Creating craft alcoholic products can be considered hands-on art when compared to mass-produced beverages. For artisan distilleries the labelling and packaging is just as important for selling the product as the quality of the contents – and no matter how small the enterprise, this is where automation has a part to play.
Thermal Printer Support Ltd (TPS), the UK’s leading specialist supplier of thermal transfer and direct thermal print systems, supplies the drinks market with high-quality labelling technology. It was chosen by specialist reseller of bottle labelling solutions Paperwork, to supply equipment that would effectively enhance the brand of customer The Lincoln Distillery.
Collaborating closely with partner Paperwork, TPS installed a Wide Range DWR ROUND semi-automatic labeller at the distillery, which serves many outlets in the city and county of Lincolnshire, as well as online nationally, with 50cl or 70cl bottles of alcoholic products including gin and vodka liqueurs.
Chosen for its flexibility, compact build, ease of operation and seamlessly changeovers between different bottle dimensions, the DWR ROUND ticked every box for the customer. The labeller can apply wraparound or front/back labels, and it can even apply labels in phase by reading a coloured notch on the product or a previously applied label. It has a maximum label width of 200mm, and is equipped with an unwind unit which accepts reels with a diameter of up to 300mm.
John Lock, a member of the Lincoln Distillery team, is impressed with the speed of the label application which has increased productivity. The machine is currently applying labels on hundreds of bottles of gin a week, with the capacity to go up to 250mm/sec. As befits such a specialised enterprise, the watch straps securing the cork on these niche products are applied by hand.
Lock explained: “The machine is a high-quality solution which is very flexible and can be upgraded with several add-on options as and when required. Consistency of application is the main benefit to us. We believe that the quality of presentation of craft alcoholic products is just as important as the contents and this label solution is just what we need to support our brand.”
That view is echoed by Paperwork’s Mark Barratt, who said: “Brand image is of course critical for high-quality goods. The customer benefits from the complete package – highly-reliable bespoke labelling solutions backed up by first-class training and after-sales service.”
Phil Swinn, special projects manager at TPS, added: “There is a big market for labellers of this kind. Our partnership with Paperwork helps customers choose the right machine to communicate a brand’s message clearly. The DWR ROUND semi-automatic labeller combines total flexibility, speed of application and ease of operation.”
Other benefits include printer integration to display basic information, through to full inkjet printing of the whole label if required. A registration sensor can be fitted so the label can be applied in relation to a specific mark or reference on the product. Full control over speed and other settings makes it very simple for the operator to use the machine.
Manufacturers in all sectors need to achieve stand-out packaging and labelling through the ability to respond quickly to changing trends and diverse markets. TPS offers high-speed quality labelling and easy changeover features guaranteeing high output, including continuous print quality monitoring for corrective actions without the need to pause production.
Last word goes to Lock, who concluded: “It was a pleasure to deal with TPS and Paperwork. The advice was given in a clear, impartial and professional manner – there was no pressure to either commit to this particular machine or purchase unnecessary add-ons. The training was provided as arranged and was at a pace and quality that was appropriate.”