo and offset press solutions for label and flexible packaging printers. At the start of 2018, the Dutch-based company set up shop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to better serve the Asia Pacific market.
Setting up a base in Asia signals the company’s dedication to extend its presence in the region. At the helm of the new Asia Pacific branch is managing director Tim Klappe. Print Innovation speaks with the print veteran to find out what the company has in store for the region.
Can you give us a brief overview on MPS’ activities in Asia so far, and what are your upcoming plans to grow in the region?
Prior to this, MPS has been selling machines to the region via the main company based in Europe, and our agents in India, Japan and Australia and New Zealand. Initially, MPS concentrated all efforts to grow the European market. As a result, we are the market leaders in a few major European countries and have a leading position overall in Europe. In 2014, MPS entered the US market. At this moment, we have both a technology centre plus an assembly facility in the US. Our market position is strengthening as well in the Americas. Our recent successes of the Hybrid press in both North America and South America shows the trust of the American market in MPS.
Since January this year, we opened shop in Asia Pacific. We started with the opening of our regional office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We are now expanding our sales team and service team in order to give our current and future MPS customers top support. We have already appointed new agents in Indonesia and Taiwan, and will soon sign up new agents throughout the Asia Pacific region.
We are also planning to set up a technology centre in Kuala Lumpur. Printers can come here to test materials, applications and the performance of the MPS presses.
[Editor’s note: Meanwhile, printers in the Asia Pacific region who wish to view a demo can do so at T&K Toka, Japan’s MPS agent. Contact George Tan firstname.lastname@example.org or Tim Klappe email@example.com to request for an appointment.]
In addition, MPS will be participating in the upcoming Asian Packaging Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2 to 3 May 2018. We are looking forward to it as it will enable us to meet with customers and share thoughts on running special applications and new technologies. It is also a very good opportunity to meet many suppliers and partners in the industry with many we have a direct or indirect cooperation.
2. What are your observations on the labels and flexible packaging industry in Asia?
It is a good market to be - it is large and there is constant growth. Shopping malls and supermarkets keep on growing in Asia. Products sold there have to be packed and labelled. There is also a growing middle class in Asia. These people want to buy more different goods and more luxury packaged items. These developments are all driving growth for the label and packaging industry.
Asia & Oceania accounts for 41% of worldwide label consumption. Flexo printing output volume in Asia is expected to grow at 7.2% (CAGR ’15-’21) to reach 4,177 mln m2 by 2021, which is just over half of output volume forecasted for Europe in that same year.
Packaging cannot be replaced by the internet or with apps, unlike what had happened to a large extend with newspapers, brochures and other commercial print products.
However, there are always new technologies in labels and packaging. Digital printing, many new substrates, especially films, inclusion of security features, having multiple layers and mixed printing technologies all in one label, are just some examples. As a printer and solution provider, you will have to be able to deal with that.
This means having good knowledge and availability of prepress, materials, adhesives, printing technologies, and environmental issues. With regards to this point, more countries in Asia Pacific are getting serious about the environment.
Rules are not only made, but enforced as well. Not just by governments, but by the brand owners as well. Due to this, more gravure printers are looking to more environmentally-friendly print technologies, such as flexo.
3. What sets MPS apart from the competition?
MPS presses are famous for the transport of the material through the machine.
When you produce labels or flexible packaging, you will have to be able to process many different kind of materials. From pressure sensitive adhesive labels on paper stock, to thin stretchable wrap-around label films to shrink sleeves and even multi-layer labels with several pre-printed laminations on top of each other.
High demands are put on accuracy, registration and colour consistency. At high speeds, films will stretch. A MPS press is better able than any other press to deal with these high demands. This is due to the way an MPS press transports the substrates through the machine. There are less so-called nip rollers that can stretch materials and lead to inaccuracies. Especially when you need to laminate several layers of printed films on top of each other, the highest accuracy is needed. This is what MPS presses are doing very well in and why MPS customers has won many label awards.
4. Tell us about your star products.
I think we are lucky to have a range of stars in our product family. It really depends on the application a printer wants to run and what the job load and budget is. Our EF press is the most flexible press. This machine can run the thinnest films, cardboards to lamitubes, can laminate multiple layers with ease, and can combine flexo, silkscreen, gravure, cold foil, hotfoil and different kind of converting technologies all in line at speeds up to 200 m/min.
The EF Symjet combines the EF press described above with an inkjet digital print unit. This combines the best of both worlds: flexo and digital printing. Where dedicated digital printing machines can print economically to around 1,000 metres, a Hybrid machine is good for runs of up to 2,000 or 3,000 metres when using both flexo and digital at the same time. If needed you can, of course, run only digital or only flexo. It really depends on the job.
The major advantage of using a hybrid press versus a pure digital one is that you can do the converting and embellishment inline plus use, for example, some flexo print units to print extra white, spot colours or glue varnish for cold foil. This enables you to make very creative label application without having to go through additional finishing passes.
5. Finally, what are your thoughts and feelings about joining MPS?
MPS has a really good vibe. A lot of energy. It feels a being a part of a family. Everyone likes to work and help each other. Of course, the success we had over the past years helps to build this atmosphere. We have an incredible team with a lot of knowledge. I just came out of a meeting where colleagues all over the world participated. We shared our experiences with certain projects and discussed how we can improve. It’s really great to be a part of this team.