Labels are important nowadays. Customers choose the most various goods at the supermarkets thanks to the labels that identify the products, as people connect them in their memory by TV advertising. Thousands of brands for millions of products, in billions of packaging choices every day, without contacting a sales clerk, except for checking out. The label is the “silent salesperson”. Cosmetics, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, detergents, beverages, products in vials, bottles, cartons, cans, in turn packaged in boxes, bundles, pallets for an adequate safe transport and storage. Behind all this there are automatic labeling machines, pressure sensitive or liner-less, working in synchrony with other units of the production and packaging process. To decorate, mark, encode each product with data and deadlines. Labeling systems are complete solutions for automatic labeling of foodstuffs, chemicals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, beverages and every other kind of products, with different types of standard and customized application. There are many solutions for the food industry labeling systems and they face very different issues ranging from the simple application of a label on a package such as a tray, a box, a glass jar, a bottle or a simply wrapped or unwrapped product. There are solutions that concern applications for end of line products that face the issues of packaging or pallet identification for material handling logistics for large scale retailers.
What does the market offer
Automatic labeling machines are designed primarily to meet 4 objectives: high performances for label applications, reliability in product labeling, flexibility for easy in line integration, ease of maintenance to reduce technical downtime and increase output. To this purpose, compact and cheap labelers for pressure sensitive labels are available in commerce, as well as more demanding machinery both in terms of space and cost, speed of label application, size change, types, etc. Almost all labelers can be adapted to be inserted into existing packaging lines. Generally the most compact are equipped with robust and modular mechanics, particularly adaptable to restricted areas, allowing quick and easy label change and accepting label rolls with wide diameter (i.e. 300 mm) for a long operating time and speed even up to 30 m/min. High performance labelers for pressure sensitive labels, however, are designed to be inserted in packaging lines where speed and ease of use are a primary need, ensuring accurate positioning even at high speeds. Labelers are controlled by a microprocessor with touch-screen display that shows contemporaneously the frequently used parameters and allows the management of highly advanced functions relieving the operator of complex mechanical adjustments and greatly speeding up the operations for format changing. They are equipped with adjustable speed of label application, format storage and automatic recovery of missing labels, alarm when the roll finishes or the paper breaks, control of effected labeling, serial PC interface capability. As an option, many labelers offer a wider diameter roll (also 400 mm), with major rates of labels per minute (even up to 900), while maintaining very high positioning accuracy, even in case of transit speed variation of the product. These labelers are particularly suitable for heavy workloads and especially in applications where the use of printers / markers and related controls is expected. There are also systems of pressure sensitive labels’ printing and applying, interfaced with computers that are able to apply the just printed label on stationary or moving products at any point and at any linear speed. Labelers can be air-jet, with or without piston, for labeling moving products without contact; by piston, for contact-labeling steady products, also in hollow areas; roll labelers for contact- labeling products that move at high speed; multi- format roll labelers, for contact- labeling moving products, even with labels of different sizes; rotating-arm labelers for labeling steady or moving products on the front, back and/or angle. There are also systems of pallet labeling able to print and apply labels on two consecutive sides of a pallet (normally front and side), or three (front + side + back) also on pallets of different sizes thanks to labelers with rotating arms. Finally a system that uses adhesive material without silicon coating has been created , with more advantages than the more common pressure sensitive label: first, a significantly lower label cost, no waste of material (the silicon one , among other things, is difficult to recycle), longer run time between each roll change (more than double). These label printing and applying systems allow rates varying from 20 to 80 labels / min depending on the size of the label.
Pressure sensitive labels
There are different types of pressure sensitive labels, including:
– No label look, labels that are virtually invisible, integrated with packaging. They are made of ultra-transparent synthetic materials (ideal for bottles and glass jars), super fast inks, shockproof, adhesives resistant to pasteurization and liner (silicon coating) for high-speed applications;
– Holographic, on which three-dimensional images are depicted and characterized by sense of depth, for unique images that are difficult to reproduce or counterfeit. In fact without the original matrix of holographic printing, it is virtually impossible to reproduce an identical copy of an original hologram, except with very high costs that make its counterfeiting inconvenient.
– Without liner: it is a roll of continuous pressure sensitive material, liner- free (silicone coating) cut by suitable labeling machines during application when defining the label format. Very popular on the market as it meets all needs for its possibility of application on top, on two sides, on three sides and a 360 ° wrap on uneven and non-rigid surfaces, it is particularly requested in foodstuff packaging: fresh food, meat, fish, coffee, bottles, glass jars, multi-packs, bundles. At the same diameter, a roll of liner-less material contains up to 110% labels more than the traditional material drastically reducing downtime and the intervention of operators for the rolls’ replacement;
– Multi-page pressure sensitive label: it increases product visibility and impact on the store because it provides additional space for product promotions, such as coupons, contests, information to the consumer and much more, such as scratch cards, removable stickers, thermochromic inks, watermarks and security holograms, magnetic or scented inks.