Going Dottie

It struck me recently that anyone reading Labeling News would probably conclude that our company, Winco Identification, did nothing but the special labeling needed by the Department of Defense. We certainly have some great clients in that market and we have built a pretty good level of expertise over the years. Working with defense contractors to help them improve their labeling processes is an important part of what we do.

As it happens, we also produce special labels for all kinds of industries, from high tech electronics manufactures to food to healthcare. I thought it would be a good idea to feature some of these other applications in Labeling News, so here is the first.

Price Labels (Dots) for Retail.

Day-Glo Price Labels

A lot of businesses, especially bakeries use the bright coloured dots that show the price for all kinds of item.

I thought it would be interesting to show these being produced, an insight into our production system.

Unlike a lot of the high performance labels we make for our DoD and electronics clients, these price labels don’t have to meet demanding specifications. Instead being able to make these labels to meet a very competitive price is one of the most important criteria’

Master rolls ready for production

To keep the manufacturing process as simple as possible we are purchasing master rolls of paper label laminate that is already flood coated to the correct day-glow orange colour.

The width of the rolls allows us to make 4 labels across on our label press.

When it is time for a production run of price labels, the master roll of material is loaded onto the press and the printing plates and die cutting stations are set up.

Die cutting station on printing press

Die cutting station on printing press

Donny, our great press operator, takes great care to set everything up just right and constantly monitors the labels during the production run, ready to make any fine adjustments that might be needed. Our production team makes a very diverse range of labels from tiny Polyimide  labels for printed circuit boards, through Polyester labels for UID labels, to multicoloured flexo printed labels.

In the case of the price labels, from the master roll mounting reel, the label web passes through an unwind station designed to help maintain constant tension and indexing.

Next is the printing station (in this case only a single printing station is used) and then through to the diecutting station. As you can see in the picture, the waste matrix is taken away and wound up separately while the die cut labels are slit into the 4 separate lanes, each of which is rewound to the required diameter.

All the time this is happening, the process is being monitored to ensure that the print quality and the registration remains within the correct limits.

Once the completed rolls of printed and die cut labels are removed from the press, there is one more stage of production.

Every label that we produce goes through an inspection process to ensure that everything is just as it should be.

Inspecting and rewinding

Inspecting and rewinding

During this process the labels are rewound to the roll size that the client has specified.

In the case of the price labels, this can sometimes mean that we are rewinding rolls to be as small as 200 labels – normally a finished roll of this size label would contain several thousand labels. These small rolls mean the process for these labels is much more labour intensive than most of the labels we produce.  Several people in the company have helped out with this process to ensure that we can meet our client’s need for these labels.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into label production.

Do you use labels in your operation? What special needs do you have for your labels?

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