British beer bottling boom could see sleeving machines in demand

Sleeving machines could be working overtime in one of Britain’s biggest industries in the near future, with the news that off-trade beer sales are up, and breweries are responding by opening new manufacturing facilities.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) reports that off-trade sales of beer grew by 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2013, helping the full year’s figures to beat those of 2012.

On-trade beer sales dropped slightly, by 2.2%, but overall sales were up 0.8% in the quarter, adding a healthy 15.3 million pints to the total quantity sold.

Brigid Simmonds OBE, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “These figures demonstrate that cutting beer duty helps increase beer sales, stimulates industry investment and saves jobs.”

The BBPA adds that one of the UK’s best-known breweries, Burton-based Marston’s, provided further evidence of its confidence at the end of January, by opening a £7 million bottling plant.

With others likely to follow suit as their sales grow – and the continued importance of attractive packaging to secure a sale, particularly in the on-trade where customers might have less time to make their decision – sleeving machines may face greater demand, and make even more of a contribution towards supporting future growth.

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Bottle labelling systems set for Foodex appearance

Advanced Dynamics’ exclusive range of Pack Leader bottle labelling systems will be among the devices on show at Foodex 2014 this March.

The jar and bottle labelling systems are among the Pack Leader products for which Advanced Dynamics are the sole UK distributors, giving food and drink companies access to cost-effective labelling machines with a desktop footprint.

For example, the ELF-50 is a compact entry-level labelling machine suitable for small to medium-sized production runs.

It is capable of handling label print and apply on jars of varying sizes, with easy adjustment, and is highly portable so that it can be moved to different locations as required.

The ELF-20, meanwhile, is similarly robust when moved around, thanks to its stainless steel and aluminium construction.

Malcolm Little, managing director of Advanced Dynamics, said: “We are thrilled to be demonstrating Pack Leader’s desktop labellers at Foodex.

“The ELF-50 and ELF-20 are helping transform bottle labelling in this country.”

Foodex 2014 begins on March 24th at the NEC in Birmingham, and Advanced Dynamics – and their display of labelling systems – can be found at stand K341.

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Modern label equipment can cope with complex logos

How complicated is your logo, and can your label equipment cope with reproducing it to a high standard?

Many modern-day devices offer high output resolution, and the right choice of logo – with label equipment that can reproduce it clearly on your product packaging – could actually make a significant difference to the long-term memorability of your brand.

Bo van Grinsven of VU University Amsterdam and Enny Das of Radboud University Nijmegen, both in the Netherlands, undertook a study of logo complexity published this month by the Journal of Marketing Communications.

“Although good logos are essential for creating brand awareness and brand equity, the effects of logo design features have not been tested empirically,” they write.

Their study tested simple and complex logos to assess how well they increased brand recognition and perception.

Intriguingly, they found simple logos have the greater positive impact on brand recognition in the short term; but complex logos have a greater boost for positive brand perception in the long term.

This suggests that, if your label equipment is up to the task of rendering either level of detail, you may want to choose your logo carefully depending on which outcome you are most keen to achieve.

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Label applicators have potential 40% impact on consumer decisions

You might be well aware of the importance of using label applicators that affix your label in a prominent position on your packaging – but how can you quantify that importance?

Scientists at the University of Miami and California Institute of Technology have used eye tracking and innovative analysis of brain processes like colour, brightness and other visual characteristics to determine precisely to what extent packaging influences the consumer decision-making process.

They found that the “visual attractiveness” of product packaging is between a third and two thirds as important to the final decision as the consumer’s own personal tastes.

That is equivalent to a 25-40% impact on the final buying decision, demonstrating that the effectiveness of your label applicators could have a very significant influence on sales, even to individuals with relatively strong personal tastes about the products they choose.

Senior research scientist Milica Mormann says: “The big idea here is that perceptual processes happen in the brain in parallel with economic value computations and thus influence how economic decisions are made.”

For manufacturers though, the conclusions are simple enough – bright, clear, well-affixed labelling has a quantifiable positive impact in terms of persuading consumers to buy your product.

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Advanced Dynamics labelling machines set for Packtech appearance

Attend the Packtech exhibition in February, and you can see Advanced Dynamics’ range of bottle labelling machines up close.

Suitable for all types of bottle labelling, from food, beverages and homewares to cosmetics, toiletries and pharmaceuticals, Pack Leader bottle labelling machines are designed to be the only system required for most normal packaging applications.

Advanced Dynamics are the sole distributor of Pack Leader labelling systems in the UK, and will have a representative range of machinery available to take a look at during Packtech.

This includes friction feeders in the form of the Kora-Packmat EasyFeeder, used to separate individual sheets of paper or packaging materials that are supplied as flat stacks.

Entry-level bottle labelling machines for desktop applications will also be on show, including the ELF-5o and ELF-20 models, suited to smaller production runs.

Malcolm Little, managing director of Advanced Dynamics, said: “Packtech is an ideal opportunity to present not only the future of accurate bottle labelling technology, but also the exciting versatility of EasyFeeder, which is suitable for a huge variety of flat and paper products.”

Advanced Dynamics will occupy stand E7 at Packtech, which is due to take place on February 26th-27th at the NEC in Birmingham.

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How wrapping machinery helped save Christmas

You might not think of wrapping machinery as playing any major role in keeping the spirit of Christmas alive, but in fact this useful hardware serves one very practical purpose that helps to make sure the festive period is not abused by would-be consumer fraudsters.

It is reasonable to expect that some Christmas gifts might need to be returned to the shop – perhaps because they are duplicates, or in the case of clothing, do not fit or are not to the recipient’s own specific tastes.

But some items, such as audio CDs, and DVD and Blu-ray movies, could theoretically be copied by pirates before being returned to the shop for a full refund.

The solution to this dilemma is simple – and not only protects  the copyright holders, but also ensures that legitimate recipients can continue to be given CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs for Christmas and other occasions, with the right to return them if they wish.

And this is where wrapping machinery is the hero – because the deciding factor in whether or not an item can be returned is whether it is still sealed in cellophane, and therefore could not have been copied.

The Trading Standards Institute says this is particularly true of online purchases: “You can return the goods [within seven days] for any reason for a full refund which generally should include delivery.

“This is not the case with personalised gifts, or unwrapped CDs, DVDs and computer software missing the cellophane wrapping.”

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Cheese byproduct could help wrapping machinery go green

The packaging industry is working hard on an ongoing basis to ensure that wrapping machinery and packaging plastics are sustainable, with minimal negative environmental impact.

However, one problem with bioplastics up until now has been that they tend to allow air to pass through them over time, making them unsuitable for long-term wrapping of perishable items.

Now an EU-funded project called WHEYLAYER has found a way to use a byproduct from the production of cheese to help make bioplastics less permeable to air.

The science behind the innovation is relatively simple: cheese and the byproduct whey contain proteins, and these are large molecules which, when dried, create a physical barrier that does not allow oxygen to pass through it.

Sandwiching a layer of whey between two layers of bioplastic creates a much less permeable material, which can then be used to wrap perishable goods.

The EU put €2.8 million into the project, and the findings have already been advanced far enough that the first whey plastics could reach the market in a matter of years.

As always, wrapping machinery will continue to support a broad range of plastics, including these eco-conscious forms, to allow manufacturers to take advantage of new materials as they reach the market.

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Sleeving puts bottlers in the hunt for a 2014 FoodBev award

Shrink sleeving gives a great amount of control over packaging design – and with accolades up for grabs for the best examples, the 2014 Beverage Innovation Awards, organised by FoodBev Media, could be the perfect excuse to get creative.

With a good-quality sleeving machine, your imagination sets the only limitations on how elaborate, colourful or practical your label design can be.

And although the awards will not be presented until late in the new year, nominations will soon be open, meaning there is almost a full year to get applications in and be in the running.

From 2014, for at least three years, FoodBev have teamed up with BrauBeviale, meaning the awards ceremony will take place at the international beverage industry show in Nuremberg.

BrauBeviale project manager Andrea Kalrait said: “The awards attract some of the best product launches, technology, packaging and ingredients innovations in the world and it’s fantastic that they will be hosted on our global stage.”

Nominations are due to open early in 2014, with the awards presented at the end of the year, so there’s plenty of time to get thinking about packaging innovations in order to be in with a real chance of walking away with a much-coveted accolade by next Christmas.

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Why industrial labelling can have a mainly female audience

The typical production line might not seem like an especially feminine environment, but research suggests that the audience for much industrial labelling that takes place could be dominated by women.

When men purchase a high-value item, they often do so in order to display it as a kind of status symbol to members of the opposite sex.

In contrast though, women typically buy high-status products in order to assert their own high status among groups of their same-sex peers.

The findings are part of a study published in the upcoming February 2014 edition of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Authors Yajin Wang and Vladas Griskevicius, both of the University of Minnesota, write: “This might be particularly interesting to luxury brand practitioners and managers to understand that women are the primary audiences of women’s luxury consumption.”

In many ways this could be good news, as it means women continue to be the primary audience for products even beyond the point of purchase.

As such, whatever the product, it might be worth taking into account female buying habits and brand perceptions throughout the industrial labelling process.

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Delicate labelling systems can support recycling efforts

We often talk about the importance of labelling systems for delicate items, such as fresh foods and herbs, to ensure products are not deformed during the packaging process.

But newly published research suggests that labelling systems capable of securely affixing information to a product without increasing the risk of deformation to its packaging could also help to support recycling efforts.

Remi Trudel of Boston University and Jennifer J Argo of the University of Alberta undertook a study in which participants were asked to review a pair of scissors.

Those taking part were given a sheet of paper, but only half were told to use the scissors to cut the paper; they were then asked to dispose of the paper on their way out, with bins for paper recycling and general waste placed by the door.

In general, the sheets of paper that had not been cut were placed in the recycling bin, whereas the scraps of cut paper were more likely to be placed in general waste.

The researchers, whose study is published in the December issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, suggest that a more general effect could lead to deformed packaging – such as crushed drinks cans – being recycled less frequently than packages that are unchanged from when they were purchased.

For eco-conscious manufacturers, therefore, labelling systems that can add clear recycling information to packages, without the risk of denting or deforming them, could be the key to increasing the amount of recyclable material that finds its way into the correct bin.

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