Been There, Labeled That -- Weber's Blog on Labels

Chris Erbach

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The Best Zebra Label Printers by Industry

Posted by Chris Erbach

Dec 6, 2018 11:53:00 AM

 

Choosing the right label printer depends on how you’ll be using it, including your specific industry and application.

In this quick overview, our label printing experts at Weber Packaging Solutions break down the best Zebra label printers by industry, to help you make the right choice and get the best results.

Manufacturing

Label printing in manufacturing is often fast and high-volume, with a need for extremely durable printers that can withstand extreme temperatures, dust, dirt, or other tough environmental factors.  Sometimes you also need higher print quality to support smaller labels, improve scannability, and meet compliance requirements.

In these cases, the best options are Zebra’s ZT600 or ZT400 Series industrial printers, which print at higher speeds with greater quality than desktop printers. They achieve speeds of up to 14 inches per second with print resolution of up to 600 dots per inch (dpi). Zebra also offers models with optional RFID labeling functionality.

Zebra’s ZT printers are manufactured with all-metal components and built-in thermal management, so they also withstand the harshest environments, including extreme heat and cold, dust, dirt, and humidity.

If you need a print-and-apply system that labels as products, materials, or shipments move through production processes, a Zebra ZE500 print engine is also an option. Zebra’s print engines can print labels with up to 300 dpi resolution at up to 12 inches per second, including labels of 4.09 or 6.6 inches in width.

Transportation and Logistics

In transportation and logistics, workflows can involve everything from warehousing to yard and terminal operations, fleet management, and delivery services. In these cases, it’s often best to use a combination of different Zebra printer types depending on each area and workflow.

For example, in the busiest warehouses, Zebra ZT Series industrial printers may be the best option for fast, reliable printing in an extremely durable device. They integrate and connect easily with mobile devices and apps, making it easy to print from virtually anywhere.

Smaller desktop printers, such as Zebra’s ZD620 and ZD420 Series devices, may also be a good fit, especially when you need a printer that fits into smaller workspaces such as a desk area or rolling workstation.

However, if you need truly mobile printing, Zebra’s ZQ600 and ZQ500 Series mobile printers are the industry standard. They offer exceptional durability with a rugged military-grade design, and they deliver fast, reliable printing in a lightweight, wearable, or handheld device. You can print labels and receipts inside or outside the four walls, with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other connectivity options.

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Topics: Zebra label printers, Zebra ZT600 printers, Industrial tabletop label printer, RFID label printer


5 Ways the Zebra ZE500 Improves Your Label Print-Apply Operation

Posted by Chris Erbach

Nov 29, 2018 11:28:15 AM

 

When you have packages to label and orders to fulfill, the last thing you want is a breakdown in your print-and-apply equipment or headaches when it comes to setting up, adjusting, and maintaining your system.

Fortunately, you can avoid these problems and upgrade your aging or underperforming systems by upgrading to Zebra’s ZE500 Series print engines.

In this quick overview, we’ll take a look at the ZE500 Series and five ways that it will help you improve your print-and-apply operations and keep them running smoothly.

  1. Durable, Uninterrupted Performance

In packaging applications, it’s all about high-volume printing and labeling, often in tough environments where debris, dust, and even water might be present. Thankfully, Zebra continues to set the bar for label printer durability with ZE500 Series print engines, which are engineered without the need for cooling fans and with an external cabinet that’s impervious to debris, dust, and even washdowns with water.

ZE500 print engines also feature industrial all-metal constructions, so components can easily withstand the most demanding print requirements and environments.

  1. Easy to Set Up and Use

Problems with print-and-apply systems often start with printers that are difficult to set up. Zebra’s ZE500 print engines make things much easier with a large, graphical display and a simple five-button menu. The display can be rotated or remotely located up to two meters away with an optional kit, so it’s easily accessible for even unusual mounting. The applicator IO is the same for 5V and 24V, so you can just simply switch jumpers to convert.

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Topics: Zebra label printers, Zebra ZE500 print engine, ZE-500, print engines


Keeping Food Safety and Quality as the Number One Ingredient

Posted by Chris Erbach

Nov 19, 2018 11:48:47 AM

 


The rural town of Stewartville, Minnesota, holds one of the best kept secrets when it comes to salad dressings. But that secret is getting out through sales at Walmart and other major area retailers. 

The small but mighty Jimmy’s Salad Dressing & Dips (www.jimmysdressing.com) has built up a strong following and continues to grow their distribution each year. We recently visited Operations Manager, Sam Slightam, and SQF Practitioner & Office Coordinator, Abby Rager, to get the full story on the production and packaging of these tasty treats.

Jimmy’s is best known for their salad dressings which include Thousand Island, Blue Cheese, Ranch, Sweet & Sour, Coleslaw and more. They also make Ranch Vegetable, Dill Vegetable, Spinach, Taco and HolySmoke! dips along with Tartar Sauce and Caramel Dips. These products can be found in the refrigerated sections of the produce aisle at Walmarts and other grocery stores throughout the Midwest primarily in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Their story all began back in 1958 when Sam’s grandfather, Jimmy, and his wife, Ella, opened a restaurant called the Fish House in Stewartville, MN. Over time, Jimmy grew tired of the available salad dressing on the market and decided to make his own. He came up with a fresh, flavorful, creamy dressing that was a hit. The local patrons loved the handmade dressings and wanted to buy some to take home with them. Jimmy started hand-packing his “Fish House” salad dressing for home use and the legend grew. Soon local grocers wanted to carry the Fish House salad dressing in their stores.

Then, in 1990, Jimmy’s son Tom purchased the salad dressing business, officially naming it “Jimmy’s Salad Dressing & Dips” as a tribute to his father.  Watch a video about Jimmy’s.

With the tag line, “Homemade Taste. Hometown Goodness.”, Jimmy’s has always been dedicated to producing the highest quality dressings and dips. And it’s very apparent when you see their production facility in Stewartville, MN. The best fresh ingredients are used to create original recipes. Products are sourced locally to support the community and to maintain consistent quality. The products are made in small batches, one flavor per day, to maximize freshness and stringent food quality guidelines.

One of the most important steps taken on the road to their success has been getting SQF certified. The SQF (Safe Quality Food) Program is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and links primary production certification to food manufacturing, distribution and agent/broker management certification. Administered by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), SQF benefits from continual retailer feedback about consumer concerns. This allows your customers to have confidence in your food safety program and know that you have a rigorous food safety system in place.

Jimmy’s continued success had created a need to automate their production and packaging line to keep up with demand. In the past, up to 1000 cartons a day had to be hand-labeled before production could begin. For a small company, this is a very labor-intensive and time consuming job. 


Their production line recently added automated labeling equipment to help speed things up and adhere to the requirements of Walmart’s PTI (Product Traceability Initiative) GS1 regulations. Jimmy’s needed to add a GS1-128 bar code label to adjacent sides of every carton of salad dressing. Walmart needs this for tracking store inventory, food safety and recall, effective quality control, faster receiving , and to measure supplier performance. 

Working through Viking Plastic Packaging, they chose a Weber Model 5300 Twin-Tamp label printer-applicator that prints and applies labels to the front and side panels of each cartons passing on the conveyor. 

The label formats for each product were created by Abby Rager using Weber’s Legitronic Labeling Software and are stored in a database where they can be easily retrieved and sent to the label printer-applicator for each run. It was important to make sure the label formats conformed to the FDA requirements. These 4” x 4” labels also include the lot code, expiration date, product information, and Jimmy’s logo. The use of GTIN-128 barcode labels allow the end user to track shipments and usage with easily-read bar code labels. 

“Our SQF certification has allowed our customers to have confidence in Jimmy’s knowing we will provide them with a safe, quality products that have been produced in a facility that meets the SQF standards,” said Abby. 

“The Weber labeler has created an additional tool to utilize within our day-to-day operation of our SQF Program which has led to increased productivity,” she added.

Jimmy’s will be using Weber’s 4” x 4” Transprint 425 All Temperature labels to ensure adherence in cold, damp refrigerated conditions in their warehouse and in reefer trucks during shipment. The combination of Weber’s labels, ribbons and 5300 twin-tamp conform 100% to the ISO 15416 quality regulations.

During production, the jars are topped-off at the filler and sealed securely. Shrink-sleeve labels are put in place and the jars go through a heat tunnel to fit the sleeves tightly. The jars are then hand-loaded into cartons that are fed into a taper to close them. The cartons proceed down the line to the label print-apply system that labels the carton on two sides with the current batch information. 

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Topics: Food Labels, GS1 labeling, food safety


Best Practices For Thermal Label Printer Maintenance

Posted by Chris Erbach

Nov 12, 2018 3:05:50 PM

There are some simple things you can do to keep your labels printers running in top form. Good maintenance is critical to keeping your thermal printers running properly and avoiding expensive repairs or replacements. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to avoid downtime and unnecessary costs with proper thermal printer maintenance.

Here are the five things you should be doing regularly to maximize your printer lifespan and return on investment:

 


  1. Clean Your Printhead

You should clean your printhead every time you replace the ribbon or a roll of labels, and, ideally, you should also clean the printhead between these replacements. Cleaning takes as little as one minute each time, but it can save you thousands of dollars in unnecessary printhead replacements.

If you’re using a Zebra thermal printer, follow the instructions in your user manual and use the right type of cleaning solvent and materials for your model. If you need a Zebra printer cleaning kit, you can get one from our team at Weber Packaging.


 

  1. Clean Other Printer Areas

Always inspect the interior of your printer after changing rolls. Remove any particles, dust, or residue from the previous roll by using a soft bristle, duster, or vacuum cleaner. If your printer operates in a hash or dirty environment, pay special attention to cleaning these surfaces often.

Also remember to clean other installed accessories, such as a label cutter.

You should also clean your printer’s outside surfaces using a lint-free cloth. Use a mild detergent for external residue and avoid abrasives and harsh chemicals or solvents.


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Topics: Zebra label printers, Zebra ZT600 printers, Industrial tabletop label printer, RFID label printer


Brains to Match the Brawn: Zebra's ZT600 Series Industrial Printers

Posted by Chris Erbach

Nov 6, 2018 9:00:02 AM

 

Until now, industrial printers were limited in intelligence and adaptability. They’ve been impossible to upgrade in the field and often difficult to integra

te and connect with some of the latest apps, devices, or communications protocols. But all of that has changed with Zebra Technologies’ new ZT600 Series industrial printers.

The ZT600 Series is an ultra-rugged, durable, and reliable barcode and RFID printer that combines the brawn of an industrial-strength device with next-generation brains and adaptability. The end result is a future-proof printing solution that’s far easier to integrate, operate, and upgrade.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the many breakthrough improvements Zebra has unveiled with the ZT600 Series.

24/7 Reliability in the Harshest Environments

Like the unbeatable Xi4 Series that came before it, Zebra’s ZT600 Series printers are built to withstand the most demanding industrial environments and print high volumes of labels with superior print quality and speed.

Each printer is manufactured with all-metal structural components, built-in thermal management, and high-quality print mechanisms to ensure continuous, extremely reliable performance in the most demanding industrial applications.

Highly Adaptable, Future-Ready Design

ZT600 Series printers are available in 4” and 6” print widths with optional UHF RFID. They also support field-installable media handling options such as a label cutter and rewinder, and you can even upgrade your printer with RFID encoding capabilities without sending it in for servicing.

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Topics: Zebra label printers, Zebra ZT600 printers, Industrial tabletop label printer, RFID label printer


Urban Growler Brewing For Growth in St. Paul

Posted by Chris Erbach

Jul 25, 2018 11:13:45 AM

 

“It’s all about the community and how we bring people together through beer,” said co-founder and Master Brewer Deb Loch.

Celebrating their fourth anniversary in business, Deb and co-founder Jill Pavlak have been slowly building their brewery through quality products and local participation. Urban Growler (www.urbangrowlerbrewing.com) was opened in July 2014 when Deb and Jill combined their talents and passion to create outstanding beer, food and a welcoming space for the community.

And their brand tag line says it all: “We’re Beer For You!”

As Minnesota’s first female-owned brewery, they had many challenges getting their vision in place. But with the help of friends, family and even total strangers, Urban Growler became a reality. Their patrons believed in the founders vision and their support helped get one of the hottest new breweries off the ground. Now that spirit is being repaid with a company that is there for the community.

The brewery, located at 2325 Endicott St. in St. Paul, Minnesota, features a warm, welcoming taproom, on-location kitchen and an outdoor beer garden. There are also indoor retail spaces that can be rented for hosting meetings, weddings, and local social gatherings.

But one of the most interesting things about Urban Growler is the building itself. This century-old brick and timber space was once home to the St. Paul Police horse stables back in the late 1800’s. After that tenure, it became a manufacturing facility for wooden skis and hockey sticks (after all, this IS Minnesota) as well as other warehousing in later years. The designers for Urban Growler did an awesome job of resurrecting the true character of the old building while adding a few modern updates for comfort and accessibility.

The brewery is looking to output 2000 barrels this year, up from about 1250 last year. Their flagship brews include traditional beers like their CowBell Cream Ale, Midwest IPA and their De-Lovely Porter. They also brew an interesting Kentucky Uncommon Ale and a “West-Coast-hops-meets-East-Coast-maltiness” Golden Hammer IPA. All Urban Growler flagship beers are lovingly handcrafted in 10-barrel batches under the close supervision of Master Brewer Deb.

But one of the best things about being a small brewery is that you can brew small batches and experiment with limited releases. Last year, Urban Growler brewed over 40 different beers, some as small as half-barrel experiments! Most of these end up in the taproom where their popularity is voted on by their customers’ consumption. The more popular winners then might end up as a seasonal or limited release for distribution in cans.

Lately much of their focus has been on a concept that they call “Plow to Pint®”. They have found that people would rather drink locally and that they appreciate locally sourced products. For this endeavor, Urban Growler uses ingredients harvested from farmers in the area to create unique beers with a distinct twist. Some of the recent favorites include Blueberry Wheat featuring blueberries harvested from a family-owned farm in Princeton, MN, and an Oak Aged Imperial Ale with Frontenac Grapes that used classic oak barrels and Frontenac grapes gown outside Red Wing, MN. They are currently working with the Rainforest Alliance in Guatemala and the University of Minnesota to create a collaboration brew using the sustainable ramon nut. Not your ordinary Stout.

While most of the flagship beers at Urban Growler are filled by a Wild Goose system into preprinted cans bought in bulk, these new small batch creations are getting canned and labeled using pressure-sensitive custom-designed labels. This allows the brewery to be more flexibile while doing a small batch economically and using eye-catching designs for their new brews.

Urban Growler has been canning approximately 150 cases of their small batch seasonals every few months. But because of their success, they are now looking to ramp things up to 250-case batches of their special beers once a month. To do this, the brewery had to invest in a new automated labeling system.

After much research and a few false starts, they happened to find Weber Packaging Solutions online. They contacted Weber whose local rep came out to see what the best solution would be for Urban Growler. The brewery was growing and would need to be able to scale up to the larger brew runs at higher speeds in the future. Reliability was key to a new system and it had to be easy for the staff to operate.

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Topics: Label Applicators, Labeling Systems, beer labeling system, craft beer label ebook, craft beer label materials, craft beer labels, craft beer can labels, beer can labeling system


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