OMNI Systems moves into prime labels with Martin Automatic and Mark Andy technology


OMNI Systems President Mike Murton, Maintenance & Quality Manager Chris Allen, Bob Hoffman Sales Manager Martin Automatic, and OMNI’s Director of Operations & Sales Erik Majkrzak with the new multi-colour Mark Andy press fitted with a Martin MBS unwind/splicer that will move the company into the prime label business

If you looked for a high-volume label converter that offered low fixed prices, proven quality, and a delivery service second to none, you would look no further than OMNI Systems, the Cleveland, OH based business that is the largest privately-owned thermal media company in the USA.  Established in 1990 and wholly owned by Adam DeFrancesco, OMNI claims its 144,000 sq ft 24/7 operational plant at Mayfield Village offers saving of up to 40% on the industry’s high quality label media from its numerous strategic locations across the US.

How does OMNI do it?  By an ongoing program of investment that has seen seven new Mark Andy presses installed since 2019 and all of them fitted with Martin Automatic MBS unwind/splicers.  In fact, OMNI now has 20 Mark Andy presses installed parallel to each other from 7” (180mm) to 20” (510mm), and all are fitted with Martin MBS systems – the view down the line is impressive.  Highlighting the repeatability of its volume business, OMNI says that one of its presses has run the same job, with only minor color variations, 24/7 for the past 10 years.

The company built its business on simple one-, two- and three-color work which in 2020 generated sales close to $95m and showed a five-year increase of 65%.  Its customer portfolio includes all the major retail brands for which it can make and justify substantial claims: more than $1m annual cost savings on one label account, an annual budget reduction of 40% on another, and continuing to provide a year-on-year price reduction for the world’s leading e-commerce company for 20 consecutive years.

Renowned for its cost-effective production of secondary labels, it was only a matter of time before OMNI’s customers began to apply pressure for the company to move into prime labels and offer a single-source supply.  Company President Mike Murton explained: “We are experts at managing exponential growth without deviating from our commitment to high-quality and low prices.  The opportunity to carry this over from our traditional work to the more complex and sophisticated world of prime labels, using trusted technology from Mark Andy and Martin, gave us a clear opening to develop our business in new areas, initially with the security of work from existing customers.”

The result was the installation of a Mark Andy Performance Series P7E press earlier this year, fitted with a Martin Automatic MBS unwind/splicer, and the order for a second identical configuration, which is due towards the end of 2022.  The latest Mark Andy presses have the 20” (510mm) web width and are fitted with Vetaphone corona treaters for film label applications, 10-UV flexo print units and turn bars.  The Martin MBS units offer non-stop operation with built-in roll loading for a variety of substrates from film to laminate and paperboard, with a maximum roll diameter of 50” (1270mm) and top production speed of 300m/min.

For those unfamiliar with the ‘butt splice’ technique of Martin’s MBS range, it is designed for web-fed applications where the end of an expiring roll is joined to the beginning of another.  The two ends are trimmed straight and brought together so that the ends do not overlap. A thin tape, over the top or bottom of the splice, or both, holds the splice together, which is required in applications where the thickness of overlapping webs is unacceptable, like film or paper-based labels.   The whole splicing process is performed without slowing or stopping the press to reduce waste and maintain print quality.

According to Chris Allen, Maintenance and Quality Manager at OMNI: “By allowing us to run our presses non-stop at optimum speed, Martin Automatic technology has been a major factor in us achieving our cost and productivity goals, which would have been impossible otherwise.  Each one of their systems here, now numbering 21 with another to come shortly, is a model of reliability,” he added, pointing to the three small boxes of spare parts that is all OMNI keeps for maintaining the Martins.

High efficiency goes together with sustainability at OMNI.  The company is proud of its procurement process that sees more than 99% of its face stock sourced from FSC approved resources, and a similar figure for its adhesives that meet TLMI Recycling Protocols.  On plastic materials, its label stocks pass the Association of Plastic Recycling’s Critical Guidance Recognition for PET and HDPE.  In the all-important food industry, OMNI is GFSI and BRC Certified, which among other things guarantees that labels won’t peel to ensure safety and enable consistent barcode screening for accurate stock control.

What becomes clear from any visit to the plant is OMNI’s attention to detail and production efficiency.  As one of Martin Automatic and Mark Andy’s leading combined US installations, OMNI exemplifies the value of automating web fed production of high-quality work produced consistently at high speed.  The company’s move into prime labels is an alert for other converters in this field that there is a ‘new kid on the block’ and he’s very well set-up to take a big share of the market!