High quality beverage labeling equipment includes a number of advanced sensors and other features which ensure better label placement and accuracy. If you are in the market for a new labeling machine, take the time to learn about what each of these components does, and make sure to ask your distributor whether they come standard on your new labeling machine.
The product sensor installed on your beverage labeling equipment is used to trigger the labeling heads and tells the machine when the product is in place for label placement. Typical product sensors use a beam of light which is either reflected or interrupted when the container passes in front of the transmitter. Special consideration for product sensors needs to be given when using clear containers or special materials.
The label sensor is used to determine the position of the labels ready to be dispensed. Label sensors detect the difference between labels on the reel and blank liner where the label has already been removed. This helps prevent mislabeling at high speeds.
The wrap station is especially important in beverage labeling equipment since most labels will wrap around the entire exterior of the bottle or can. The wrap station utilizes a belt to quickly spin the container on the line, forcing the label to wrap itself around and lay flat.
The indexing wheel on your beverage labeling equipment is needed to maintain accuracy of label placement throughout your production run. Many indexing wheels are staged so that they will capture a bottle or can and hold it steady while the label head is activated. This indexing process means that the label head will reach the container in the same relative position each and every time.
Label Head and Threading
The label head itself is the part of your equipment that physically presses the label onto the container. Usually a rubber paddle or brush it provides a smooth and even pressure to the container to maximize surface adhesion. Label reels are thread through a series of rollers in such a way that the label comes off of the liner directly in front of the label head in the correct position to be placed on the container.
Tension adjustments are required to keep your line moving smoothly without too much chatter in the products. If the tension in your system is too loose, you will notice sloppy placement of labels and inconsistent adhesion. If the tension is too tight, you may find that labels get jammed or torn in the process of placement. Manual and automatic tension adjustments can be used to find the correct pressure and tension for best placement.
All of these elements make up a successful labeling line, but not all manufacturers use the same technology. Make sure to do your homework and learn about all the different types of sensors and adjustments that can be made. In most cases, your beverage labeling equipment manufacturer will be able to guide you towards the best sensors and products for your specific container and label types.