Nilpeter’s MO-4 Offset Press, once named “The Winemaker’s Choice,” was introduced at LabelExpo Europe in 2007, and offers premium quality combination printing based on lightweight sleeve technology. Here, Nilpeter International Product Manager of Wine & Spirits, Angelo Tribocco, explains the success behind the Denmark-based OEM’s offset flagship press.
The whole idea behind the MO-4, for Nilpeter and the R&D team, was to develop something ten times better than any other solution available on the market, in our product range of course. We were not interested in making small improvements or aiming for a press only ‘two times better’ than current market solutions. And that’s why the MO-4 became an instant game-changer at that time, and a benchmark, even today, in combination offset printing.
Of course it wasn’t an easy exercise. We were already leading the offset market with our previous model, the MO-3300, so we basically had to improve on ourselves. The key, and the challenge for our team, was to focus on every detail – not falling into old patterns, but generating a printing system able to match the modern philosophy of ‘lean converting.’ This happened by analyzing and measuring the time spent on every single operation carried out during a changeover, and then introducing solutions to eliminate, reduce or convert these operations to automated features. With this development, and the flexibility in reconfiguration, we ensured that the MO-4 was able to adapt to any market segment. The good fit for wine and spirits comes from the ability to create complex labels, matching the sophistication required by end-users in a superior way in terms of efficiency and lean converting. High quality is of course a must, but this is also available from other products on the market. The success of the MO-4 is a direct byproduct of being able to deliver high quality with advantages in costs for the converter.
Q. Are the recent MO-4 presses being installed with existing MO-Line customers or is it a good mix of new and old?
A. The interest is more frequent with new, emerging companies – and personally, these projects are more fascinating and rewarding, because you’re part of a virtuous process of evolution. Our strategy is very simple; we approach labels shops in need of equipment that can handle higher volumes and more complex converting jobs. That’s where the MO-4 shines, increases efficiency, and enhances the overall performance of all existing equipment (and the label shop in general). We’re highly focused on meeting customer needs and helping them solve their challenges.
Q. How do you find offset technology in terms of quality compared to other printing methods?
A. There’s no doubt that offset represents the highest level of quality in analogue printing in the label market. For a while, it looked like the first digital technology (electrophotography) was challenging offset for the crown, but to this day it cannot meet the efficiency and up-time of offset printing, and has become obsolete with the rise of UV-digital inkjet and other developments. I believe offset is still a dominant printing technology in modern times, especially in markets like wine and spirits, and health and beauty, where high quality from minimal technical effort is crucial. The investment needed to acquire an offset press is much higher than that of flexo, which is part of the reason why we, at Nilpeter, produce more than 100 flexo presses every year, and only around 10 offset combination presses. However, label shops invest a fortune in order to replicate offset quality in flexo, and that’s why there’s still great interest in the long-term savings from presses like the MO-4.
Q. Is the MO-4 popular in one specific geographic market, or is it spread evenly across the world?
A. I would say the presses are spread across the most innovative and competitive markets around the world – following first the trend of standardization, which is a rule in big corporate companies with multiple plant locations such as the USA, United Kingdom, Australia, etc. Secondly, the distribution also follows creative ambitions – that is, emerging labels shops and companies that wish to differentiate themselves from basic offers and quality, in countries such as Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. Finally, the MO-4 is also popular with market leaders and trendsetting companies in Turkey, Croatia, Ukraine, Thailand, and all of Latin America. I guess what will continue to support the success of the MO-4, beside our restless innovation, will be the continued need for modern label shops that create unique value for their clients and generate solid barriers with outstanding quality and cost advantages.
Q. Continuing on the path of your last thought, how do you see the MO-4 going forward, and do you have any predictions for the future?
A. As I mentioned earlier, the MO-4 is still the benchmark in combination offset printing – and it can be quite challenging to improve on a benchmark, especially in analogue printing. However, innovation also includes going back to the existing portfolio and re-engineering with the latest technology and automation. A perfect example of this is our flatbed embossing and foiling unit – the well-known FP-4, which was introduced in 2012, and has already been installed in more than 120 units around the world. That is, in my mind, a good path for us to follow – keep adding lean, improved solutions, unique embellishments, and sophisticated features, adapting our technology to the ever-changing market, and ensuring that the MO-4 remains a competitive solution in terms of price and performance.