Hartford Business Journal

September 21, 2020 — HealthiestEmployers

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www.HartfordBusiness.com • September 21, 2020 • Hartford Business Journal 19 West Hartford packaging/printing technologies distributor Matik finds growing niche By Matthew Broderick Special to the Hartford Business Journal S ince the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in mid-March, many sectors of the U.S. economy have been severely impacted. Certain goods, however, such as food, online alcohol sales, and personal hygiene products have had tremen- dous growth. The hand-sanitizer mar- ket alone is expected to skyrocket from an annual growth of 5% to near 46% increase this year, according to projec- tions by Fortune Business Insights. That's been a downstream boom for the supply chain companies nationwide that manufacture labels and packaging for these sectors. It has also provided a growth opportunity for Steve Leibin, president of Matik, a West Hartford- based distributor of European-made printing and packaging machines for the U.S, Canada and Mexico. Matik, with annual revenue in the $10-million range and products that run from $300,000 to $2 million in price, caters to a diverse number of industries, including the securi- ties, signage acrylics and technical textile markets, but is primarily fo- cused on the packaging and labeling markets, which have grown increas- ingly complex as packaging sizes and shapes have evolved. That's driven innovation in printing and packaging technologies — two staple industries in Europe — that have enabled Leibin and his team of 16 employees to offer machinery with greater efficiencies and the ability to embellish printing to label printers serving markets where those capabili- ties are increasingly in-demand. He points to the variety of prod- uct offerings, packaging sizes and production runs as reasons decorative labeling and packaging is growing, including corrugated, flexibles and direct-to-shape production. He notes, for instance, that blue chip brands like Coca-Cola have expanded beyond core product offerings, to supply a wide va- riety of flavors that require different labels and production quantities. "We're also seeing more [brands of- fering] seasonal packaging, like Christ- mas or Fourth of July promotion," Leibin said, "creating a need for more customized packaging and labeling." That market demand is creat- ing a need for label and packaging companies to use more multi-func- tional machines. Leibin points, as an example, to a new product line his company recently announced in partnership with Italy-headquar- tered Lombardi Converting Ma- chinery, which combines a variety of print technologies and finishing capabilities into one machine. Hot market A Lombardi product was re- cently purchased by Fortis Solutions Group, a national packaging and digital labeling company with an El- lington location that predominantly serves major national food brands. Ken Pizzuco, Fortis' chief supply chain officer, estimates its latest purchase from Matik will create a 30% increase in production efficien- cy, to drive bottom line growth. "This new machine includes flexo printing, die cutting and a high-level of labeling embellishment," Pizzuco said. "Previously, those functions would have to go through three or four pieces of equipment but can now be done with one machine." He also notes that Matik's newest product provides a wide variety of fin- ishes — from varnishes to colored foils to textured logos that are in high-de- mand in growth industries like craft beer brew- ing and wineries where Fortis is looking to expand its footprint. Pizzuco says that eye-catching and unique labels in the highly competitive wine and spirits industry are an important way to draw atten- tion and brand- awareness from end-consumers. And it's the label makers that Matik is trying to woo. The company is actually looking to open a Connecticut- based testing facility in the near future to showcase its product line and be- come more visible in the marketplace. "Our growth is going to come from getting more [printers] to interact with our machinery and understand our [products'] capabilities," Leibin said. That project may be on hold until a coronavirus vaccine is developed. And when that happens, it will need to be packaged and labeled. COMPANY PROFILE Matik President Steve Leibin (far left) with executives from Italy-based Lombardi Converting Machinery. Matik recently signed a new agreement with Lombardi to sell and distribute its printing machines in the U.S. Matik distributes European-made printing and packaging machines (shown above) in the U.S, Canada and Mexico. PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS | CONTRIBUTED

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