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!