printing labels

Esko Visit: LED Plate Exposure, Crystal Screening, and PCW

Hagerstown, MD [July 29, 2020] In July 2020, a team of employees from Esko took a trip to Hub Labels, located in Hagerstown MD, for a 3-day visit at Hub’s 110,000 square-foot label converting print facility. Hub Labels recently installed the latest state-of-the-art CDI Crystal Plate Imager and XPS Crystal LED plate exposure technologies. To manage this hardware, Hub Labels also installed advanced software from Esko known as “Print Control Wizard” (PCW). This establishes Hub among one of the few UV Flexo Label Printers in North America with LED Plate Exposure, Crystal Screening and PCW.

The reason for the visit was two-fold, as Mark Samworth, Esko Flexo Color Specialist, explained, “Esko is committed to assuring Hub gets the best results possible. Doug Benham, Esko Flexo Implementation Specialist, and I teamed up to make that happen. But to be honest, while assisting Hub was my #1 goal, I did have a hidden agenda. I wanted to get some real-world experience seeing how the products performed in a production environment. I wanted to learn from Doug, as well as from the team at Hub. Additionally, two top-notch players from the Mark Andy team, Cheryl Cole and Jim Schulz, were in attendance. They both know DuPont flexo plate technology inside-out and are experts on press variables like ink, anilox and sticky back. I wanted to take the opportunity to learn from them as well. Hub Labels is a grade-A label printer. From the architecture of the building, to the equipment on the shop floor, the software in prepress and the competence of every employee we worked with; Hub is a class act. I couldn’t think of a better place to spend the week. Even the lunches were delicious! As mentioned previously, I wanted to get some real-world experience with Esko’s state-of-the art technology. Hub Labels was the perfect location.”

custom label printing

Thomas Dahbura, Hub Labels Owner and President, added, “This was the first initiative we kicked off [during the COVID-19 shutdown], so it was exciting that we were doing in-person collaborations again [after lifting restrictions]. Exciting because it was innovative and awesome to collaborate with some of Esko’s brightest people. I can’t give all the credit to ESKO though; one of the silent champions for Hub has always been Cheryl Cole for bringing this technology to Hub and for always being one of our champions. She doesn’t get enough kudos from me and the team. The crystal screening takes our HD flexo to the next level, and along with eliminating Mercury UV bulbs for the curing and going Digital LED, the bar has been raised for consistent plate making at a higher level of quality. I’m really thrilled at the quality we deliver and how this technology will enhance the labels we produce.”

“The visit was an enormous success”, remarked Samworth. “We achieved ‘near perfect’ print quality and ‘near perfect’ proof to press match following the Esko procedures straight from the book. On flexo color test forms, most people either don’t include images or include images that have been retouched for flexo. On the color test forms I made for Hub, I included only offset images downloaded from the Idealliance G7 web site. We did no retouching at all – leaving all the dropouts and fades to zero (the killers of flexo color) in the images. We wanted to see if screening these files with Esko Crystal Screening, imaging the plates on the new Crystal CDI, and exposing the plates on the new Crystal XPS LED based plate exposure unit would equal or surpass the quality promised. The print results were amazing! It truly looked like high-end offset lithography. The best news of all is that Hub will continue to get this quality long after Doug and I, as well as our Mark Andy partners, have departed.

Dahbura agreed, “My team now has taken the gavel of knowledge over from Esko. I am proud of my team for really taking ownership of learning all the intricacies of this new technology. They are my flexo champions now and have the responsibility of taking all of the work that others at Hub have put into advancing innovation at Hub. That is in our DNA and it is great to see!”

Maryland Strong Window Clings

Maryland Strong: Back to Business Pledge

Hub Labels President Thomas Dahbura joined with the Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz to announce a partnership to support the safe reopening of businesses as the state continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hub Labels is working with Maryland Commerce to produce 10,000 window clings that businesses across the state can display that feature the Maryland flag and the words “Proud to be Safely Open. Maryland Open for Business.”

Secretary Schulz visited Hub Labels this week to watch the window clings, which are high-quality stickers that don’t use adhesive to stay adhered to the glass, being produced at Hub Label’s Hagerstown facility. The clings will be distributed to each of the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore City so businesses can display them to the public, along with the Maryland Strong: Back to Business Pledge that can also be displayed.

“We want to thank Hub Labels for their partnership as we continue to work with Maryland’s business community to help businesses safely reopen,” said Secretary Schulz. “These window clings, along with the business pledge, offer much needed assurance in knowing that a business is taking the steps to adhere to health protocols and offer a safe environment for customers.”

“When Maryland Commerce approached us about producing these window clings, I went to my team and said we’ve got to help,” Dahbura said. “Times are uncertain right now, for so many reasons, COVID-19 just being one of the factors. I want to make a difference, however big or small, to help our communities find a path forward to recovery.”


About Hub Labels, Inc

Hub Labels, Inc is a manufacturer of pressure sensitive and linerless labels.  Hub is able to provide superior quality and service with our robust and modern fleet of flexographic printing presses, and a flexographic-digital hybrid Heidelburg/Gallus Labelfire press with expanded color gamut that is unmatched in the industry for image resolution and color.  Hub is dedicated to staying abreast of the latest packaging trends and building long term relationships with our customers, vendors and suppliers. But at the heart of Hub are the people, who are driven by five key principles: Safety, Sustainability, Innovation, Service and Community.

About Maryland Commerce

The Maryland Department of Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit


Mark Smith, Lead Estimator at Hub Labels

Hub Labels Employee Spotlight – Mark Smith

[July 7, 2020] – Hub Labels is excited to share our new “Employee Spotlight”, which features an interview with one of our employees here at Hub. Our first July 2020 “Employee Spotlight”features an interview with the one and only, Mark Smith, our lead estimator who has been a part of our team since April 2009. Colin Viti, our marketing coordinator, sat down with Mark and asked him a few questions about his experience here at Hub Labels.

Mark, you’ve been at Hub a long time, just over 11 years. What is the most memorable moment you’ve had while employed?

Mark: “One of the most memorable moments was last October when the Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, came to visit our plant to celebrate our S.H.A.R.P Certification. It was quite an honor to meet him, along with being a part of the company that achieved that title of being SHARP Certified. More recently though, the most memorable “moment”, and will always be the indelible mark of my time here at Hub, was this pandemic and how we as a company have pulled through this so far. It was thrust upon all of us so unexpectedly and we were quickly thrown in to situations that were out of our comfort zones, ones we have never experienced before. The teamwork I’ve experienced in all facets of the business has been what I will never forget.” 

You see a lot of labels and get to be a part of the process from beginning to end. What is your favorite part about what you do?

Mark: “I love seeing new jobs pass all the way through the plant; to see a finished product and hearing that our customer’s expectations were exceeded is why I come to work every day.”

Over the years, I’m sure you’ve seen lots of change here at Hub Labels. What change has made the biggest impact to how you operate day to day?”

Mark: “Oh geez, without a doubt back in 2014 when we installed the Ef/Radius platform. This software changed the way we operate. The main purpose of the Ef/Radius platform is to measure the shop floor data. This allows us to better evaluate our true costs of the jobs we produce. Before this system was implemented, my job was very tedious. I’m so thankful we work for a company that continues to invest in the latest technologies!

Thanks Mark for your time!

To learn more more about how Hub Labels SHARP Certification, you can read more about the event on our blog.