CHALLENGE – Secondary Promotional Label Application that Keeps Up with Production Times
We’ve seen it before: marketing comes up with a brilliant idea for a promotion, but production is forced to reject it due to the constraints it puts on the equipment and the bottom line. PrintFlex was brought in by one of the largest US-based olive producers to bridge the gap between departments – marketing, production, engineering, maintenance – to find the solution for a promising, one-of-a-kind promotional idea.
Our customer was looking for a way to add a promotional label to the top of their olive cans that would stand out on retail shelves, without disrupting the production process. The machines on the production line ran speeds of up to 700 cans per minute and finding a labeling machine that was capable of those speeds seemed near impossible. But the desire and drive to have their olives stand-out among the competition without sacrificing throughput instigated a hunt for the solution.
SOLUTION – A High Speed Top of Can Labeling Solution that Keeps the Line Moving
PrintFlex was up for the challenge though it was a feat few (if any) in the industry were capable of. We brought in a team of engineers and product specialists to develop and test ideas that met the needs of our customer. The first concept applied the promotional secondary label at 50% of production line speed. While it wasn’t exactly what they were looking for, it was the best solution they’d found thus far. That initial concept was put in place, but PrintFlex knew we could improve upon it to better meet the needs of our customer while using the first iteration as a learning opportunity.
Eventually, we found and sourced a new high-speed label applicator that had the ability to keep up with the speed of production. PrintFlex invested in the machine and worked with the client to facilitate test runs and then move it into full production capacity which required additional engineering insight and troubleshooting. When processing up to 700 cans per minute, the machine operator would have to switch out the label rolls or source material around every 7-8 minutes. Printflex advised on utilizing their Dense Pack continuous operation fan-folded material to avoid machine downtime when being reloaded. In meeting their goal of keeping up with production rates, a different issue emerged. Now that the machine was running at full capacity, there were regular problems with the waste rewind wheel’s ability to keep up, which resulted in machine downtime. PrintFlex was able to develop a vacuum-based solution that eliminated the waste issue immediately. Because of the continuous efforts of the Printflex team, they became a trusted solutions partner and have continuously worked to improve and innovate on the labeling process for this customer.
RESULTS – Increased Consumer Response as a Direct Result of Advanced Labeling Capabilities
The client has seen extremely strong results from adding these labels to their packaging. What began as an annual promotion grew to a quarterly production. Today, they’re running these labels almost full time on their products using labeling machines they’ve brought in house. As the relationship evolved, the customer has continued to rely on PrintFlex for additional on-pack communications solutions from flag labels to fold outs and more. PrintFlex proudly stands out as being an end-to-end solutions provider as demonstrated with this customer. Not only were we able to solve their labeling issue, but we also brought together multiple departments and facilitated conversations between what was wanted and what was possible.