Labeling Innovations from Weber

Walmart Renews RFID Mandates

Posted by Chris Erbach

May 23, 2022 9:51:00 AM

 

Back in 2005, Walmart shook up the retail world by requiring its suppliers to start using RFID tracking tags on products that Walmart sold in their stores. It was a bold move that started with about 100 of their top suppliers, 500 stores and 5 distribution centers. But RFID tags were in their infancy and no one had tried to roll out a large scale adoption of the technology yet. 

Even though there was a steep learning curve, suppliers tried to meet the mandate, often with limited success. A year later, the program was extended to 500 suppliers. Label suppliers scrambled to meet demand and work with companies trying to manage the logistics of using the new RFID tags. But the technology was still not fully developed yet, with few guidelines or industry standards. Plus, RFID inlays, the encodable chips layered inside the label or tag, were not always reliable and were costly.

Over the years since Walmart has continued to work with Auburn University RFID Labs and GS1 US to learn more and build it’s RFID program. Both of these organizations provide resources for retail suppliers and other industry stakeholders who need guidance and standards for the growing RFID usage.

The information available is vast, with most manufacturers already using the GS1 standards for their UPC bar codes. RFID tags usually contain information like the price of a product along with the UPC bar code that contains the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) value.


Starting in September 2022, suppliers of home goods products, hardware, and automotive products will need to be using RFID tags.


RFID tags have been in use since the big push in 2005 and further adoption has relied on both manufacturers and retailers accepting the price and standards. Most of the early issues with using RFID tags have been eliminated. Advances in RFID technology have increased the scanning accuracy and sensitivity of the tags to almost 97%, a far cry from years ago. And the costs have come down to about 3 to 5 cents per tag in large quantities. Both of these factors have made RFID label and tags more acceptable and cost-effective for manufacturers and retailers. 

 

In 2020, Walmart started to deploy UHF RFID technology at its store to track apparel products as they were delivered and sold. This allowed them to keep tighter reins of inventory levels and make sure items were always in stock. Employees would use hand-held scanners to read the passive tags and keep track of store items. Walmart reported dramatic results in the ability to maintain product avalabilty which led to improved online order fulfillment and customer satisfaction.

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Topics: RFID, Walmart mandates, RFID labeling, RFID tags


Get the highest quality labels with HD Flexo printing

Posted by Chris Erbach

Apr 28, 2022 1:44:31 PM

Prime decorative labels play a major role in selling your product. The design, the materials and print quality are reflective of your brand and, as they sit on a crowded store shelf, they are quickly being compared to the competition's packaging. To print the highest quality labels, flexographic label converters are moving to HD Flexo printing to produce the boldest and sharpest label images possible on a flexo press.

When you hear HD quality you're probably thinking high-definition television. Much like high-def TV technology increased the clarity of our TV picture, HD Flexo plates are vastly improving print quality in labels. 

What is HD Flexo?

Using Esko's plate making software, the plate making process essentially creates flexographic printing plates that print at the same quality as gravure and offset printing. You'll get more vibrant colors, stronger solids and smoother vignettes. The labels will print sharper images and text with better definition of the screening dots.

We've see the biggest benefit of this type of printing with cosmetic and health & beauty labels because they usually include human faces which can be difficult to print with flexo plates.  It also makes a big difference in image quality for food designs and other labels that contain detailed artwork.

Let's take a look at the difference between the old flexo process and the new HD system below. Notice the smooth edges on the letters and the rounder and clearer dots on the HD Flexo? 

 Here's an example of the difference you'll see with artwork that shows faces. 

 

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Topics: Labels, HD Flexo, label certifications


What is a pressure-sensitive label?

Posted by Chris Erbach

Apr 28, 2022 9:45:00 AM

So you want to know, "What is a pressure sensitive label?" Are they stickers, product identifiers, labels or a component of brand packaging? Yes!  Pressure-sensitive labels are used everywhere from toys, food containers, durable products, medical devices, and corrugated boxes, to craft beer can and bottles, cannabis containers, plastic pouches and so much more.

But what are they?

Let's break it down...

A pressure-sensitive label, or self-adhesive label, is made up of three layers: a face stock, an adhesive and a release liner. We refer to this as the "label sandwich." When a label is manufactured, these three components are sandwiched together to create a label material that can be printed on, laminated, die-cut, and finally peeled off and applied to your product.

Facestock

The facestock is the main part of the label. The material could be paper, film, or metallic foil. This is the layer where the ink is applied on press. For specific applications, a topcoat or laminate may be applied to protect the label artwork or enhance certain areas of the design.

Adhesive

The adhesive is what makes the label stick to the surface of the product or packaging. For glue-applied (cut & stack) labels, this process happens as the label is being applied. A pressure-sensitive label is manufactured to have the adhesive already applied to the face stock when you receive your roll or sheet of labels.

The adhesive type will depend on your application and environment in which the label will be used. Many different types of adhesive are available including versions that stick under cold and wet conditions, some that release easily, some that stick permanently and others that are resealable.

For example, a label that is applied to a durable good, like an air conditioner, will require an adhesive that sticks to metal in an outdoor environment and can last for years. A rubber-based adhesive is aggressive and best for long-life applications.

If the label is only going to be used once, say for a shipping carton label, a strong adhesive isn't necessary. These adhesives are usually acrylic-based and stick more aggressively as they dry, usually over hours or days.

You might even want to select an adhesive that is re-positionable for a peel and redeem coupon.

Liner

The liner is the paper or film that makes up the backing web material. There are options that range from semi-bleached paper or craft paper, to a stronger clear film liner. The liner is coated with a special material that makes it possible to remove the label no matter how strong the adhesive you select.

Paper-based liners are strong yet easily perforated or torn if needed. Film liners are much strong, though slightly more expensive, and work well when there is tension on the label roll when applying the labels.

And there you have it - our label sandwich explained! If you have more questions or want to get more details about label construction, contact us to talk to one of our label experts. They can supply you with samples, quotes or do label testing for your application.

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Topics: Labels, label printing, pressure-sensitive labels


See Our Favorite Craft Beer Labels From 2021

Posted by Chris Erbach

Feb 15, 2022 1:57:14 PM

Once again I ventured back to visit our busy Digital Label Presses and did my year-end survey of all the cool labels that we printed in 2021. Weber has some amazing customers that trust us to take their incredible artwork and turn it into labels that will showcase their brand.

Digging through the sample rack of labels siting in the corner, I found that we had printed a lot of beautiful craft beer labels! But I also noticed that there was a wide range of other craft beverages mixed in with all these beer labels. 

We are now printing lots of labels for craft soda, ciders, cold press beverages and even kombucha. And, wow, these are some great looking labels!

So this year I am mixing it up a bit and including other craft beverages so you can see craft beer isn't the only well dressed refreshment on the block. Enjoy!

And I hope you all got through 2021 safely and remain in good health. We sincerely care about all our customers and friends who read our blogs. 

 

1. Benny Brewing Company - Wilkes-Barre, PA

Ben Schonfeld became enamored with craft beer after stopping at a brew pub when they finished a round of golf in Myrtle Beach years ago. He developed an appreciation for the time, thought and imagination it takes to brew a great craft beer.

After few years of developing recipes, testing ingredients and learning procedures on his 10 gallon brewing system, Ben opened the Benny Brewing Company on June 10th, 2010. His nano-brewery is brewing on a 30 gallon SABCO system and supplies many local establishments with his 4 core brands and a wide variety of seasonals. 

His beers are inspired by a variety of ingredients, social and cultural trends along with fun food pairings. We especially liked this colorful label for his Heyna or Gose Tart Ale. It's described as a sour ale brewed with raspberries, lime, coriander and salt. Sounds awesome!

All of Benny's labels are colorful masterpieces of art, using bright colors and special effects to catch the customer's eye. They might be a small local brewery, but their products would be well-received by a larger audience.

His labels are printed on white BOPP film with a gloss laminate to enhance the color and protect the label from moisture and abrasion.

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Topics: craft beer can labels, craft beer label materials, cider labels, craft soda labels, kombucha labels


Durable Product Labels. We've got you covered!

Posted by Linda Roser

Jan 7, 2022 11:10:33 AM

What do automotive parts, power tools, fire extinguishers, electronic components and chemical containers have in common?

Surprisingly, they all have one thing in common: they use durable labels somewhere on the product to share important information such as serial numbers, warnings, instructions and more.


durable label is synthetic carrier of important information/data with an adhesive layer, which is typically affixed to a product or component. Industrial durable labels are designed to resist harsh elements such as solvents, extreme temperatures, and moisture. 

A durable label is intended to remain with a durable good throughout the product’s life, which can be years, and must withstand possible hostile environments such as exposures to chemicals, extreme temperatures, or UV light. Labels need to last a long time so they keep providing end users with vital messaging through scorching sun, bitter cold, harsh chemical environments and more. Additionally, the label often must be recognized by UL as being a component itself of the durable good.

When it comes to durable goods, labels are for life. These labels can include words, pictures, or both, whatever is necessary to identify the contents and their importance. Labels help customers use and maintain their cars, power tools and appliances. And by delivering directions and critical warnings, labels keep people safe.

Durable products, such as tools, automotive parts, warning signs, consumer electronics, industrial machinery and more need labels that will withstand years of repeated use, abuse and harsh weather. 

By definition, a “durable” label is designed to withstand environmental conditions that would normally degrade the printed image and/or jeopardize the integrity of the label construction. In other words, durable labels are meant to be long-lasting and permanent.

  • Digiflex White BOPP, a UL-recognized economical polyproplyene material perfect for printing decorative graphics on sporting goods, warning labels, medical device labels, instruction labels and more..
  • Digiweb White Vinyl, a UL-recognized material with excellent conformability to curved surfaces. Works well for graphic display POP decals, warehouse shelf bin labels, and more.
  • Digiplate PET, a UL-recognized polyester film material (available in white, silver or chrome) that is suitable for flat industrial surfaces. Best suited for warning labels, instruction labels, medical device labels, sporting equipment labels and more. 
  • And all labels are given a clear laminate for additional protection.

Durable labels must endure heat, chemicals, solvents, water, mechanical strain and challenging outdoor conditions. Our solvent free label materials are resistant to many conditions, making them a more sustainable and dependable choice for all durable applications. Several of our durable labeling products have been tested and recognized by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. who are an independent product safety testing and certification organization.

Ultimately, a hardy product label is important because it will ensure you meet government regulations, enhance or improve your brand, and will clearly communicate important guidance to avoid misuse of your product.

What are some typical applications where I would need durable labels?

Some typical durable labeling applications include:

  • Asset management tags
  • Pharmaceutical applications
  • Electronic components
  • U/L and Military Standard conformance
  • Parts manufacturing involving high heat and/or solvents.
  • Power tools
  • Safety equipment like fire extinguishers
  • Automotive products and replacement parts
  • Aircraft products and parts
  • Medical devices and testing equipment
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Topics: Labels, custom labels, chemical labeling


Constant Improvement Leads to Cidery Success

Posted by Chris Erbach

Dec 2, 2021 1:54:41 PM

It all started when Monte Summers and his business partner tried to decide between brewing beer or making cider. After working both ends of the question for a while with their brew club, they decided to make cider. And it was so good that friends encouraged them to start a business selling it. 

2 Fools Cider was born.

Located in Naperville, Illinois, 2 Fools is a small but mighty craft cider company that has been pleasing the Northern Illinois area since 2016. Monte studied the science of cider making at the Oregon State University and created recipes that don’t taste like mass-produced cider. Rather, he goes for a subtle sweetness and crisp, balanced flavor in his beverages. Their taproom/cidery is a fun destination that has been growing in popularity, even with the challenges of the Covid pandemic.

One of the things they did in the early days of the pandemic was to pivot quickly and get an outdoor tent set up so they could remain open. Their outdoor space allowed them to keep serving customers when inside service closed up again in the late Summer of 2020. 2 Fools was lucky to enjoy a lot of local support with both their outdoor taproom and local deliveries of packaged cider that helped them actually grow their business during hard times. 

“People really supported us. I had people ordering every week, cases at a time, dropping them off on their stairs and porches. It was great.” said Monte.

Inspiration Every Day

“First and foremost, I have two-year old twins that get me up every morning,” said Monte when asked what motivates him. “But I really enjoy growing businesses,” he said, “and it’s fun for me to see how this business has grown through the years.”

He likes having the ability to come up with new flavors and seeing people enjoying his products. 2 Fools started with about five or six flavors, including dry English-style cider, a tart cherry cider,  a dry-hopped cider,  and a sweet cider that wasn’t too sweet and eventually morphed into their very popular Rosé cider. 

The Rosé actually started as a blueberry cider that he considers one of his biggest mistakes.  He had some blueberry concentrate and decided to try making a blueberry cider.  As he was formulating the first batch, he would add more blueberries, take a sample to the taproom to have people test it, then return to tweak it some more. After adding a lot more blueberries, everyone said to stop! That’s it!

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Topics: cider labels, craft beverage labeling, 2 Fools Cider


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