Some may think of it as a newcomer, yet SOMA recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of its entry into flexographic printing press manufacturing. Since birth, the firm—an FTA member for the past four years—has been systematically expanding its footprint and customer base. Initial focus concentrated on Eastern Europe, where SOMA today ranks as the No. 1 press manufacturer in Poland and enjoys a considerable market share in Russia. Next came Central Europe, the U.K., Africa, Latin America, Japan, South Korea, India, China and now North America—specifically the U.S.
SOMA executives describe their product line as being price sensitive and quality driven while bridging the gap between mid web and wide web printing. Currently, the central impression (CI) drums on its presses range from 23-in. to 60-in. Like its product range, the firm possesses a unique heritage, having helped employees cross over from communist to free market economy. Some on the team say it excels at life-changing experiences.
FLEXO recently made an on-site visit to the firm to learn a bit more about its history, mission, values and commitment to keeping flexography recognized as the print process of choice within the global packaging community. One point of pride: Czech engineering combines with high-tech, state-of-the-art componentry.
Drive & CommitmentLadislav Verner, CEO and owner, founded (or as they say, privatized) the firm in 1992 and today leads a team that includes his son, Jan Verner as chief designer; and daughter Pavla Kusa, as commercial director. SOMA remains in growth mode. It employs 220 people on site at its headquarters in Lanškroun, Czech Republic and has some 900 machines in place throughout the world. The number includes four in the U.S., one of which is operating in Puerto Rico, and more than 15 in Latin America. Its full portfolio encompasses CI flexographic presses, slitter/rewinders, laminators, plate mounters and die cutters. At the center of attention stands the Optima² press.
Petr Blasko, marketing manager, bills it as, “sound, sturdy, sensible, smart, consistent and reliable.” He further maintains that the firm “insists that everything possible be done to help customers become market leaders. All machinery is specialized and customized to individual needs. Drive and commitment are in our DNA.”
Efficiency meets capability is what SOMA stresses, according to Pavla. “The engineers and technical team constantly pursue perfect processing of every individual piece.” Emphasis, she says, is continually put on “press stability, via SOMA’s unique ABC (advanced bounce system), short run with the help of its ARUN system (zero-waste job setting) and simple modular solutions. Operator friendliness is critical in a high-tech environment where automation builds confidence.