Heat-shrink tunnels can effectively process labels, sleeves, or bands that conform to container shapes, offering companies packaging benefits ranging from tamper-evidence to 360-degree coverage, from brilliant graphics to efficient product flow. By automating what could be a time-consuming process of hand-shrinking bands via the use of hot-air guns, these devices offer tremendous labor savings and consistent product appearance. But not all heat tunnels are the same. Various types offer different benefits and realizing the strengths of each type—convective heat, radiant heat, and steam heat—will enable companies to pair their needs to the right machine. Read more about these different types of heat tunnels in the white paper below.
Today, eCommerce companies are challenged to quickly fulfill orders. Next-day and even same-day delivery are no longer perks for eCommerce consumers, they are expectations. Consumers are demanding more choices, and are willing to change brand allegiance to get better value and service. To remain competitive, every step in the eCommerce fulfillment process must be handled accurately, efficiently, and quickly to maintain a positive customer experience. Learn how one online fulfillment company has mastered this challenge by integrating smart conveying automation and devices into their packaging line.
Labels are one of the most important aspects of the packaging industry. Labels are essential because not only do they provide information, but they showcase a brand and help it move across the supply chain. An effective label will creatively highlight what the product is, provide necessary information for the consumer, and will stand out from other products on the shelf. A label should fit the product, fit the package on which it is adhered to, and be able to withstand the rigors of the packing and shipping process.
There are questions one should ask when considering the correct type of label for the product, as there are a range of variables. Questions such as:
- What is being labeled? For instance, what is the size, shape, and material of the product?
- How many labels will be applied to the product? To the case? To the pallet?
- Where is the label being placed on the product? On the case? On the pallet?
- Where is the labeling machine going on the production line?
- What is the product environment, such as, is there moisture or residue on the surface of the application?
- What is the temperature and climate where the label is being applied?
- Are there any regulatory requirements that each label must follow?
- Are there shipping guidelines or requirements that the case or pallet must follow?
Once these questions have been answered, the next step is to determine the correct type of machinery to label the primary and secondary packaging. ProMach has multiple product brands that offer labeling machines to meet a wide range of needs. Chances are, if you have a container, package, case, tray, or pallet, a ProMach product brand can label it. To show just how broad the ProMach labeling equipment portfolio is, we’ve created a labeling matrix of our comprehensive capabilities from each of our product brands. Due to the extent of available solutions, with each having its ideal use case scenarios, we will be featuring a series of blog posts highlighting these labeling capabilities to ultimately help as a guide to those in need. The first type of labeler we will be highlighting is the most prominent and popular on the market – pressure sensitive.
Pressure sensitive labels, also known as self-adhesive labels, are one of the most popular labels because the adhesive material allows for a label to be pressure applied to almost every kind of glass, plastic, paper, or corrugated packaging surface. The label itself is made of five layers: the liner, release coat, adhesive, facestock, and topcoat. There are options to choose from for these layers, such as paper or film for liner, paper, film or foil for the facestock, and topcoat material which can come in gloss, UV coating, or laminates. Adhesives also come in a variety of different options which can be chosen depending on the requirements of the label, such as permanent, removable, cold temperature-resistant, or water soluble. The methods of applying pressure sensitive labels include direct transfer (roll-on or wipe-on), tamp application, and air-jet (air-applied, air-blow, etc.). Because of all these specifications and variations in label and application, it is important to take into account the size, material, and shape of what is being labeled, what speed is needed to apply the label, and what length of time the label adhesive will be needed to stick to determine the exact machine that will adhere the label to the product.
ProMach product brands offer various types of pressure sensitive labeling machines: stand-alone labeling heads, linear and linear trunnion labelers, rotary labelers, print and apply labelers, weigh price labelers, as well as digital printing. Which is chosen is based on necessary labeling requirements for the product and its desired output.
A pressure sensitive stand-alone labeling head is a budget friendly, versatile labeler that can be a stand-alone feature or can be integrated into a complete packaging system. Typically, labeling heads are mounted on a portable stand, enabling them to move quickly and easily from one location to another as needed to maximize productivity. These labelers have vertical and horizontal capabilities and can still run labels at wide range of speeds. These labelers are a great option for production lines with space concerns, start-up companies, or production lines that already have efficient product handling.
A pressure sensitive linear (or inline) labeler has many benefits and can be a simple solution for many primary packaging label applications. These labeling machines are rectangular in shape and have a smaller footprint than other label applicators, which make them ideal for packaging lines that require less space. These machines are also easy to maintain and traditionally have a low price point, making it a great labeler option for companies in the beginning stages of production, needing to operate at low to medium speeds. The labels applied can have creative designs in full color, or simple black and white. Linear labelers can apply labels to the front and back of many differently shaped products, such as round or square containers. Linear labelers can also feature trunnion systems for labeling specific shapes, such as vials or cylinder containers, often at high speeds. In such cases, containers are held from their vertical surface using a trunnion roller system for maximum label skew control. However, regardless of technology, linear labelers cannot apply wrap around labels.
Pressure sensitive rotary labelers are the more robust, flexible option when it comes to label applications for primary packaging. If the product needs orienting, multiple labels, wrap around labels, and/or requires fast speeds to meet high output, the rotary labeler is the machine for the job. In a rotary labeler system, bottles enter a star wheel and are transported on a continuously rotating carousel where the product is rotated on bottle plates and labeled at different position points. These machines can run at high speed rates, such as 600 packages per minute (ppm), with servo motors aiding in the orientation process. Rotary labels can be equipped with up to 8 different labeling stations and can apply labels at different positions such as neck, belly, back, and top. Consequently, these machines are often much larger than linear machines and have a more substantial footprint within a packaging line.
Pressure sensitive weigh price labelers are an attractive option for flexible, accurate, and simple labeling for high-speed continuous motion weight labeling of items such as meat and cheese, as well as other price-by-weight primary packaging items. These machines are modular and can be easily upgraded to fully automatic equipment, offering flexible machinery for production. These labelers can come in a variety of sizes, which can be used for grocery retailers in the meat or bakery departments or can be included in a robust packaging line.
Pressure sensitive digital printing, also called print on demand, is a compact stand-alone system for primary packaging that offers flexibility and control, designed specifically for demanding print requirements. Full labels are printed entirely on demand from blank label rollstock in full color or simple black and white in desired quantities at time of need, omitting changeovers for limited runs and excess storage for numerous SKUs. For companies who have multiple products to label, multiple label configurations, multiple languages and more, digital printing can simplify logistics and offer quick turnaround time for printing.
Pressure sensitive print and apply labelers are best used for secondary packaging, such as cases, trays, stretch-wrapped pallets, etc. The labels are printed from a roll as the product is labeled which allows for variable information such as time specific applications, bar codes, and shipping information to be changed or swapped easily. Print and apply labels typically do not include any branding and are usually standard black and white. Print and apply labelers have a higher speed capability to keep up with more secondary packaging situations.
Pressure sensitive labeling machines are chosen for many major packaging lines because it’s an efficient way to label a product. These labels can be simply created with many custom designs of colors and shapes, making them perfect to display branding, information, and nutritional facts on standard or irregular shapes, from small to large sizes. There are many different materials a pressure sensitive machine can apply labels to across many industries, including processed food products, beverages, fresh produce, nutraceuticals, personal care, pet food, household, red meat, poultry packaging, and more. You’ll see pressure sensitive labels on plastic and glass bottles, jars, clam shells, and other packaging in all retail settings. Look around at any grocery or convenience store and you will see many labels that have been printed and applied with a pressure sensitive label. You’ll also find pressure sensitive labelers tailored specifically for the pharmaceutical industry, which require government regulations, and ProMach product brands NJM and Weiler Labeling Systems specialize in labeling these specific products such as vials, syringes, bottles, and more.
ProMach product brands have labeling equipment options for most pressure sensitive needs. P.E. Labellers, PackLab, ID Technology, EPI, Ossid and pharmaceutical product brands NJM and WLS, each have a labeling application that can outfit a need for pressure sensitive applications, as shown in the graph above. Depending on the specific requirements when labeling a product, any of these ProMach product brands can assist in creating the perfect labeled product.
With the spread of the coronavirus, it’s no surprise disinfectant products (including common household cleaners) are flying off the shelves. And, while the virus is an unfortunate situation that continues to plague our world, the focus on maintaining a clean and sanitary space has never been greater.
Fortunately, ProMach, across its spectrum of product brands, has a lot of experience supporting packaging lines that produce all sorts of disinfectants and household cleaners. From filling disinfectant solutions into bottles to shrink-wrap bundling multi-pack disinfectant wipes, and from wrapping labels in a variety of ways onto different sized containers to packing cases of bottles, the proven examples run deep! Basically, if the customer can produce the product, ProMach most likely has every packaging application available to get the product out the door to retail outlets.
Bleach is a great example of a disinfectant product that ProMach is able to provide packaging solutions from beginning to end of line. This popular product, and derivations of it, is out of stock just as quickly as it is coming in. Thus, companies are needing to ramp up production goals to help keep supply in balance with the heightened demand. On the packaging side of production, a plastic bottle filled with bleach has packaging specifications from filling, capping, bottling unscrambling, bottle orienting, shrink or stretch sleeving (or other primary labeling), conveying, bundling, case sealing, palletizing, stretch wrapping, and more.
More specifically, take for instance prepping a load of unused bottles/containers that are needing to get filled. Pace works with the manufacturers of bleach to design and build bottle unscramblers that help get them organized and onto the line in the upright position. Moving down the line to filling, accuracy is often a top concern for these packaging lines. Pacific manufacturers top-fill nozzles with displacement style automatic shutoff valves that provide accuracy and high production capacity for non-foamy liquids. When zero drip is required, Pacific incorporates a nozzle-based vacuum system into both top fill and bottom-up fill nozzles. Zalkin’s high-performance capping system effectively and efficiently applies caps to the bottles. Using custom conveyance systems built by Benchmark, bottles carefully make their way to case sealing, where Wexxar Bel provides various levels of automation to bring in and form the boxes necessary to transport cases of bleach. With the help of Dekka’s tapeheads alongside Wexxar Bel’s equipment, proper seals are applied to the top and bottom, which is especially important for heavier products, such as with multiple bottles of bleach.
Of course, as mentioned earlier, the packaging solutions for bleach are not the only solutions that ProMach offers for the disinfectant industry. There’s a lot! This is why ProMach has created a campaign surrounding all the capabilities they provide for the disinfectant industry, called the We Do That for the Disinfectants Industry. With that, ProMach has tried to make the learning process quicker and easier by narrowing in on the most applicable solutions for the disinfectant industry and highlighting them on a dedicated website. We invite you to check out the website here to learn about the many parts of the packaging line that are handled by a ProMach product brand. And, be sure to be on the lookout for We Do That for the Disinfectants Industry images across all the social media sites, especially LinkedIn, which try to share relevant industry data and stories. Some past examples can be spotted here. Packaging solutions across all aspects of the packaging line for the disinfectants industry, at ProMach #WeDoThat!
During these unprecedented times, it is of utmost importance to keep packaging lines moving, especially for manufacturers of essential consumer packaged goods (CPGs). There’s no way around it. Without it, goods can’t be protected, bundled, and boxed for shipment, or properly tracked for destination fulfillment, and the list goes on. From a CEO in the thick of things leading a packaging equipment manufacturing company, Mark Anderson feels it is his civic duty to do his part in helping uphold the supply chain. As he states on a recent UnPACKED podcast episode (Episode #21) hosted by PMMI, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute, “ProMach is a Tier-1 vendor to the consumer product industry and it’s our responsibility to try and keep the businesses running as much as we possibly can.”
What’s considered essential in CPGs isn’t exactly clear-cut and dry, but there’s no denying the list is long, having much to do with household staples that support human health, hygiene, and general comfort. In supporting the fight against COVID-19, major general merchandise retailers such as Amazon have committed to prioritizing the stocking and delivery of high-demand products. Their definition incorporates the categories of “Baby Products,” “Health & Household,” “Beauty & Personal Care,” “Grocery,” “Industrial & Scientific,” and “Pet Supplies.” But in the end, no matter what definition is followed, there’s a lot at stake. Especially in the food and beverage and pharmaceutical categories where product security means everything. Flexible packaging, for instance, protects products that consumers use every day. In an article released by the FPA (Flexible Packaging Association), it points out that these include hermetically sealed food and beverage products such as cereal, bread, frozen meals, infant formula, and juice; as well as sterile health and beauty items and pharmaceuticals, such as aspirin, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, and disinfecting wipes. Even packaging for pet food uses flexible packaging to deliver fresh and healthy meals to a variety of animals.
And on top of that, now more than ever before, product lines outfitted for household staples and medical supplies must be running at peak performance in order to meet the surge in demand and help as many people as possible. That’s a lot of line pressure!
How essential are the business operations of a packaging equipment manufacturer? To give you an idea, here’s anecdotal evidence: Pharmaworks, a ProMach product brand and leading provider of blister packaging technology for the pharmaceutical, consumer goods, and contract packaging industries, received a call in late March from a pharma company using a competitive machine. The machine was down and they needed aftermarket support and new parts in a hurry. Without hesitation, the Pharmaworks team jumped into action. To source everything needed for this particular machine, they dug deep as these parts were hard to come by, especially since this machine didn’t originate from them. In exhausting all options for quick turnaround, they identified a few previous machine rebuilds they could repurpose, and the team was able to come away with everything needed that would allow the customer to get their machine operational overnight. And, as it turns out, the machine packaged a drug in the testing phase to treat the COVID-19 virus.
Additionally, a lot of companies are now changing up their production lines either by choice, force, or necessity to help battle the pandemic. Filling liquid hand sanitizer into bottles and flexible pouches that once were lines for perfumes and alcoholic beverages, for example, is our current reality, and these production lines require a service technician and engineering support for their changeovers and adjustments.
- To hear more of PMMI’s UnPACKED podcast, click here. The UnPACKED podcast also has many more great episodes interviewing other packaging company CEOs and leaders who are experiencing and carefully maneuvering through these difficult yet ever-critical business operations.
- While ProMach remains committed to helping customers keep their packaging lines up and running during this critical time, the business always prioritizes the safety and protection of their employees. View ProMach’s official Coronavirus (COVID-19) update here.