Dual-Panel Bar Code Labelers Saves General Time
Clock manufacturer General Time, based in Norcross, GA, has realized savings of $50,000 per year, mostly in labor, by installing four corner-wrap dual-panel case labelers in its Athens, GA, plant. The company had been applying preprinted bar-code labels by hand. But problems with skewed or incorrect labels led the company to investigate automatic dual-panel print/apply labeling systems.
The first of the four PA/4020 Label Printer/Applicators, all supplied by Diagraph (St. Louis, MO), was installed last summer. The bar code labelers apply one 3" x 8" label that’s rapped around the corner of the case, resulting in the appearance of two 3" x 4" labels on adjacent panels. Cases contain any wherefrom two to eight packaged clocks. The company’s products redistributed throughout the U.S. and abroad, and are sold by mass merchants, large discount stores,drug chains and gift shops.
Labeling Saves Labor
Most of the $50,000 annual savings is labor: Application of labels on the packaging line eliminated the previous labor-intensive off-line operation. Knocked-down case blanks were hand-labeled before being manually erected. Automated label applicators also reduces the potential for mislabeling: “Often when our people were applying preprinted labels by hand, they would label too many boxes,” says Ben Crawford,vp/plant manager. “So instead of 5,000 boxes being labeled, they might accidentally label 5,800.” That would mean costly re labeling of the extra 800. Bar code labeling speeds, which average about five cases per minute, are the same.
No more inventory
Another problem associated with preprinted label inventory is incorrect bar code labels being applied: “With hundreds of preprinted labels, it’s very easy for someone who is not experienced to pick up the wrong label and put it on a box,” says Crawford. By printing labels on-demand with a bar code labeler from Diagraph, General Time also eliminates the costs and headaches stemming from maintaining an extensive inventory of preprinted labels. Gone too are costs associated with obsolete labels. Each label contains an Interleaved 2-of-5 bar code, model name, model number, product color and case quantity.
After filled cases exit the case taper, a photocell senses each box and triggers the printing of a label by the bar code label printer, which is then held by a vacuum tamp pad. The side portion of the pressure-sensitive label is actually adhered first. A white roller on an extension arm then extends across the front end of the case-even as the case is moving forward-to wipe down the front part of the label. The roller then retracts, allowing the case to continue down the conveyor. The white roller on a swinging extension arm smoothes down the form of the label as the case moves forward.
A final benefit of the bar code labeler is accurate placement. “If you’re sticking them on by hand, one label is generally a little high or low,”says Crawford. “Now the labels are automatically printed and applied,and they go on straight.
”Why Diagraph? Says Crawford:“We looked at a number of options,and we felt they had the best equipment. We tried it and it worked for us, and the price was right.”