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With the older labeler machines, there were constantly slowed down production by problems such as clutches, maintenance and setup delays - you name it. The demand is for labeler that doesn't require a graduate degree to run. The operators should be able to run them easily and handle the usual problems that come up with any machinery.
Nothing can be more frustrating than to discover that the newly delivered labeler on your shop floor will not run your products. Every user of the machine is confused when it comes to selection of Labeler to meet his specific requirements. The demand from the machine varies - operator looks for ease of operation, Quality control department for accuracy & consistency, production in-charge look for higher productivity, easy & quick product changeover etc and maintenance person looks at service support and maintainability. In contrast, the new Labeler is to improve the process, increase efficiencies, give better quality control and increase machine availability. The market offers many varieties to choose from. Making a wise selection is the need of the hour. This article is to give information on the developments taking place in the field and enable the decision making process easier.
Automatic Labeling System
An automatic labeling system consists of three key components: a labeling head, a conveyor for product transport, and an integrated control system each of which, in turn, have their own sub-components. Optionally, other operations can be added to the system, such as Hot Stamp coders, bar code printers, power unwinds for extra large web capacity or feeding a barcode printer, verifiers to make sure label is on and/or the code is readable. When all of these components are fully integrated meaning they all work together without the need for human intervention, except for replenishing label stock, printer ribbons and physical changeover to a different product, and the system works through the entire speed range without need for readjustment of controls, you have "automatic labeling system".
Four common key problems causing poor Labeling results are:
1. Label application consistency
2. Missing labels
3. Label wrinkle
4. Poor labeling accuracy.
There are three critical steps to set up ordinary labeling machinery.
The operator must adjust the label sensor to read the label backing paper for each set up. Label and backing materials come from a wide variety of sources. This creates a need for the sensor to read materials having differing color, thickness, and light sensitivity.
The operator must adjust the label extension distance beyond the label-dispensing blade for each set up. Different label lengths require changes in label extension distance.
The operator must adjust the timing of the label dispense action by repositioning the label sensor for each set up. The sensor position must be changed with each change in label size.
The above set up procedures are complicated. Operators often rely upon engineers to make these delicate adjustments.
When the product passes the product sensor, Labeler microprocessor will scan, set the optimum label length, labeling position, dispensing speed and speeds of all moving parts. Advanced labeling machines allow data storage in job memory for recall later on. It takes only few seconds to complete the procedure. This feature is very beneficial when changing bottle and label size. The machine operator only has to pass one new product through and the system will immediately record all the best labeling data for the product.
Each time the container size is changed, the operator must reposition the product sensor or adjust the label timing for proper label placement and to avoid label wrinkle or missing labels. There are labeling systems that provide the optimum sensing position for every label length and product length, eliminating the need for adjustment of the product sensor. Some labeling machines need manual adjustment of the product sensor for each changeover.
When changing labels or adjusting label dispensing speed, the operator must reposition the label sensor, or make necessary adjustments on the circuit board to control the label extension distance from the blade. Improper repositioning will cause poor labeling results.
The labeling machines are available in the market that can save multiple jobs into memory and allows to recalling them at the push of a button. Even your most difficult jobs can be recalled with perfect accuracy of all motor speeds and placement accuracy. If it is a new job, never run before, just run auto setting then save it. The first time machine operator run a bottle andÂ label automatic setup routine which optimizes all critical settings including conveyor speed, wrap belt speed, drive roller speed, label stop position, and label feed "timing".
Here's what operator has to do to run as above:
Place label roll on Web Unwind Table and thread through machine, removing a label from in front of the label sensor.
Adjust guide rails and pressure pad for bottle size.
Press single key on display menu and place a bottle on the conveyor. Done.
Different backing paper material, or different label materials require different sensitivity settings. Improper settings may result in missing labels or continuous label dispensing. Label sensor sensitivity adjustment is needed for each change of label backing papers to prevent waste, poor labeling performance and production down time. All of these adjustments rely upon operator experience and efficiency. The labeler system automatically calculates the optimum sensitivity setting for your labels. No more fooling around with short feeds or multiple label feeds because of improper sensitivity settings required.
Labeling machines are available with LCD display. This is menu driven to display any setting, product count, or labels remaining.
When changing conveyor speed, all related components need readjustment. This includes label dispensing speed, label placement, label extension distance from the blade, wrap belt speed, etc. In case of operator error, the entire packaging line must be stopped to once again make step-by step adjustments.
Latest labelers available in the market automatically generate all initial settings for all motor speeds, label stop position, and bottle application "timing". Of course, if you need to change speeds due to product stability problems, you can do so while maintaining all label application accuracy. Then save the job for future use.
Look for these factors during labeling machine selection: Few useful tips for you:
â-º Operator places product on conveyor and pushes a button. The labeler sets up job.
â-º No adjustment of label sensor for different label lengths is necessary
â-º Labeler auto detects label and adjusts label sensor to the label.
â-º Speed adjustment is possible by simply pressing a +(plus) or -(minus) key. No other delicate adjustments are necessary
â-º When changing bottle size, no repositioning of product sensor or timing adjustment is necessary.
â-º Provision to store jobs in memory for easy recall
â-º Labeler control system that make running your job easy, reliable, and accurate
â-º Machine control is compatible for data exchange using PC systems can connected with Integrated Manufacturing System so decisions and control the operations can be made from remote locations
â-º Alarm sounds when hot stamp ribbon roll is depleted
â-º Alarm system for end of label reel - When the label remaining quantity falls under first set pieces, short warning alarm sounds. This is for preparation for replacing the label roll. Long warning alarm set to alert operator to replace label roll
â-º Labeler stops automatically and displays error message when labels run out
â-º Labeler stops automatically and displays message when a label is missing
â-º Labeler displays error message when hot stamp printer does not function
â-º High Output: Faster Production, high productivity.
â-º The Labeler is fast and very efficient.
â-º Labeler with Modular design concept for standardization and interchangeability of all components
â-º Labeler frame and components are of laser cut stainless steel and powder coated aluminum
â-º Machine manufacturing process is ISO9002 certified for strict quality control.
â-º One of the most striking impressions of the label applicator is its Labeling accuracy.
â-º Labeler with optional Hot Stamp for date, lot, expiration, etc.
â-º Labeler using high frequency response encoder to ensure labeling accuracy, free of wrinkles and consistency at all speeds
â-º Last, but not the least, the training / service support offered locally by the machine supplier.
The first and most important step in the purchase of labeling equipment is to gather samples and/or specifications for the products and labels you plan to run. It is very important that you determine your line speed requirements as accurately as possible. Some labeler manufacturers do not meet ISO 9002 production standards. Machinery made by non ISO companies may possibly have less reliability. A downstream change sometimes can lead to fearful reverberations on a packaging line. Avoid the pitfalls to progress by carefully phasing in new equipment. Overstating, or understating this can cost you big time.
Finally, select the machine that fits your needs.