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ALS204 inline label applicator delivers huge savings

Supplier: Matthews Australasia
21 January, 2010

A label applicator from Matthews has contributed to an overall $30k/mth saving, sped up production and reduced costs. Efficiency is through the roof.

Key label applicator facts:

  • high-speed batch runs
  • vastly improved efficiency
  • significant labour savings
  • exact repeatability on and orientation on every product

Avery Dennison Office Products wanted to be able to more efficiently apply variously shaped promotional labels to product packs. A major challenge was that the products held in stock range across a wide variety of sizes; most have individual artwork, so need the label positioned exactly.

Todd Burns, manufacturing team leader at Avery Dennison Office Products, says they could see that significant labour savings would be possible by eliminating manual application, but production speeds of up to 40 cartons per minute would be necessary to justify automating this process.

"We explained to Matthews what we wanted to achieve," Todd says, "and they gave us terrific advice. Basically, we've changed our process from labelling packs online to an offline system, and we couldn't be happier with the results."

The company then installed an Avery ALS204 in-line Label Applicator from Matthews Intelligent Identification. The compact-class applicator is very user friendly, with an intuitive menu structure and easy removal of the backing paper by 'Easy Push'.

"Installing the labeller delivered a 40% improvement in machine utilisation. With this increase in efficiency and a significant reduction in labour costs, we’re saving overall an almost incredible $30,000 per month!"

Todd says they have been particularly impressed with the way in which the new Avery equipment applies labels at such high speed without any contact damage to the products.

"The dispenser provides exact positioning and orientation of the labels," he says, "and adjustment is fast and easy for the operator." The 'delay' setting in the control switch panel also allows very precise adjustment for the label position along the pack.

"We installed a Sure-Feed automatic product feeder too, with a 2m integrated vacuum conveyor. It’s made a tremendous difference in accurately labelling small and lightweight products."

The equipment is located in the offline packaging area and the operators run it themselves.

"We got a very thorough training package from Matthews," Todd says, "and Reza Keramati, the Matthews' tech who provided the training, did a great job. He was quite happy to stay here until he was sure we were confident with the equipment and the guys were really happy with the outcome, so top marks for that."

Todd says Avery Dennison Office Products' new system is working so well that it is creating an entirely new problem.

"Because of the application speed, we only need to use the equipment for maybe 2 hours, 3 hours, max per day. On average, before we bought the unit we were doing about 8,000–10,000 packs by hand per week. Now we can label up to 300 envelopes in less than 5 minutes.

"The work we're scheduling doesn't take nearly as long as we expect it to, and what would once have stretched to 2 shifts now only stretches to 1 shift, maybe a shift-and-a-half. The system is far more profitable, of course, which is great, but it's also presenting quite a challenge in terms of how much work we actually have.

"It's a good problem to have, though, and it's certainly a great motivator to get out there and get more business!"

Originally published on the Matthews blog