Each month we feature an informative article on the technical side of our print and apply and pre-printed labeling automation solutions. This month’s Tech Topic, provided by Tyler Anderson, Label Support/Sales Manager at Panther Industries, covers the importance of label quality and how it can impact your labeling automation system.
Label Support/Sales Manager
Years at Panther Industries: 4
Hometown: Winter Park, Colorado
Favorite Movie: Pulp Fiction
Why is the quality of labels used in a labeling automation system so critical to its performance?
Poor quality labels used in any labeling automation system can present significant issues that lead to unnecessary downtime, expense, and/or misdirected packages.
Ultimately, end users are looking for reliability and consistency. This means their products, packages, or items receive their labels as expected, every time. The last thing a customer wants is a label that repeatedly jams their applicator, peels away unexpectedly, or has poor print quality where the pre or post-printed information is streaky, mis-registered, or illegible.
Our customers expect our labeling automation systems to be consistent and of the utmost quality, so the label stock that you’re using in our systems should be as well.
What aspects of label quality should be considered when selecting a label stock provider for your operations?
Speaking specifically to the print and apply environment, there are three main areas to consider when finding the right label provider for your systems – die strikes, label adhesion, and paper quality.
We covered this particular aspect of label quality in a previous blog post and how die strikes can have a significant impact on your labeling automation system.
During the label manufacturing process, die strikes occur when enough pressure cuts through the adhesive label material, but not into the thin layer of silicone on the label lining material. If too much die pressure is used, the adhesive from the back of the label material can creep into the lining material and inhibit the label from separating from the lining. This can be problematic during labeling automation, manifesting issues in a couple of different ways:
- The label only partially separates from the lining and causes a jam within the applicator or print engine.
- The label doesn’t separate and remains completely on the lining, feeding all the way to the takeup roll.
If you are having these types of issues with your current label stock, we recommend that you click the link above to see how you can perform a simple test to see if they have excessive die strikes or not. If you find that your labels experience this, reach out and we’ll help you acquire better label stock.
If a label adhesive is of poor quality, the label will obviously peel away (or completely fall off) unexpectedly after the label has been applied to the item. This can lead to various problems in a print-on-demand environment:
- Items are not being scanned correctly due to the label curling, folding, or tearing and not being presented properly to a scanner or camera.
- An item’s label falls off and is diverted, causing unnecessary redundancy and fulfillment delays so the item can be re-labeled. And, labels that fall off can congregate and clog critical areas (e.g., sorters, conveyors, or other machinery) that cause downtime for stray material cleanup and removal.
In any of these instances, your operations are impacted since the items are not distributed to the intended location or recipient, causing unnecessary delays, returns, or waste. That negatively affects your bottom line.
The quality of paper used for labels in labeling automation is another critical component to consider. The imprint on your label stock – whether the information is preprinted or printed on demand – should be clear and legible for a variety of circumstances.
For print-on-demand shipping information, barcodes, UPC codes, or other tracking information, this information is scanned to communicate critical information within your operations to ensure the item is passed on to the correct location. This means print quality is paramount so that it is not only legible, but it holds up over time so the items reaches its ultimate destination.
Whether your label requirements are direct thermal, thermal transfer, or preprinted labels that receive additional, on-demand printed content, utilizing quality label stock is an essential part of the labeling automation process.
Speaking of quality labels, read on…
How can Panther Industries assist in helping your operations acquire the best quality label stock for your needs?
Now that we are part of ProMach, we have direct access to our own label converters strategically placed throughout the United States and Canada (seven, in fact). Our domestic label converting plants are located in California, Georgia, New Hampshire, Texas, and Wisconsin, with other facilities located in Canada.
These facilities offer state-of-the-art production with quality stock and custom labels, no matter your need:
- Flexographic printing, up to 10 colors
- High volume production of blank and shell labels
- Digital labels via HP Indigo systems
- Warehouse/barcode labels
- Synthetic labels, ideal for use in high technology products and harsh environments
- Hybrid printing – flexographic presses, equipped with digital heads for adding variable data and barcodes
In addition, our labels come with some special added-value features such as:
- Lifetime Equipment Warranty
In many cases, we offer a limited hardware warranty for our customer’s labeling equipment for as long as our labels are used.
- Clear Leaders and Trailers
We can remove the labels from both the start and end of the label rolls. This makes loading the labels easier and also allows fast detection of the end of the label roll.
- Label/Ribbon Kits
For customers using thermal transfer technology, we can provide kits with labels and ribbons of matched length. This ensures that labels and ribbons can both be replenished at the same time, reducing the need for additional stops.
For more information on how we can provide you with the exact labels you need, at competitive pricing, please contact us at Panther.LabelsandRibbon@promachbuilt.com. Our team of labeling professionals will follow your label order through production and shipping to ensure your order is fast and accurate.
For any service or support-related issues related to your Panther Industries print and apply or pre-printed labeling automation systems, please contact us at Panther.Service@ProMachBuilt.com or toll-free at 800-530-6018, x120. To order parts, please contact us at Panther.Parts@ProMachBuilt.com or toll-free at 800-530-6018, x175