Advanced Dynamics’ labelling and sleeving machines to feature at PPMA

The upcoming PPMA Show in Birmingham this September will feature a range of Advanced Dynamics’ label equipment and sleeving machines.

PPMA is due to get underway on September 30th and last until October 2nd, and Advanced Dynamics will be at stand D31 in the NEC Birmingham.

Visitors can see how label equipment like fully automated Pack Leader labelling systems – of which Advanced Dynamics are the sole UK distributors – can take over from manual labelling without requiring a huge initial capital outlay.

The worry of spending upfront is an obstacle that prevents many companies from considering automated labelling systems, but Pack Leader’s range includes versatile and compact machines ideal for use in small businesses.

Malcolm Little, managing director of Advanced Dynamics, said: “The PPMA exhibition is the perfect platform for us to demonstrate high-quality automatic labelling systems which can improve efficiency and transform a production line.

“Label applicators can mitigate the risks of adhesive issues, wrinkling, skewing and frayed edges – faults which delay production, cost money and lead to waste.”

The Pack Leader SL301 shrink sleeving machine will also be on display at the booth, offering an alternative for bottles and caps that contain beverages, food, medicines and other pharmaceuticals.

PPMA

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Hen today, gone tomorrow: campaigners call for consistent labelling system for chicken

Chickens get a rough deal, going from egg to meat in less than 40 days if they are intensively farmed – and campaigners are now calling for a clear, consistent and mandatory labelling system for chicken meat to ensure consumers are accurately informed of how it was reared.

Tamsin French, Sam White and Johanna Olsson are visiting 21 member states of the EU in just 39 days – the same length of time as an intensively farmed chicken is alive for.

In each country they will dress as Rosa the chicken, on behalf of the Labelling Matters campaign, which in turn is supported by organisations including Compassion in World Farming.

Sam said: “We have the opportunity to potentially change the way people buy their chicken meat across the entire EU.”

Already, a mandatory labelling system has been introduced for eggs; the campaign wants to achieve the same for chickens reared for meat, rather than for egg-laying.

The Labelling Matters campaign would like to see not only mandatory labelling for free range chicken, but also for intensively farmed meat, so that consumers are left in no doubt as to where their chicken was raised.

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Label print and apply weathers the digital storm

While other forms of print may be suffering due to the rise of digital technologies, the process of label print and apply is seemingly withstanding the storm.

Digital technologies have eaten into the market share of many print formats, with websites taking over from printed newspapers, and email reducing the need for headed business stationery.

But the label print and apply process is still going strong – and even products ordered online tend to ship in full retail packaging, rather than OEM or white-label boxes.

According to a report from global packaging analysts Smithers Pira, label printing is actually increasing in value in many markets, particularly in the Western world.

“The only market segments where print demand continues to grow worldwide is in packaging print, including printed labels,” the organisation reports.

“In value terms, the growth in digital printing … means that market value is generally growing ahead of market volume, or at any rate not falling so quickly.”

The report is an indication of how, while digital technologies are often seen as the enemy of print, in terms of packaging and labelling they can actually be beneficial.

As a result, companies are achieving greater return on their investment into digital labelling machines, keeping this market uniquely buoyant.

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Future label equipment can help reach new family units

We often point out that label equipment is not just a piece of hardware; the way you use it, and the images and text you include on your labels, can have a big direct impact on the success of your marketing activities.

The right label equipment gives you good control over what your labels show, but it is also important beyond this to know exactly what message you are trying to send out.

In the years ahead, this could be even more important for products aimed at households, and particularly at parents.

According to consumer analyst Mintel, there are currently three million children in the UK living in single-parent households, and the number of single fathers is on the increase.

The consumer insight provider says that “these aspects demand sensitive marketing of household products” – and there are other emerging trends too.

For example, more couples are choosing to remain childless, while others are opting for pet ownership as a substitute.

Your use of label equipment is therefore an important consideration for the coming decade, to ensure you do not alienate any of these groups by focusing too much on the traditional concept of the ‘nuclear family’.

In fact, for those who are able to successfully embrace these less-standard household models, the trend could lead to considerable opportunities to gain a competitive edge. mintel

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Short-run labelling machines ‘are a packaging megatrend’

Short-run labelling machines are one of the three ‘megatrends’ currently shaping the global packaging market, according to a newly published report.

Color Digital Label and Packaging Market Forecast: 2013-2018, from InfoTrends, predicts coming developments in all aspects of colour digital printing for packaging purposes.

There are several key trends shaping the sector – and the level of competition between different manufacturers, meaning ever smaller market niches must be targeted, is one major driving force.

“Brand owners worldwide need to target ever smaller market segments to be competitive,” the analyst explains.

“In turn they need the timely, economic printing of short runs that digital printing can often provide.”

Short-run labelling machines must deliver good results with good economy, and the ability to quickly be reconfigured for the next product run, whatever it may be.

This economical aspect is part of ‘lean manufacturing’ – operating with less waste – and this feeds into a further current megatrend, sustainability.

Overall, the three megatrends are: sustainability; lean manufacturing; target marketing.

Together – and with the right labelling systems in place – these are allowing manufacturers to find profitable niches, even in a competitive global marketplace.

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Moving to a minimum font size for food labelling systems

European food producers will need labelling systems capable of printing a minimum font size before the end of this year.

The Food and Drink Federation reports that, from December 13th, new rules come into force regarding mandatory labelling requirements for food products throughout the EU.

Among the new demands are minimum font sizes for mandatory information; emphasis for allergenic ingredients in the list; allergen information for foods sold loose; extended country-of-origin labelling for meat; and mandatory nutrition labelling for pre-packed foods (due to come into force in December 2016).

Mary Lawton, policy and industry liaison manager at the Scottish Food and Drink Federation, said: “This is a period of significant change in the provision of food labelling information for consumers, with nearly all food and drink affected by this regulation.”

Producers have time to take the necessary action to comply with the rules; however, the minimum font size is worth bearing in mind when checking labelling systems.

For example, consider the use of shrink sleeving – in this instance, it will be important to ensure the minimum font size is met after the label has been shrunk to fit the packaging to which it is being applied.

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Shrink sleeving helps beverage makers celebrate World Cup

England may have had little to celebrate during this year’s World Cup, but elsewhere in the world beverage makers are joining in the fun, and shrink sleeving is helping them to do so with innovative packaging shapes.

In Singapore, for instance, one of the world’s biggest brands – a certain cola-flavoured soft drink – has been repackaged in limited-edition bottles.

These are shaped like a football, allowing the brand to make the most of its status as a sponsor of the football tournament, even some 10,000 miles from where the matches are taking place.

A little closer, but still nearly 9,000 miles away, Australia has seen a sports drink appropriately named Brazilian Kick introduced by isotonic brand Powerade.

Unlike the Coca-Cola bottles mentioned above, this comes in normal Powerade bottles, but shrink sleeving has allowed the brand to maximise their use of label space to feature the World Cup logo and other sports-related sponsors’ emblems.

These are just two of ten product launches deemed to be among the most innovative by consumer analyst Mintel – and demonstrate that changing your packaging or even just your labelling can be a useful way to associate your products with any major events that may be taking place.

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Purina innovation highlights need for reliable label print and apply

A packaging innovation from pet food brand Purina in the US demonstrates when reliable label print and apply processes can let your product do so much more.

The brand’s Beggin’ Party Poppers product has been named Packaging Innovation of the Month by Datamonitor Consumer.

It features doggy treats in an ordinary plastic cup container, with the branding added using conventional label print and apply techniques.

But the lid is a flexible three-dimensional pig – and this is where the fun begins.

Press one of the doggy treats into the pig’s nose and it will hold in place for a few seconds before popping out, across the floor for your dog to chase.

It’s little more than a novelty lid for a product that is essentially still supplied in a plastic cup; however, it means the packaging as a whole is likely to be handled more often, both before and after purchase.

As such, the label applicator must perform an adequate job to ensure the essential product information remains visible until the doggy treats are all gone.

With innovation in packaging formats increasingly allowing retail products to stand apart from the crowd, good label applicators will grow in value in the years to come – and we will endeavour to bring the best labelling machines to the market for all our customers’ needs.

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‘Soft-touch’ label applicators can pack edible flowers

Edible flowers have been deemed “a culinary trend to watch” by consumer analysts Mintel, but for anyone hoping to sell them as a whole ingredient, gentle wrapping machinery and label applicators are a must.

A certain amount of breakage might be expected in transit no matter what – and in many cases, flowers are used more as a flavouring than as a whole addition to meals – but just as with floral bouquets intended for display, retailers will expect floral ingredients to arrive in the best possible condition.

Mintel report: “Edible flowers are typically used to decorate dishes, adding colour and an element of beauty. “Edible flowers can also add unique flavours to dishes, from sweet, floral or citrus flavours, to slightly spicy, even bitter flavours.” And the appetite for this in the UK is considerable, with nearly half of surveyed diners saying they enjoy trying new dishes and flavours that they have not experienced before.

Many restaurants use edible flowers for decoration, while their inclusion as a flavour in cakes and sweet goods, as well as in beverages including tea, adds to their demand as an ingredient. For those hoping to cash in on this trend, a wise initial investment would be to obtain suitable wrapping machinery, with a soft-touch label applicator to avoid damaging the packaged petals.

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How ‘affordances’ can work with your labelling system

Think about your labelling system for a moment – is it an integral part of your packaging process, or are your labels applied once the initial packaging of the product is completed?

In either case, your label might include instructions on how to open and use your packaging, even if this is as simple as telling the consumer how to reseal the opening or where to cut into the packet in the first place.

Writing in the journal Packaging Technology and Science, a team from California Polytechnic State University, Michigan State University, and Abbott Nutrition in Columbus, Ohio, argue that such instructions may sometimes be an indication of poor packaging design.

The reason behind this claim is the concept of ‘affordances’, which are intuitive ways of interacting with a packet – for instance, a ring pull might be a self-explanatory way to open a canned drink.

“In the same way that written information on packages must be noticed to allow its mental processing, specific design features of an object must be clearly visible to the user and must convey precise messages,” the authors write.

If you are relying on your labelling system to explain your packaging to customers, you could be missing a trick – and even a simple redesign could free up valuable label space for more branding and marketing messages.

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