Category Archives: Linerless Labels

Ravenwood Grow Linerless Market

At its annual congress, Ravenwood introduced new technologies and marketing initiatives designed to grow its share of the global linerless label market. Andy Thomas reports.

Outside of logistics applications, the global market share of linerless labels has not moved much in the last decade – despite the clear sustainability advantages of the technology.

Perhaps the main reason has been the requirement for end users to adopt specialist application machinery which is able to apply a label without peeling it from a backing liner.

UK-based Ravenwood, however, has achieved enormous success in the linerless label market by ‘closing the loop’ between linerless label production and application. The company operates a licensing system which includes the whole linerless supply chain from specialist materials to coating equipment and application equipment for the end user. The whole system is supported by Ravenwood certified engineers and by intensive training of licensees to ensure a standard, consistent and predictable product is delivered at the end of the packaging line. Currently over 1,000 applicator machines are installed worldwide.

Ravenwood has grown around 20 percent year-on-year since the 2009 crash and today 35 million linerless prime labels a week are produced on its machines by global brands and retailers.

Ravenwood was founded in 2004 by Paul Beamish, who had previously worked at SE Labels and then Skanem, both linerless pioneers. The company has recently expanded its headquaters in Bury St Edmunds. The building contains showroom, of ces, training facilities and R&D, and was the location for this year’s congress, bringing together suppliers, printers and distributors.

Ravenwood linerless ‘labels’ do not have to be adhesive backed – some of the company’s most successful products are ‘slideable’ sleeves supplied on the roll. Printed onto thicker materials, up to 300gsm and at sizes up to 500mm x 225mm, they are designed to replace cardboard sleeves on trays sealed with clear film, as typically seen in the ready meals market. The sleeves are applied on Ravenwood’s Nobac 500 series applicators.

Paul Beamish says these linerless label/sleeves are up to 30 percent more sustainable than cardboard sleeves. ‘And our products are flexo printed, which is as good quality as litho-printed cartons, and they retain their image right the way through the supply chain.’

Other Nobac machines can apply ‘Skin pack’ labels and can be attached to weigh scales to deliver complete fixed or variable weight packaging solutions. The latest addition to the Nobac line is the 500R, which applies a full ready meal wrap in format sizes up to 225mm.

A constant problem facing Ravenwood and its licensees is ‘non-approved’ labels, either pirated labels which ‘look’ like the real thing, or cheaper substitutes bought outside the authorized supplier network.

‘Pirated or non-approved labels do not work well on our applicators and at the end of the day these copies are of poor paper and adhesive quality,’ said Paul Beamish.

‘The production manager often won’t know that the buyer has cut corners and purchased these sub-standard labels and when things go wrong, many are quick to blame the applicator. Our engineers provide ongoing support and can spot these poor quality labels instantly, proving that any downtime or product recalls are as a direct result of these inferior copies. So going forward, we are now placing more emphasis on marketing and promoting our approved network of machine suppliers, printers and partners to emphasize the importance of using Ravenwood linerless labels.’

New developments

Ongoing material and machinery developments are key USPs for Ravenwood and the company works closely with its supply chain to identify areas for improvement.

Innovia, Ashland, Evonik and Henkel were present to talk about new developments in materials, silicone and hotmelt adhesives.

Explained Beamish, ‘We are being forced to go faster and faster, which is why we spend so much time working on materials, and why we need to make sure printers are using the latest materials.’

A high quality print surface is particularly important, said Beamish. ‘Dive characteristics and adhesive/silicone relationship are crucial. You could buy any paper but find the adhesive will be sucked in and the silicone relationship is wrong so the labels don’t release properly, and that in turn affects the machines. It is vital to guarantee 120 packs a minute, and this needs the whole chain to be working together.’

A wide range of application machinery was on show at the event, including the new VXR end-of-line quality control system. It detects contaminants and checks both label accuracy and tray seals, all within a 1.9m footprint. The x-ray inspection system uses leading edge Sapphire carbon nanotube field emission technology. The whole unit is food safe. Also introduced at the congress was a new flexible packaging variation of the linerless sleeve system.

What of the future? Paul Beamish sees major opportunities in direct thermal linerless labels supplied on the reel for logistics applications using handheld printers. And there are many more products which could be handled on the Nobac applicators, including fresh foods like cress, and fresh meat and fish, which require special coatings to enhance shelf life.

Primary linerless labeling, in 8-9 colors and using value-added materials is another area for development.

Linerless coater

For the label converter, the core production technology is the Ravenwood Comac coater, designed to coat silicone and adhesive in a form compatible with the Nobac range of applicators.

The Comac applies multiple lines of release and adhesive between 3-25mm wide, coating labels with silicone on the front and adhesive on the back at speeds up to 450fpm (137m/min).

The labels can be printed on both sides before silicone and adhesive coating. The silicone sits on top of a special lacquer developed for linerless, and the laquer and silicone together act as a protective layer against UV, moisture and chemicals.

New Comac developments announced at the congress include the ability to run digital media. Ravenwood is also looking to add flexo units for varnish and reverse print, as well as potentially a slot coater and chill rolls so thermal materials can be run.

‘We are looking at new coat heads for more accurate coat levels,’ said Paul Beamish. ‘We now have on board an industry professional who says he can measure glue weight on clear film more accurately.’

Marcus Greenbrook, international sales manager at GEW, explained to delegates the N2 nitrogen inerting system used on the Comac silicone coating station. A nitrogen blanket reduces oxygen in the chamber to 50PPM, preventing it inhibiting the silicone curing process. ‘We control web movement into the chamber so we can get the gap much closer and stop oxygen being dragged in,’ said Greenbrook. The result is decrease of odor and migration – key for food grade applications – and the ability to cure at a lot lower power levels.’

Continued Greenbrook, ’Our Rhino power supply gives us better control of the UV system and reduces nitrogen consumed compared to older systems.’ UV output monitoring is integrated into the E2C lamphead, with up to seven sensors mounted across length of the lamp. GEW is now looking at closed loop control of lamp output based on sensor readings, said Greenbrook.

Ravenwood will be exhibiting at Labelexpo Europe. Visit the Label Expo website.

The above article was written by Andy Thomas, Strategic Director at Labels & Labeling and is featured in the June/July issue of Labels & Labeling. Flip to page 49 and read the online article.

Ravenwood Packaging
Ravenwood Packaging

Ravenwood Rises to the Demands of the Ready Meal Market

As pioneers of the linerless label, we also offer a sustainable and cost effective ‘label’ solution for ready meal food manufacturers. Our groundbreaking ‘Slideable Ready Meal Sleeve’ is a reinvention of the traditional cardboard sleeve yet boasts a multitude of benefits.

Ready Meal Consumer Landscape

Before we highlight the USPs of the ready meal sleeve, let’s factor in consumer trends and demand. Just as healthy home cooking is experiencing a resurgence, the call for ready meals also continues to escalate. With the number of single-person households rising, and growing numbers of working professionals eating at their desks, ready meals are as popular as ever. In the UK, the market has undergone a change of image from being deemed as unhealthy and lazy to being repositioned as a premium, indulgent option. Retailers have enhanced this image by using healthier ingredients and adopting cooler and more sustainable food packaging designs.

Unique Selling Points of the Ready Meal Slideable Linerless Sleeve

So what’s so great about our Ready Meal Slideable Linerless Sleeve? Unlike traditional sleeves that are both costly and labour intensive due to the need for manual application, these labels score by comparison as they are machine applied and come supplied on a roll. Sell-by dates can also be applied at the point of application whereas with manual application, these would need adding separately. The whole process is streamlined, saving you time and reducing overall cost. The benefits are widely apparent which is why Ravenwoods’ Slideable range is becoming increasingly attractive as the label of choice for straight-to-oven ready meals and other produce.

Nobac 500 Machine Application

Ravenwoods’ ready meal sleeves are applied by the Ravenwood Nobac 500R applicator. The machine is slightly longer than the standard Nobac 500 Sleever but is still very compact. And the label itself has a 100mm-225mm format with speed dependent on feed length at around 65ppm. The technology brings ready meals into the linerless arena, proving that this type of labelling can be applied to virtually any packaging challenge.

To find our more or to request some samples, contact us here or you or call us on (0)1284 749144.

Ravenwoods' slideable linerless ready meal sleeve
Ravenwoods’ Slideable Linerless Ready Meal Sleeve
Ravenwoods' Slideable Linerless Sleeve on sausages
Ravenwoods’ Slideable Linerless Sleeve on sausages

 

Welcome to the Magnificent World of the Ravenwood Nobac 500

The almighty Nobac 500 is Ravenwood’s flagship applicator and the first prototype to go into production when Ravenwood was founded in 2004. Today’s ‘500’ is still based on the same design but due to industry demands and changes in buyer behaviour over recent years, the company has evolved the original ‘500’ concept. Many machine variants are now available for applying a multitude of different linerless label formats.

What is Linerless?

Linerless has been around for over a decade now. The labels are unique in that they eliminate the need for wasteful, non-recyclable backing papers destined for landfill. Processing this waste proves both costly and time consuming. So the good news is, from a sustainability angle, this labelling is taking centre stage. And rightly so, as the world of packaging is going all out to be ‘seen as green’. Linerless labels are set to stick around – enlighten yourself further here : ’10 Reasons for Choosing Linerless Labels’ and ‘Food Packaging Trends – Prepare to See Green in 2017’.

‘500’ Flexible Formats

The Nobac 500 sleever is an inline machine, designed for maximum flexibility.  Quick changeovers between wrap formats are achieved by eliminating the need to turn the packs. The ‘500’ and its counterparts are also capable of applying sleeves in many different formats including:

  • Top
  • Top and Side
  • C-wrap
  • D-wrap
  • Full Wrap
  • Skin Pack
  • Skin Pack Protruding
  • Skin Pack Super Protruding – up to 100mm above the height of the tray
  • Ready Meal
  • Salami and Haggis

And what’s more, the ‘500’ offers great versatility in terms of label materials. These include board, paper and synthetic substrates. And by printing at the point of application, means that wasted printed labels on changeovers are greatly reduced. Ravenwood has also developed a twin-head machine for non-stop high speed labelling.

‘500’ Functionality

In addition to sleeving fixed weight products, there’s the added benefit of linking the ‘500’ to weigh scales. These scales allow for variable weight products as well as check weighing. It’s great that production speeds are not compromised in fixed weight mode.  Ranging from 100-140ppm is achievable, although much relies on tray size. And in variable weight systems, linking to the latest weigh scales over 100ppm is also possible.

‘500’ End of Line

Adding vital information such as expiry dates, weights and batch numbers are essential for providing detailed information about the product itself.  Additionally, bar codes are now crucial for track and traceability – worth every penny, especially when faced with costly product recalls. Ravenwood partner with an approved supplier network for printing this information by way of coding technology. With fast moving lines and frequent changeovers, coding equipment offers a fail-safe step up from less flexible, non-digital methods. And if you require RFID labels, Ravenwood offers Trojan technology as an ‘add-on’ machine as well.  The Trojan is an extremely small and cost effective label applicator. Both the Coder and Trojan are ideal for incorporating into end of line labelling requirements.

‘500’ Global Footprint

The Nobac 500 has been developed for today’s food retailers and packers and is the first choice of many high profile brands. With over 1,500 machines sold worldwide and in excess of 14 billion applications every year, you could say the ‘500’ is a global authority in the ‘Land of Linerless Labels’. Our labels can be found across Europe, Asia, America and Russia.

Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed

Our customers are privy to a complete support package. Servicing, parts and technical assistance come as standard with our field-based Raveneers always on standby.  Furthermore, we offer a break down and call-out service, should the need arise. And our well-stocked cupboard is bursting with spare parts which can be rushed to you on a next day delivery. Dedicated and bespoke training packages are also available.

To find our more on the Nobac 500 and other machine variants in the range, contact us or call us on 01284 749144.

Nobac 500
The almighty Nobac 500 Applicator

Stand Out On Shelf – Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

In grocery retailing, the competition for customers, margins and price premiums between manufacturer and private labels is fierce. Supermarket shelves are jam packed with differing brands all screaming for consumers’ attention. Traditionally, competition has focused on brand identity, quality and pricing as the main tools for creating distance between competitors. Only when we gain harmony between these 3 factors, are we then on the road to gaining consumer loyalty for driving repeat purchase.

A BRAND IS A PROMISE – A GOOD BRAND IS A PROMISE KEPT

A strong brand identity is crucial, giving your company and products personality, energy and visual impact. As a species, humans are very loyal and this also rings true with our purchasing decisions. Strong brands hold centre stage in our minds, especially when faced with multiple products on shelf. So instead of designing packaging purely for the product, we should use the packaging to highlight and enforce the brand. Whether a product is the new kid on the block or has held pride of place on shelf for many years, brand building here must create trial and reinforce existing consumer relationships by advancing a product’s positioning. A good brand is like a strong hand shake – a sign of strength and assuredness. Prime example of strong branding is the iconic Marmite.

Marmite
Marmite – Iconic Branding

EDUCATE, ENTERTAIN AND ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE

The impact of packaging can make the difference between success or failure of a product. Not only the look and feel of the package, but also the information on the label itself is essential for great shelf appeal. Food labels are the driving force for educating, entertaining and engaging your audience. Something should happen between the consumer and the packaging because a visual cue is the first point of contact with the consumer. It affords the opportunity to evaluate product quality – an essential qualifier for choosing one brand over another. Why pay, even at a cheap price point for a product that does not look and sound appealing?

Packaging that conveys a sense of humor helps to ‘speak’ to the consumer in a friendly and persuasive manner. By tapping into the psyche of a potential customer means that emotional connections are made and break through the clutter that surrounds. The ‘Big Knit’ campaign launched by Innocent did wonders for the brand.

Innocent Smoothies
Innocent – The ‘Big Knit’

OLD SCHOOL RULES

Reflecting back to the good old days of yesteryear conjures up ‘feel good’ memories and nostalgia. And the same holds true for brands and their packaging. We’ve seen a number of cereal and snack companies bring back classic designs and flavors, which ultimately remind consumers of why they first fell in love with a brand or product. It’s about recreating an emotional connection and building a bridge to the evolution of the brand. Bisto also pulled this one off nicely with their 2015 annual collectors tin by putting a contemporary spin on a retro offering.

Bisto
Ahh Bisto! – 2015 Celebration Tin

PLAYGROUND PRICING

Pricing also strongly influences our decision making. The consensus where pricing is concerned is that we sell products to make money. The more products we sell, the more money we make. Sell them at a higher price and fewer people will buy them but we make more profit per unit. Sell them for too little and we will probably sell more but people will assume that they are poor quality. It’s swings and roundabouts but you need to get the balance right to avoid the squabbles. Post Brexit and as of last month, competition between supermarkets means that it’s now cheaper to do your food shopping than it was a year ago – and the price war hasn’t finished yet.

Shopping for the best deals
Supermarket Price Wars – Are prices set to come down further?

THE ‘BOGOF’ EFFECT

The human mind is attracted to anything perceived as a good deal. ‘Buy one get one free’ (BOGOF) is the most popular marketing strategy to persuade people to buy things. People love a bargain and an element of surprise. Limited edition packaging is the another way to build on that affinity, without messing with the brand or the product’s core attributes. Special purchases provide a license to put aside typical behavior constraints so disrupting the norm and encouraging impulsive buying. It’s also an incredible opportunity to drive sales forward and offers a great shortcut to jump into the premium category, encouraging consumers to choose your brand over their preferred choice or the competition.

Labels that feature specific promotional mechanisms are a powerful driver in terms of consumer engagement for encouraging repeat purchase. Linerless labels produced by Ravenwood Packaging provide brand owners with more space to speak to their customers – double the space in fact. Due to the peelable adhesive quality of the glue lines allows for the back of the label to feature additional information such as tips on health, recipes, promotions, information on food safety and much more. Why not read our blog> 10 Reasons to Choose Linerless Labels

Ravenwood Linerless Labels
Ravenwood Linerless Labels – Feature promotional mechanics to the front and back of the label (Ready Meal Sleeve featured)

SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

Sustainable food packaging is a craze that is set to gain momentum in the years ahead as more and more companies are going all out to be ‘seen as green’. And with consumers adopting greener and more ethical lifestyles, food packaging is therefore becoming just as important as the product itself. We’ve covered this topic previously so why not have a read here> The Sustainable Food Packaging Revolution

PANTONE colour of the Year selection for 2017– is non other than ‘Greenery’. Green is a colour of balance and harmony of the mind, the body and the emotions. In colour psychology, it relates to security, wealth and growth. And it’s no wonder, in packaging, the colour green has historically proved popular for organic and environmentally friendly products including wholefoods and plant based. Read our full article here> Food & Packaging Trends – Prepare to See Green in 2017

Mushroom Packaging
Mushroom packaging by Evocative Design – safe, healthy and certified sustainable

TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE

Time. Our lives are defined by the ability to make decisions which are divided into a series of moments. Time is something that we seem to have increasingly less of – as time goes by. Our lives are getting busier and our decision making faster. So the trick is to entice your customer into a moment of engagement – setting the scene for their undivided attention. Your product is counting on it. Is your packaging and labelling selling your products?  If sales are down and products aren’t flying off the shelf then something isn’t working. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn and sometimes we have to look to our more successful competitors. What are they doing that you should be doing better?

Ravenwood linerless label samples and brochures available upon request. Contact us here or call us on 01284 749144 to find out more.

Skin Pack Linerless Labels for Food Packaging

Ravenwood’s Skin Pack linerless labelling system boasts a multitude of benefits. In this article, we focus on the advantages of applying this type of label to VSP (vacuum skin pack) food packaging.

The Concept of VSP (vacuum skin pack)

Skin pack was borne from vacuum packaging which originated back to the 1940’s when the first industrial-grade vacuum sealing device was invented.  This innovative technology has emerged as one of the most practical ways of storing and preserving foods.

With VSP, the preheated film is applied and products are then sealed by way of the vacuum drawing out the oxygen. During this process, the film is pulled down and sealed around the flange of the tray. Unlike MAP (modified atmosphere pack) the film is drawn across the top of the tray. The oxygen is then evacuated, replacing it with a known gas mix. With VSP, products can benefit from extended freshness for an increased shelf life and consequently can be shipped long distance or take to the skies through various altitudes. So from a sustainability perspective, this makes for much reduced food and packaging waste.

Additional benefits include:

  • Attractive and clean presentation on shelf – even after transportation and handling
  • Secures food products in place – even ‘super-protruding’
  • Products can be displayed vertically
  • Minimises leaking of fluids
  • Easy opening options
  • Food punnets (used in MAP) are replaced with shallow trays

Linerless Labels & Skin Pack Benefits

By merging these two technologies means that we double up on the benefits. Ravenwood’s Skin Pack linerless labelling system can be applied to even the most ‘super-protruding’ of food packaging. Items such as roasting joints are particularly bulky so this type of label will make for improved application and adhesion. Applications include ‘landscape full wrap’,  ‘landscape full wrap protruding’ and ‘landscape full wrap super protruding’ – up to 100mm above the height of the tray. A major bonus is that the same tray can be used for a variety of products whether it be cuts of meat or fish. And what’s more, as fewer tray styles are required, they can be smaller which equals less packaging.

Application & Functionality

Our Skin Pack labels are applied by our Nobac 400v and 500 machines with Skin Pack labelling capabilities. But if you don’t want to splash out on a new machine then send us your existing 400 or 500 applicator and we’ll add the functionality to it.

Labelling in a Linerless Age

More attention is shifting to linerless labelling as producers and packers are realising the benefits that comes with simply eliminating the carrier paper. By choosing linerless for your skin pack packaging means that you’ll be privy to a multitude of benefits. Read our blog ’10 Reasons for Choosing Linerless Labels’ to fully enlighten yourself.

Our planet is experiencing instability across all continents. From rising sea levels, fluctuating temperatures and increased carbon dioxide to declining levels of arctic land and sea ice. These elements are the key triggers in how climate change is recorded and monitored. We should all strive to reduce what we can and offset what we can’t. Join the linerless revolution today…

Samples available upon request. Contact us here or call us on 01284 749144 to find out more.

beamovision-skin-pack-labels
Beamovision – Skin Pack Linerless Labels

10 Reasons for Choosing Linerless Labels

Ravenwood linerless labels are a wonder of the modern age. The vast number of food packaging plants around the world that employ our labels and applicators is testament that linerless is a leading technology where sustainability is the number one driver.

1. The environment will love you for it

Siliconised label liner is waste as it can’t be recycled or burned. World consumption of pressure sensitive labels is running at 1.4 million tons annually of which less than 12% is recycled. Consequently, that amounts to a whopping 616,000 tons of liner waste material that ends up in landfill. But the good news is, this is now completely avoidable.

2. Your safety and that of your peers could count on it

Label liner can sometimes end up on the print room floor and with its silicone coating, it can leave you open to trips and falls. About 8 million people a year in the United States alone are victims to slips and falls – that’s 15% of all workplace accidents. Avoid these sticky situations by opting for linerless.

3. You’ll get the job done quicker

Linerless labels allow for more labels per roll, resulting in longer runs and increased uptime. Quick changeovers mean that line speeds are not compromised and you’ll spend less time cleaning up liner waste. So therefore, an increase in production efficiency is a major advantage.

4. You’ll stop wasting money 

Linerless reels weigh up to 40% less and take up 40% less space than those with carrier backing paper. So the good news is, you’ll profit from decreased shipping and storage costs. And by eliminating the liner means avoiding landfill disposal costs too and the headache that tends to go with it.

5. Innovation is our passion

Our diverse range of linerless labels suit a wide variety of tray styles for food packaging applications. And what’s more, we keep on innovating. We’ve introduced 3 new groundbreaking products to our product portfolio – all born in our very own Inventing Shed. The Slideable label is a linerless label like no other, it slides like a cardboard sleeve yet comes supplied on a roll. We’ve also adopted this technology for our Slideable Ready Meal Linerless Label which is now emerging as the label of choice for straight-to-oven ready meals. Skin Pack Labelling is also a fairly new concept. This style of packaging is great for extending the shelf life of food. And the good news is, our linerless labels can adhere to even the most bulky of products.

6. Our range of Nobac applicators won’t disappoint

Our Nobac machines enable a full range of labelling formats suited to a vast expanse of product requirements. By utilising board, paper and synthetic substrates, our applicators offer enhanced flexibility. And by printing at the point of application, wasted printed labels on changeovers will be minimised. Furthermore, in addition to sleeving fixed weight products, there is the option of linking to weigh scales for variable weight products in addition to check weighing.

7. We’ve gone viral

Ravenwood Packaging has sold over 1000 applicators and with over 14 billion applications every year, our linerless technology is amplifying on a global scale.  As a result, our labels can be found across Europe, Asia, North America and Russia.

8. You’ll be in safe hands

Our customers are privy to a complete support package including servicing, parts and technical assistance with our field based Raveneers always on alert – ready and waiting for your call. Furthermore, we offer a break down and call out service as and when the need arises. And our well-stocked cupboard is bursting with spare parts which can be rushed to you on a next day delivery.

9. We know our stuff

Established in 2004, we’ve got 12 years of linerless experience under our belts.  We are gurus in our field – all knowledgeable in all things linerless. Wizards of the linerless age.

10.  You’ll become a part of the linerless revolution

We valiantly strive to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and we’re proud to be doing our bit for the environment. And that’s not just our neck of the woods but on a global scale. By choosing linerless means that you’ll be helping to protect and sustain Planet Earth for future generations to come.

Contact us here or call us on 01284 749144 to find out more.

Linerless Labels
10 Reasons for Choosing Linerless Labels