Labels Need a Shape
Nearly all the labels we produce are die cut to a specific shape. Some are simple rectangles, but many are custom shapes. Regardless of the specific shape nearly all our labels to through the process of high speed rotary die cutting before they get to the customer.
Engraved Dies for Long Life
Many of our labels use very flexible, in expensive magnetic dies now. Our off line die cutter used for digital production uses only magnetic dies. Check out the video of this machine here. Even with this rapid growth, engraved (solid) dies are still very popular and useful on our longer run flexographic label presses.
Across and Around
Because the die image is engraved on the rotary tool, we can’t change the orientation on press. The die can only run in one direction on the roll. Once the label is removed from the backing, you can turn it any direction for hand application, but if you are machine applying your labels, then the run direction is critical. Nobody wants labels upside down on their bottle! For clarity, we always refer to the ACROSS and AROUND dimension on a roll label. This image shows the difference, so please be sure your labels are oriented the correct way.
Call Us Today – We Can Help
With 90 years in business and millions of labels printed, we have thousands of cutting dies to choose from. Sometimes (but not often) we have the same label size running in multiple directions on the roll. If the roll unwind is important to you, please clarify that up front before you design your labels to fit a particular cutting die.
Thank you! Call us at 503-777-4711 today!
Small Rolls are a Pain to Apply!
Many of our wine customers use a mobile bottling service like Signature or Casteel. Mobile bottlers are economical for many reasons, including inline label application. This video shows labels being applied on a Signature bottling line. Because of the speed and cost of these bottling lines, nobody wants down time. One of the things that can kill productivity is having to stop to change a label roll. Therefore, everyone wants rolls as large as possible – often up to 12-14″ in diameter.
Filling the Press Web is Cost Effective
The problem comes with our customers that do many small batches of wine. Some have 3-5 different blocks of grapes that each go into a specific, very special wine. If you only produce 50 cases of something, the label roll will never be very big – but it gets even worse! We try to be as cost effective as possible so we fill the press web (13″ wide paper in the press).
This image of a label in productions shows that we are running the label 3-across the web to save time and money for the customer. The press web is filled, allowing us to print 3 labels at a time. The problem, however, is that this results in even smaller rolls on the bottling line. If you print 900 labels (60 cases of a specialty wine), you will end up with 3 rolls of 300 each and a nightmare on the bottling line.
Wasting Material is Bad for Everyone
Not only does filling the web make the job more cost effective, it also saves the earth by wasting less paper. On our state of the art digital printing press, the machine requires a full 13″ web, regardless of the finished label size. This means if we want to print only one label across the web, we use 3x the paper for the run! And 3x the press time to get the job done. This is wasteful but also more expensive for the customer.
Splices are Bad, too!
Another (bad) option is splicing the three small rolls together. A splice is basically just taping three rolls together. This is bad because these splices frequently break on the bottling line due to high tension on the rolls. And, this also opens the option for a very big problem – accidentally splicing two different items onto the same roll! For these reasons, we don’t recommend splicing these small rolls.
Total Applied Cost
The label job isn’t really done until the label is on the bottle, in the retail store, and sold to a consumer. The cost of packaging is very complicated and much more than just the individual label price. The total applied cost – the final cost of the label on the bottle – is what really matters. For this reason, we have some very specific recommendations for small batch wineries.
You Decide – Our recommendation
Ultimately, the customer decides what is best for their particular situation. But, based on our 92 years of label experience, we strongly suggest you pay a bit more to get full sized rolls, without splices, to maximize your up time on the bottling line. This doesn’t apply to hand applied labels – only machine applied items on a high speed bottling line. Nobody likes to pay extra for labels, or to waste material, but for us, paying a bit more for the label is worth it to keep your total applied cost down.
Questions? Please call us today at 503-777-4711. We look forward to printing for you again very soon!