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Frustrated with the quality of your labels?

The question of how to reduce the cost of consumable packaging and labelling without accruing additional cost through errors and recalls is one of the biggest issues facing manufacturing organisations today. 

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Many companies will experience poor print quality at some point, often overlooked until it causes a problem, and then it becomes very expensive to rectify. Problems can occur from numerous flaws in the labelling process. Often than, it is an operator-error, such as the wrong printer setup or, in the majority of cases, the company is simply using the incorrect ribbon type for the material being used to print the labels. The label material and the print quality required will determine which grade of ribbon you need to use; getting either of these wrong could result in any of the following:

  • Barcode bars too light (underburn)
  • Barcode bars become too thick (overburn)
  • Unwanted diagonal lines appear
  • Poor edge definition
  • Smudges
  • Missing characters
  • Material disintegrating
  • Faded information

Sometimes, poor quality is not a result of the production process itself but occurs when the labels are in transit and the material type does not meet the specific industry purpose. Once the labels have been fixed to the product/shipping pallet, left the distribution hub and are in transit to their destination, they can be knocked, scraped and rubbed against by opposing materials, therefore resulting in crucial information being eroded. If a business cannot guarantee that the label it prints will last as long as the product's life, that business is at risk of non-compliance.

Using the correct printing provisions is essential; industries such as chemical, automotive, pharmaceutical and medical device require specific materials in order to meet industry compliance regulations. Using the wrong adhesive, label or ribbon can result in non-compliance, leading to products being recalled or seized, and a significant loss in profit as well as damage to an organisation’s reputation. To be in accordance with specific regulations, it’s not just about the materials but the combination of those materials that’s important.

Implementing a quality assurance programme with the appropriate training of operators to recognise issues prior to printing will eliminate most print quality problems. Some labellers try to save money by choosing to use the lowest cost materials available, but this doesn’t pay off in the long run. We would advise that all labellers check with their label, ribbon and printer suppliers to ensure that the proper material combination is being used to avoid poor quality, transit damage, or compliance problems; most will be able to provide a list of approved options.

Utilising the expertise and knowledge that specialised labelling manufacturers have to offer on the challenges of label production and management is a great resource if you are experiencing problems. If any of the above sounds familiar to you, contact our label and production team to inquire about our complimentary label evaluation. Find out more here