You are on page 1of 98

Labelling Index

Labelling Index _________________________________________________________________________________________1

Objectives _____________________________________________________________________________________________4
Development of paper ___________________________________________________________________________________6

Development of printing _________________________________________________________________________________8


Features of a label paper _________________________________________________________________________________9


Paper manufacturing ___________________________________________________________________________________12



Manufacturing developments


The modern paper mill


Paper additives:


Metallised paper


Aluminium foil labels


Functions of a label ____________________________________________________________________________________17



Functions of a label


Types of container _____________________________________________________________________________________20



Types of label according to the labelling material ___________________________________________________________22



Types of label according to the shape or function


Common types of label by position are:


Tamper proof labels:


Types of labelling machine and labelling devices ___________________________________________________________25



Labeller manufacturers _________________________________________________________________________________28



Labeller conveyors and container handling ________________________________________________________________30



The labelling aggregates ________________________________________________________________________________33



The glue roller and scraper blade _________________________________________________________________________36

Page 1 of 98



The pallets ____________________________________________________________________________________________39



The magazines ________________________________________________________________________________________41



The gripper cylinder ____________________________________________________________________________________44



The bottle table and brushes_____________________________________________________________________________46



Aggregate adjustments _________________________________________________________________________________49



Aggregate radial position and aggregate tangential position


A skew label caused by the aggregate tangential position being incorrect.


Label removal in the washer (pulped labels) ________________________________________________________________56



Pulped labels:


Label adhesives _______________________________________________________________________________________57



Common adhesives:














Characteristics of adhesives


Storage of materials ____________________________________________________________________________________61



Methods of date coding _________________________________________________________________________________62



Methods of date coding


Laser date coding ______________________________________________________________________________________65



Types of lasers:


Ink jet coding__________________________________________________________________________________________69



The components of the machine, and their operation.


Page 2 of 98

Ink cabinet


Print head


Fluids system (hydraulics system)


Creation of ink drops


Ink drop deflection and printing


Videojet maintenance


Shutdown procedure


Cleaning the print head


Adjusting the ink stream


Adjusting the ink break up


Purging the ink system


Phasing faults


Cleaning and storage of parts ____________________________________________________________________________81



Safety ________________________________________________________________________________________________83


Some other points:


Labeller Questions _____________________________________________________________________________________85



Labeller key terms _____________________________________________________________________________________95

Page 3 of 98

Having completed this course the student should have achieved the following objectives:
Development of paper

Know the history of labelling and the

development of labelling machines

Development of printing

Explain the origins of printing.

Features of a label

Identify 10 features of a good label for

a successful labelling operation.

Paper manufacturing

Describe how coated and metallised

paper is manufactured.

Functions of a label

To describe the functions of labelling

Types of container

Identify common containers used in

beverage packaging.

Types of labelling machine and

labelling devices

Identify types of labelling machines

used in beverage packaging.

Labeller manufacturers

Name 4 labeller manufacturers.

The labelling aggregates

Be able to name aggregate

components (The group of parts that
move together to apply a glued label
to a bottle).

The glue roller and scraper blade

Describe the function of the glue roller

and scraper blade.

The magazines

Name and describe the function of

label magazines components.

The gripper cylinder

Describe the function of the gripper


The bottle table and brushes

Describe the functions of the bottle

table & brushes.

Aggregate adjustments

Explain the mechanical adjustment of

labelling station.

Label removal

Identify problems caused by pulped

labels associated with label removal
from washer.

Label adhesives

Know condition of glue suitable

(suitability) for labelling. Identify 5
quality criteria of right type of glue for
labelling. Identify the advantages and
disadvantages of starch, dextrin, and
casein-based glue. Identify 6
characteristics of glue.
Page 4 of 98

Storage of materials

Identify 5 good practices for proper

storage conditions of labels & glue

Methods of date coding

Understand the principles of date


Laser date coding

Identify 6 types of laser. Identify 6

classes of laser and the hazards
associated with each class.

Ink jet coding

Identify 5 major components of inkjet

coding machine. Explain the working
principle of inkjet coding machine.
Identify the key maintenance aspects.

Cleaning and storage of parts

Identify good practices for cleaning &

storage of labeller parts


Identify safety features in a labeller

Identify good practices of operating a
labeller safely.

Page 5 of 98

Development of paper
To discuss the history of labelling and the development of labelling machines

Once mankind developed farming skills and was able to construct buildings, people settled
in villages and small communities, and later towns and cities. Trade between communities
and nations became widespread as different communities specialised in producing
particular items or raw materials.
The need arose for the identification of products. Archaeological remains show that many
trade commodities- oil, wines, spices, dyes etc.. were identified by means of inscriptions
on clay tablets, or by inscriptions directly engraved on clay pots, identifying the product
and where it came from.
Before the invention of paper, various cultures used different materials to record written
information. Stone, metal, wood, papyrus, clay, parchment, vellum, cloth, tree leaves, bark,
and rice-pith "paper" have all filled this role at one time or another.
The Sumerians, who inhabited southern
Mesopotamia , first developed writing in the form of
pictographs around 4000 B.C. Since clay was
readily available in the region, it was used as the
writing surface. By around 3000 B.C., the
pictograms had evolved into wedge-shaped
characters that were drawn with the edge of a

Many cultures have adapted tree

bark for record-keeping use in one
way or another. The Batak people
of Indonesia used long strips of
bark, which were folded
accordion-style and bound
between wooden covers. Tree
leaves were used as a writing
material in India and Southeast
Asia to record Buddhist scriptures.

Page 6 of 98

Rice-pith paper is cut spirally from the

inner pith of the kung-shu plant.

The Chinese have traditionally used it as a

medium for painting. Brought to England
by 19th-century sailors, it so closely
resembled real paper that it was
erroneously called "rice paper".

Papyrus, made from reeds, has played an important role in history. The oldest written
papyrus rolls date back 5000 years, and the word "paper" itself is derived from the
Greek and Latin words for papyrus.
AD 105 is often cited as the year in which
papermaking was invented. In that year,
records show that the invention of paper
was reported to the Chinese Emperor by
Ts'ai Lun, an official of the Imperial Court.
Early Chinese paper was probably made
from a suspension of hemp waste in
water, washed, soaked, and beaten to a
pulp with a wooden mallet. A paper
mould, probably a sieve of coarsely
woven cloth stretched in a four-sided
bamboo frame, was used to dip up the
fibre slurry from the vat and hold it for

Chinese papermakers also spread their craft into Central Asia and Persia, from which it
was later introduced into India by traders.
Papermaking spread to Baghdad in the 8th century AD and into Damascus, Egypt, and
Morocco by the 10th century.
It took nearly 500 years for papermaking to reach Europe. Although the export of paper
from the Middle East to Europe began in the 10th and 11th centuries, the craft was
apparently not established in Spain and Italy until the 12th century.
Early paper was at first disfavoured by the Christian world as a manifestation of Moslem
culture, and a 1221 decree from Pope Frederick II declared all official documents written
on paper to be invalid.

Page 7 of 98

Development of printing
To explain the origins of printing.
In the early 1450's rapid cultural change in Europe
fuelled a growing need for the fast and cheap production
of written documents. Johannes Gutenberg borrowed
money to develop the printing press.

Scribal monks sanctioned by the Church had overseen

the maintenance and hand-copying of sacred texts for
centuries but these scribes simply could not keep up
with the commercial demand for books.

Gutenberg foresaw enormous profit-making

potential for a printing press that used movable
metal type.
He developed his press by combining features
of existing technologies: textile, papermaking
and wine presses. Perhaps his most significant
innovation, however, was the efficient moulding
and casting of movable metal type.
Gutenberg designed a Latin print Bible which
became his signature work.
Left is a page from the Guttenberg Bible, the
first printed bible.

Page 8 of 98

Features of a label paper

Identify 10 features of a good label for a successful labelling operation.

A successful labelling operation is very much

dependent on the type and quality of paper
used. Ideally the paper should be suitable for
the operating environment, the condition of the
containers to be labelled, and the brand image.
Where returnable containers are used, ease of
label removal in the bottle washer is also

The ideal label is one that looks attractive and persuades the consumer to buy the product,
handles without problems on the labelling machine, and remains firmly bonded to the
bottle throughout its useful life.
A good label paper has certain ingredients and possesses various characteristics which
Features of a label paper
Caustic resistance and Caustic permeability
Mechanical strength and tear strength
Correct size and design
A smooth front finish and a rough rear finish
Water absorption (Cobb value)
Curling tendency / Grain Direction
Adequate grammage
Ash content

Page 9 of 98

Caustic resistance and Caustic permeability: Labels should be slightly resistant to the
action of bottle washing detergents, specifically caustic, to prevent the label paper fibres
being reduced to a pulp and contaminating the washing solution. They must however be
permeable to caustic, so that it can penetrate the label and dissolve the glue.
Mechanical Strength (Tear Strength): This refers to the amount of force required to
continue tearing an initial cut in a single sheet of paper. High speed labelling subjects the
label paper to mechanical stresses, thus the degree of tear strength must be sufficient to
prevent damage and tearing during label application, particularly when gripper cylinders
remove the label from the pallet.
Flexibility: This is the ability of the paper to curl sufficiently enough to fit the curved
surface of the bottle.
Correct Size and Design: Cutting of the labels by the printer to the correct size and shape
ensures uniformity of the labels when glued to the containers. Labels cut to the wrong size
will cause feed problems in the magazine.
Surface finish: Ideally label paper is smooth on the front surface, so that the printing and
design features present an attractive visual appearance, and it is rough on the reverse
side. This is particularly important when labelling wet bottles, as a rough paper with the
correct Cobb value absorbs water more quickly than a smooth paper surface, and so
prevents the labels from skidding on the containers.
Absorption (COBB value): The amount of moisture absorbed by one square metre of
paper in a specific time is called its Cobb value. To create a bond between the label and
the container, the moisture content of the glue must be reduced. The paper absorbs the
moisture from the glue, leaving behind the glue solids which form the adhesive layer that
binds the label to the container.
The quicker the paper absorbs the moisture, the quicker the glue solidifies, giving a secure

Page 10 of 98

Curling Tendency / Grain Direction: This refers to the curling property of the paper
under variations in heat and humidity. One of the ingredients of label papers is cellulose
fibre. These fibres should all lie in one direction, which is called the grain of the paper.
When absorbing or losing moisture, paper fibres contract or expand in one direction only,
which causes the paper to curl.
A simple way of checking the grain direction is
to moisten the back of the label with water
and note the direction of the curl. If it curls
from top to bottom, it is correct for labelling
application. Once labels have curled, they
cannot be used, as the fibres, swollen with
moisture, dont return to their original size
even when dry. Labels with too little moisture
on the other hand, dry out, shrink in size and
loose their tensile strength. It is thus essential
to store labels under the correct humidity

Grammage: The mass or weight of a measured size of paper expressed in grams per
square metre.
ASH content: If a label is burnt, the residue left is the ash. Inorganic matter such as china
clay and other filling agents, make up this ash. A good label paper has an adequate
balance of organic material, like wood or sugar cane fibres, and inorganic ash materials
like fillers.
Brightness: The amount of light reflected by the paper.
All of the above features are combined by the paper manufacturer to produce a suitable
paper for labels.

Page 11 of 98

Paper manufacturing
Describe how coated and metallised paper is manufactured.
Manufacturing developments
The principles used to make paper by the Chinese are not that different from the
processes of today. Preparing the stock, forming the paper web, drying the sheet, and
applying coatings and additives are the basic steps of paper making that have remained
Paper is principally made from Cellulose fibres. There are various sources of such fibres
which include wood and sugar cane.
European papermakers used cotton or linen fibre from rags. The rags were heated in a
solution of alkali, then washed and mashed to a pulp, which was then bleached to remove
the final traces of any dyes.
In 1798, the Frenchman NicholasLouis Robert invented a machine on
which paper was formed on a
continuous sheet of wire cloth.

The machine designs came to the

attention of brothers Henry and
Sealy Fourdrinier, who built a new
and further improved machine in
1807. Most modern paper machines
are referred to as "Fourdrinier"

European papermakers were the first to use watermarks. An offshoot of the guild system,
the watermark served as a means of identifying the paper with the members of the trade
organisation who manufactured it.

Page 12 of 98

The modern paper mill

Logs or sugar cane are brought to the mill,
the logs are chopped up into small chips.
The chips are fed into the top of a digester
and mixed with caustic soda. In the digester,
lignin is dissolved (Lignin is the "glue" which
holds the wood together), and the cellulose
fibres are released as pulp.
The next step is to bleach the pulp by treating
it with chlorine. A paper mill uses many
stages of bleaching, often with different
treatments at each step, to produce a bright
white pulp.
Chlorine bleaching generally provides the
best performance with the least damage to
the fibres

The individual cellulose fibres are still hollow and stiff, so they are broken down to help
them stick to one another in the paper web. This is accomplished by "beating" the pulp in
the refiners, vessels with a series of rotating sharp metal disks.
Once the pulp has been bleached and refined, it is rinsed and diluted with water, and
fillers such as clay may be added. For label paper a resin is included to give wet
This solution is pumped into the headbox of the paper machine and is dispensed onto the
wire, a moving continuous belt of wire or plastic mesh. As it travels down the wire, much of
the water drains away or is pulled away by suction from underneath. The cellulose fibres
trapped on the wire stick to one another to form the paper web. From the wire, the newly
formed sheet is transferred onto a cloth belt (or felt) in the press section, where rollers
squeeze out much of the remaining water.
After leaving the press section, the sheet reaches the drying cylinders. These are large
hollow cylinders, heated internally, which dry the paper as it passes over them. The sheet
will be wound up and down over many cylinders in the drying process. Between dryer
sections, label paper is coated with starch additives to improve the surface smoothness.
China clay will normally be added to increase the brightness of the paper.
Following another round of drying, the paper sheet is passed through a series of polished,
close-stacked metal rollers known as a calendar where it is pressed smooth.

Page 13 of 98

Finally, the sheet is collected on a take-up roll and removed from the paper machine.

Paper additives:
Binders: Starches that improve the strength or flexibility of the paper.
Sizing agents: Resins that coat the paper and control the absorption of moisture.
Pigments: China clay increases the brightness of the paper.

Page 14 of 98

Metallised paper
Often labels are printed on an embossed metallised paper which gives the product an
attractive image. The process of manufacture is the same as for coated papers, until the
metallisation stage.
The coated side of the paper is given a final very smooth
coating and covered with a primer lacquer, and dried to
eliminate 99% of the moisture. It then passes on a roller
through 2 vacuum chambers where pure aluminium wire is
vaporised at 250C. The paper passes over a chilled roller
where the aluminium vapour condenses, depositing an ultra
thin layer of metal onto the paper.

The paper is rolled up with the aluminium coating on the

inside to reduce oxidation of the coating. The paper then
receives a second primer coating sealing the aluminium
layer. This preserves the metallic shine and gives a more
receptive surface for printing. To prevent shrinkage during
printing and subsequent labelling, the paper is remoistened.
Before printing the metallised paper must be embossed.

Aluminium foil labels

Foils are manufactured from soft annealed aluminium, which is rolled to a thickness of
0.012mm, usually with an embossed or stamped worm grain pattern which makes it more
pliable and easily mouldable to the bottle neck contours. Neck foils give a prestige image
to a product, and can be overprinted with logos and designs.
Foil neck labels are applied in much the same way as conventional paper labels, that is,
pre-cut in the required shape and size, stacked in a label magazine, removed by means of
glue pallets and transferred to the bottles by a mechanical gripper cylinder.
When foil labels cover the crown the centering bell is different, with a spring loaded button
holding the top of the bottle firmly onto the bottle platform, enabling the foil to be wrapped
around the top of the bottle.
After the foil has been transferred to the bottle neck, a special series of brushes wrap the
foil around the neck area and fold the upper foil over the top of the bottle. A final brushing
with motorised brushes mounted above the discharge moulds the foil closely to the neck
Page 15 of 98

Where a brand name or logo

is printed on the foil, correct
alignment of the body label
with the foil is essential, as is
the brushing of the foil onto
the neck to ensure that the
printed area is flat and wrinkle

Page 16 of 98

Functions of a label
To describe the functions of labelling.

Most of the items that we consume

are packaged. Whenever a product is
packaged, it then has to be labelled
in some way to identify the contents
of the package. We can apply a label,
the package can be pre-printed or we
can print on the package itself.

Originally labelling was used solely for the purpose of identifying a product.
In the modern world labelling is a sophisticated way of not only identifying the product but
selling the product as well. Labels have to comply with various legal requirements such
as a list of ingredients, the place of origin, the date of manufacture and freshness, and
often directions for use as well.
A label therefore is more than simply an
identification or decoration, it is also
With dangerous or poisonous substances
warning messages have to be included.
In some cases labels have a religious
function, identifying those products that are
Kosher or Halaal, and can therefore be safely
utilised by consumers without breaking the
dietary laws of their particular faith.

Page 17 of 98

There is tremendous competition in the

marketplace from many manufacturers
trying to sell a wide range of products.
All wish for a bigger share of the market.
The manner in which the product is
presented to the consumer is vital, no
matter how good a product is, it must
also look good in order to appeal to the

The first thing that a consumer notices is

the packaging and Labelling, they rarely
get to see the contents of the package
until after they have purchased it.

The purpose of labelling or package decoration is to attract maximum attention from the
There is no doubt that effective labelling increases sales and when this is linked with
other forms of advertising in the press, radio or television, the image of the product is
Building a long term brand loyalty with the consumer is one way of ensuring market share.
In order to accomplish this, a product must be instantly recognisable by its appearance,
i.e. its package and label decoration. Changing a label or package design can have
serious negative effects on sales, if consumers believe that the product has changed in
some way.
Much research goes into the design of packaging and labelling to fulfil the marketing
objectives, and many ingenious ideas to increase sales and brand awareness are evident
on the store shelves.

Page 18 of 98

Functions of a label
Functions of a label


Identifies product


Identifies volume of contents

330 ml

Advertises product

Heineken colours, star logo

Appeals to consumer

Heineken colours, green logo, neat labels

Carries brand and image information

Cold filtered etc

Identifies country or place of origin

Product of APB

Identifies ingredients

Made from barley, water, sugar and hops

Identifies manufacturing and

consume by dates

Best before 30 April 2001

Carries safety warnings or health


Only for sale to those over 18 years old

Carries nutritional information

Alcohol 5% by volume

Carries religious compliance


Beth Din stamp (Jewish)

Carries regulatory compliance


E mark (European acceptance)

Help seal or secure the lid of the


Anti pilfer type labels, security strips

Carries service support details

Customer care line phone number

May provide promotional material

Peel off label to win a prize

Page 19 of 98

Types of container
Identify common containers used in beverage packaging.

The type of label that is used is very much dependent on the container that is being used.
There is a wide range of different containers and packaging materials in use today:
Glass Bottles

Plastic bottles

Aluminium or Steel, Cans or Kegs

Plastic drums

Page 20 of 98

Plastic containers with foil seals

When packaging carbonated beverages, the container must be capable of withstanding

the carbonation pressure.
The most common packages in the carbonated beverage industry are:
Glass bottles
Steel or aluminium cans
PET bottles
Kegs or casks
Glass is the traditional packaging material in the beverage industry.
Apart from a standardised range of bottle types used for beer, soft drinks, wine, fruit juices
and spirits, there are many non standard containers, some of which have complex shapes
which can present a labelling challenge. The purpose of these unique shapes is to create
instant brand recognition in the market place.
Glass has the advantage of being relatively cheap, imparts no off flavours to the
product, does not allow the escape of gases such as CO2 and it can be recycled. Glass is
however heavy to transport. This has led to the introduction of PET bottles for soft drinks,
and the increased use of cans or non-returnable bottles made of much thinner glass.

Page 21 of 98

Types of label according to the labelling material

Name common types of label used in beverage packaging.

Labelling technology caters for almost every shape of container, round, square,
rectangular, and every size from vials to kegs and crates.
A major consideration that often determines the type of label to be used is the type of
container. Labels can be paper, metallised or plastic.
Glass bottles are most often labelled with paper labels, but metallised labels can be
used, as can self adhesive labels which are made from a plastic laminate, or aluminium
This neck label is an aluminium foil label

The body label is metallised paper

Rigid substances such as glass, ceramics, metal or hard plastics retain their shape and
the label can be pressed on. Soft plastics, PET, polystyrene, PVC and cardboard have to
be handled with delicacy to prevent distortion or breakage.

Page 22 of 98

PET and plastic bottles are normally labelled

with continuous roll or CONTI ROLL labels,
a plastic sleeve is wrapped around the
container and then either glued to itself or
heat shrunk over the container.

In the beverage industry cans are normally pre-printed for the product that they contain,
and no label is applied. In the food industry the food is canned when crops of fruit or
vegetables are harvested and labels applied afterwards.

Types of label according to the shape or function

Most of the names given to labels refer to the area of the container to which they are
applied, for example body area, shoulder area or neck area.
The wine and champagne industries have very specific labels such as the wine medallion
and a diagonal strip label authenticating the type of wine and the region of origin.
Champagne and sparkling wines usually have a neck band covering the lower edge of
either a pre-applied neck capsule or foil.
Common types of label by position are:
Body label
Shoulder label
Back label
Wrap around body label
Neck label
Tax stamp
Wrap around shoulder label
Wrap around neck label

Page 23 of 98

Tamper proof labels:

Some products, especially those in
supermarkets, have a narrow strip label
extending vertically from the body or neck
label of the container to the closure.
Breakage of the label alerts the consumer to
the fact that the container has been opened
and may no longer be sterile or safe to

Page 24 of 98

Types of labelling machine and labelling devices

Identify types of labelling machines used in beverage packaging.

Standard containers of simple cross

sectional shape and with a basic label
design are easily labelled by relatively
inexpensive machines.

The machine shown here applies a

back, neck and body label.

The more complex the cross sectional

shape of the container becomes, and
the more complex or extensive the label
requirements, the more sophisticated
becomes the labelling machinery.

This machine is designed for labelling


This machine applies a wrap around label

to plastic bottles whilst they are conveyed
in line, it is an in-line labelling machine.

Page 25 of 98

This mechanism is fitted to Krones labellers

to apply tax stamps to Champagne bottles.

It is in fact an aggregate consisting of a

magazine, pallets, gripper cylinder and glue
roller that has been mounted above the
bottles and rotated into the vertical position.

Odd shaped containers such as the square bottles below are normally labelled in-line
and only ever conveyed in single file.
The label is a plastic pressure sensitive self adhesive label on a wax paper backing roll.

Page 26 of 98

Some bottle labels are complex and require

very accurate alignment.

The Krones servo system includes a DC

stepper motor in the base of each bottle pad
which ensures extremely accurate rotational
positioning of the bottles.

Various foil brushing devices have been


This one uses a motorised rotating brush to

smooth the foil onto the bottle.

Small wheels on the discharge star wheel

allow the bottles to freely rotate, causing the
foil to be brushed on as the bottle rotates
against the brushes.

Page 27 of 98

Labeller manufacturers
Name 4 labeller manufacturers.

Well known manufacturers producing labellers are:

Ortmann and Herbst,

Part of the Kettner group,

the Signa labeller is of a
conventional design.

KHS produce a range of

labelling machines under
the Innoket product name.

Page 28 of 98

Vir Mauri produce

labelling machines in Italy

And Krones produce

many different labeller
models, including the
Prontomatic, Starmatic
and Universella.

Page 29 of 98

Labeller conveyors and container handling

Identify and name labeller related components

The infeed conveyor supplies filled and pasteurised bottles to the labeller.
The discharge conveyor conveys the labelled bottles to the packer.

The bottles are separated by the infeed worm so that they are at the same pitch as the
infeed star wheel. The infeed star wheel transfers the bottles into the labeller, the spacing
on the star wheel being equal to the pitch of the labeller bottle transfer.

Page 30 of 98

The infeed conveyor is fitted with an inductive or capacitive sensor (gap detector) that
stops the machine if there are no bottles present, or if there is a fallen bottle. A reset
button is provided to reset the sensor once the problem has been corrected. The sensor
also acts as a missing crown detector, so that any bottles with missing crowns will stop the
machine and can be removed.

The bottle stop is a small star wheel situated in the bottle side guide rail of the infeed
conveyor. The bottle stop will rotate and allow the bottles to pass during normal running.
When the flow of bottles to the infeed is to be stopped, an air cylinder is selected to lock
the bottle stop which will stop rotating and hold the bottles back.
When the flow of bottles is to continue the air cylinder is selected to retract and allow the
bottle stop to rotate and the bottles will pass into the infeed.

Page 31 of 98

Bottles are transferred to the labeller via the infeed star wheel and intermediate star wheel,
and then to the labeller bottle pads.
Once labelled, the discharge star wheel transfers the bottles to the discharge conveyor.

Underneath the star wheels are plates which support the bottles and are important in
achieving a smooth transfer. The height of the transfer plate and the conveyor or bottle
table must be the same to ensure that the bottles transfer smoothly into the machine.

The latest Krones machines use clamping

star wheels instead of fixed star wheels.
These allow for bottle size differences of up
to 10mm without having to change the
bottle handling parts.

Page 32 of 98

The labelling aggregates

Name aggregate components
(The group of parts that move together to apply a glued label to a bottle).

There are normally either one or two aggregates on a labeller, an aggregate can apply
more than one label. Having more than one aggregate also makes the operation more
flexible in terms of changeovers and the number of labels that can be applied by one

Page 33 of 98

On Krones machines the body and neck labels are applied first, on KHS machines the
back label is applied first.
The aggregate is shown below when viewed from the top.
The collection of parts shown below is known as an aggregate. It consists of a gearbox,
pallet turret, gripper cylinder drive, glue roller drive and label magazine mounting points.
The entire aggregate can be moved in and out relative to the machine centre (radial
adjustment), and side to side relative to the machine centre (tangential adjustment).

Page 34 of 98

This cut away drawing shows the components of a KHS aggregate.

KHS machines differ from those of Krones in that on the KHS machine the pallet shaft is
fixed to the gearbox, so that the pallets have to be unbolted from the shafts each time that
the label shape is changed.
Here we can see the drive system for the pallets and gripper cylinder from a Krones

Page 35 of 98

The glue roller and scraper blade

Describe the function of the glue roller and scraper blade.

Aggregates have either a rubber glue roller with steel pallets, as below, or a steel glue
roller with rubber coating .
Steel glue rollers are a fairly recent development (last ten years). They allow more
accurate glue film thickness control, and are less susceptible to damage if a stray label is
lodged under the scraper blade.
The glue roller is a cylinder which mounts on the roller drive shaft and rotates on it. The
drive shaft has a key which locates in the slot in the roller.
The glue roller retains a film of glue on its surface which coats the glue pallets with a film
of glue. The glue on the roller is supplied from the glue pump through the glue nozzle
which is mounted on the glue scraper assembly.
The scraper blade presses very close to the glue roller to make sure that only a thin film of
glue is transferred to the pallets.

When no bottles are being labelled, the scraper blade is pushed hard against the glue
roller by a solenoid unit. This ensures that excess glue does not build up on the pallets if
the machine is left rotating.

Page 36 of 98

When bottles enter the machine, the solenoid is retracted, and the glue film thickness
depends on the setting of the vernier screw shown below:

Page 37 of 98

Krones now offer a

laser glue film
thickness measuring
device that uses a
laser beam to
measure the
thickness of the glue
on the roller.

Page 38 of 98

The pallets
To describe the purpose of pallets in a labeller.

The pallet turret consists of the turret base and sockets, the glue pallet shafts with their
pallets, and the turret cover.

The turret base houses the pallet sockets. The pallet shaft drive ends slot into these
sockets. Always ensure that the pallets match up to their numbered markings on the base
and that the pins in the sockets line up with the slots in the pallet shafts.

Socket number

Pallet shaft

Pallet shaft number

The purpose of the pallets is to collect a film of glue from the glue roller, pick up a single
body label (and neck label) from the magazine with the film of glue which will be
transferred to the labels and then position the labels so that the gripper fingers can remove
the labels from the pallet. (Or to pick up a back label in the case of the pallets on the back
labelling station).

Page 39 of 98

The pallets are attached to the pallet shaft as shown below.

The cut outs in the pallet allow for the pallet to pick up a label from the magazine, and to
transfer it to the gripper cylinder, without the pallet touching the magazine or the gripper

Page 40 of 98

The magazines
Name and describe the function of label magazines components

The label magazines are mounted on the label carriages and are held in place on the
mounting bars by the magazine mounting clamps. The purpose of the magazine is to
store a supply of labels to be picked up by a glue pallet on demand.
The magazines are made up of the following components:
The magazine body
The mounting clamps
The label guides
The slide tensioner
The fingers or prongs

The magazines have a piston underneath the magazine carriage, that pulls the magazines
away from the carriage when labels are not needed, and brings the carriage into the
aggregate as bottles enter the machine.

Page 41 of 98

Image courtesy KHS

The magazine fingers are adjustable to provide equal pressure on the labels at all points,
and must be positioned within the pallet cut-outs so that the fingers do not touch the

The sensor on the infeed star wheel controls the operation of the carriage:

Page 42 of 98

A delay timing device receives a signal from the sensor, then activates the air supply to the
magazine carriage so that the magazine moves in to the path of a glue pallet, a label is
transferred to the pallet, from the pallet to the gripper cylinder, and from the gripper
cylinder to the first bottle that enters the machine.
Incorrect positioning of this sensor will lead to either the first bottle having no label each
time that the bottle stop opens, or else to there being an extra label on the pallets each
time the bottle stop opens.
This extra label normally finds its way under the scraper blade against the glue roller.
The construction of the magazine can help to prevent the wrong position (e.g. upside
down) of labels especially those with a symmetrical shape like body label. (It's a good idea
that body or shoulder label should have a cut slot on the label or applied colour on one
side of a stack of labels to prevent reverse or upside-down loading of labels into

Page 43 of 98

The gripper cylinder

Describe the function of the gripper cylinder

The gripper cylinder consists of the following components:

Gripper fingers to remove the label from the pallet and to release the label once it is
in place on the bottle.
Anvils that the gripper fingers clamp the labels up against.
Air blowers to keep the labels straight and assist them off the anvils once they are
in place on the bottle.
Sponges to push the label in place on the bottle at point of transfer.
Cams on the cylinder to operate the gripper fingers.

The gripper cylinder fits onto a hexagonal shaft, but the shaft is cut asymmetrically, so that
there is only one position that the gripper cylinder fits on. For this reason it is necessary to
rotate the gripper cylinder when fitting it to the shaft.

Page 44 of 98

When the gripper cylinder is installed it is important that the cam control arm is located in
the slot to stop it rotating.
Also note the white spacer that has been fitted onto the shaft below the gripper cylinder.

It is only possible to remove or fit a gripper cylinder if the aggregate has been pulled out
from the machine. If the aggregate has not been pulled out, the gripper cylinder will collide
with the top of the machine frame when you try to lift it off of the shaft.

Page 45 of 98

The bottle table and brushes

Describe the functions of the bottle table & brushes

The bottle table is the rotating base of the machine which carries the bottles past the
labelling station and through the brushing station to the discharge.
Mounted in the bottle table are the bottle platforms. The bottles stand on the bottle
platforms and are rotated by gears in the bottle table.

Page 46 of 98

The centering bells push down on to the bottles from above and hold the top of the bottle
in place. The dished washer at the top will stop the machine (by activating a sensor) if the
bell is suddenly released, such as when a bottle has burst:

Once the label has been applied to the bottle by the aggregate, it passes through several
brushing stations which brush the labels onto the bottle so that they cannot come loose.
The body and neck brushes brush on the body label and commence the brushing of the
neck foil (This is how your brushes SHOULD look !!).

These brushes have been correctly set up so that:

The brushes are at 90 degrees to the bottle surface
The brushes apply equal pressure to both sides of the label
The brushes will not move or pull the label.
For the back labels sponge rollers may also assist in pressing on the label:
Page 47 of 98

Where foil labels are applied, then towards the discharge the bottle is rotated to brush one
side of the foil completely around the neck (The correct positioning of these brushes is
critical, a fraction of a mm can tear the foil or cause creasing:

The discharge star wheel is fitted with rollers that cause the bottle to rotate whilst in the
star wheel. A set of brushes mounted over the star wheel ensures that the foil is brushed
completely in place all around the bottle

Page 48 of 98

Aggregate adjustments
To explain the mechanical adjustment of the labelling station.

Adjustments that can be made by the labeller operator at the aggregate are:
Glue film thickness on the glue roller
Glue temperature
Glue pump delivery rate to the glue roller
Aggregate radial position
Aggregate tangential position

We shall look at these in two groups, those relating to glue and those relating to the
aggregate position:
Glue film thickness on the glue roller
Glue temperature
Glue pump delivery rate to the glue roller
These adjustments are made at the glue pump and glue roller scraper blade.
The glue film thickness adjustment is probably the
most basic and important adjustment that the
operator makes. It is essential that the glue film is
thin enough to allow for fast drying of the glue (or
else the label is damaged on the conveyors) yet
thick enough to secure the label properly. A
vernier screw is normally provided as shown here,
which when screwed clockwise moves the scraper
away from the roller and thus gives a thicker glue

(Remember, clockwise direction = more glue !!)

Page 49 of 98

The correct glue film, as shown here, leaves a

pattern of distinct lines of glue on the bottle. It is
checked by removing a bottle at the labeller
discharge and pulling off the label before the glue
has dried. The spaces between the lines are
produced by the pattern cut onto the pallets, and to
facilitate the speedy of drying and allow better
penetration of detergent during washing process.

If the lines join up with no gaps between the glue is too thick. If the lines break up the glue
is too thin. Adjustments are made at the glue scraper blade as shown above.
Some labellers now have a split scraper blade, that allows a separate adjustment of the
glue film thickness at the top and bottom of the glue roller. This allows a thin film of glue to
be applied to the body label and a thicker film of glue to be applied to the neck label, which
is often necessary to spread the glue out to the outer corners of the neck label and stop it
becoming loose.
The amount of glue delivered by the glue
pump to the scraper blade is adjusted at the
glue pump. The glue pump is air operated,
with the air being used to perform up and
down strokes of the pump. The speed of
each up or down stroke is adjusted with a
small exhaust valve.
If the pump runs too fast then the glue will be
pumped to the scraper blade and back to the
glue drum many times, which can lead to the
glue breaking up and becoming lumpy.
If the pump runs too slow then there will not
be sufficient glue at the scraper blade and all
of the labels will fall off of the bottles.
The correct pump speed is checked by the
amount of glue delivered to the roller, and
with the labeller running only a little glue
should flow back to the glue drum.
A correct stroke speed is normally similar in speed to the ticking of a clock, i.e.: about 1
second per stroke.

Page 50 of 98

Glue temperature is indicated on the glue pump pipe, and is adjusted at the glue heater.
The temperature affects the glues viscosity. Too cold and the glue will not spread
properly, too hot and it will dry and fly off the pallets making the labeller dirty. Whilst
Casein glues can operate at 20 to 29C, 25C is probably a good target.

Aggregate radial position and aggregate tangential position

This picture below of a stripped down labeller shows the mounting plate to which the entire
aggregate is secured.
A drive shaft from the labeller drive system is connected to the aggregate when it is
mounted on the plate.

Page 51 of 98

The mounting plate can be moved in two directions. The mounting plate is often referred to
as the cross slide.
The cross slide moves in and out, closer or further from the centre of the labeller. This
adjustment has 2 functions. It allows for different sizes of bottle diameter to be labelled,
and secondly the cross slide is pulled out to allow for the removal of the gripper cylinder.
The cross slide also moves from side to side, i.e. at a tangent to the bottle table. This
adjustment changes the point at which the label is pressed on to the bottle by the gripper

On the aggregate the locking clamp must always be released (turn anti- clockwise) before
moving the aggregate in either direction and re-tightened (turn clockwise) after the
adjustment is complete.

Page 52 of 98

The aggregate position (on Krones Prontomatic labellers) when fully inwards is determined
by a rotating stopper device. Different screws of different lengths allow different bottle
sizes to be accommodated.

The handle shown below is turned to move the aggregate from one side to the other,
which changes the point that the gripper cylinder presses on the labels.
The aggregate is moved tangentially to the bottle table.

Page 53 of 98

A skew label caused by the aggregate tangential position

being incorrect.

When the cross slide position is correct, the label is placed

centrally on the bottle with one third on the glass in the centre
and one third on either side.
Below with the cross slide in the incorrect position, the label is
not placed centrally on the bottle.
When the label is brushed it will be skew.

Adjustment of the aggregate tangential position is probably the one adjustment that
operators have the most problem in understanding, as it is very difficult to see the effect,
and many operators think that skew labels are caused by brushing adjustments. A quick
check is to view the aggregate from above, and if correctly positioned there should be a
straight line between the centre of the machine, the centre of the bottle, and the centre of
the gripper cylinder.

Page 54 of 98

On KHS labellers, the tangential position of the aggregate can only be adjusted from
underneath the machine.
For radial adjustment the
aggregate swings away from the
machine by releasing the locking
clamp and then the aggregate
moves on a circular slide. Stopper
screws as shown here mark the
correct position for different bottle

Page 55 of 98

Label removal in the washer (pulped labels)

Identify problems caused by pulped labels associated with label removal from washer.
(see also module : washing)

It is essential that labels are removed from the washer detergent solution intact. The label
must be permeable to the caustic soda, so that it can penetrate the label and dissolve the
glue holding it to the bottle.
At the same time the label must resist being broken down to a pulp by the caustic soda.
The strength of the pumps extracting the caustic and pumping it to the label drum must
also be set so that it is sufficient to pull the labels towards the drum, but not strong enough
to break them up.
If the labels start to break up they are said to be pulped
Pulped labels:
Inhibit washing efficiency.
Shorten the useful life of the washing detergent.
Clog washer jets & pump strainers.
Cant be removed from the detergent.
Leave deposits on the bottle.
Can be seen as small fibres floating in the product.
It is also important with
metallised labels that the ink
remains on the label.

The inks used on metallised

labels contain heavy metals that
are poisonous, so ink-retention
labels are used to ensure that
the ink stays on the label and is
not dissolved into the washer

Page 56 of 98

Label adhesives
Know suitability conditions of glue for labelling
Identify quality criteria of glue for labelling.
Identify the advantages and disadvantages of starch, dextrin, and casein-based glue.
Identify 6 characteristics of glue.

Selection of the right type of adhesive (glue) is

critical to labelling quality. Glues are applied to
the label by means of a glue roller and
oscillating glue pallets.

The adhesive must be compatible with the

container and label materials and should firmly
bond the container and label together. Adhesive
quality should be strong enough to keep the
label on the bottle throughout handling and
storage in cold wet conditions, yet be easily
removable in the bottle washer in the case of
returnable bottles.

Stainless steel glue roller

The adhesive should not contain any chemicals that can react with the product and give
the product an unpleasant taste. The adhesive must withstand the temperature variations
and humidity experienced when products are exported.
The adhesive should not cause
wrinkling or staining of the label.

The adhesive should not dissolve in

cold, damp conditions as found
inside a fridge (This is called the
ice-proof ability of an adhesive).
The adhesive must be fast drying
to avoid label damage occurring on
the conveyors after the labeller.

Page 57 of 98

Glue consists of a liquid, usually water, or a solvent, with additives to give it good adhesion
and bonding properties. These include various proteins and solids. When glue is applied
the water or other liquid solvents evaporate or are absorbed into the label paper. The solid
particles draw closer together as the glue dries and form the adhesive bond between the 2
During labelling, glue needs to dry quickly,
but must also flow easily and at high speed
onto the pallets. To liquidise the glue so that
it flows easily over the glue roller, pallets and
label surface we heat it with a glue heater.
In the tropics a glue cooler is used.
The correct choice of adhesive is vital for
operational efficiency and economy. The
type and grade of adhesive, operating
temperature, glue film thickness, container
material and the label paper all influence the
labelling process.
Adhesives are classified according to the raw
materials from which they are made. Specific
adhesives are formulated for different

Page 58 of 98

Common adhesives:
Modified Casein
Hot melt
Starch based adhesives: A suspension of starch granules in water, with additives of resins
etc.. Often made from animal waste.


Cheap & easy to manufacture

Low wet gluing capacity

Good machinability

Low ice proof properties

Clean running

Unsuitable for plastic or metal

High Initial tack

Bonds well to glass
Not temperature sensitive
6 month shelf life

Dextrin based adhesives: Manufactured from Dextrin, a starch derivative.



High initial tack

No ice proof properties

Suitable for hot, dry containers

Low solubility
Unsuitable for coated glass, plastic and

Page 59 of 98

Casein based adhesives: Made from milk protein with additives to enhance bonding
properties, solubility, tack, stability and shelf life.



Good wet gluing capability

Consistent manufacture a difficulty

Good ice proof capability

Limited shelf life

Adjustable viscosity

Temperature sensitive

Adheres to variety of containers

Difficult to clean

Good machining characteristics

Destroyed if frozen

Suitable for long production runs

Subject to bacterial growth

Characteristics of adhesives
Wet gluing capability: The ability of the glue to bond to wet containers.
Ice proof capability: Withstands low temperatures and extreme moisture, as is found in a
fridge. Ice-proof is tested by placing a labelled bottle in a bucket of water that is ice cold.
Every hour the bottle is turned 180 degrees by hand, until the labels fall off. 24 hours iceproof ability is a very good standard.
Viscosity: The thickness of a glue, its ability to be poured. The viscosity of a glue
decreases as it is heated.
Temperature: Glue becomes more liquid when heated.
Specific adhesion: This is the ability of a glue to adhere to a perfectly smooth surface. The
bond formed between the label and the container depends on the specific adhesion
qualities of the glue and its ability to wet and spread over the 2 surfaces. Slightly rough
bottle surfaces provide a mechanical anchorage for the glue, which strengthens the bond.
Casein based adhesives are most commonly used for returnable beverage bottling
applications, where paper labels are applied to glass bottles. Casein glues are suitable for
wet containers, but the label paper must have the ability to absorb excess moisture from
the bottle surface. Casein glues work best at 20 to 29C.

Page 60 of 98

Storage of materials
Identify 5 good practices for proper storage conditions of labels & glue.

The importance of correct label and glue storage is often overlooked.

To prevent problems during the labelling process, certain storage conditions should be
Store labels flat at all times.
Store at a relative humidity of 60-70%.
Store at 18-22C.
Remove unused labels from the magazine,
repack in boxes at the end of production.
Practise stock rotation, first in, first out.

Humidity: Labels should not loose moisture during storage. Dried out labels become stiff
and brittle, loose their tensile strength and tend to wrinkle when applied to containers. The
ideal storage humidity for labels is 60-70%, which is similar to the humidity conditions
found in the packaging plant. Labels which absorb moisture tend to swell excessively and
do not return to their original size when dry.
Temperature: An ideal range of between 18 and 22C should be maintained to prevent
wrinkling and distortion of labels.
Repacking: Labels must remain in sealed bags or cartons and only be removed when
required to feed the label magazines. Repack unused labels in moisture proof bags
immediately after shift end or brand change.
Stock Rotation: Practise correct stock rotation, first in, first out. The older a label is, the
more problems are likely to be experienced. Ensure that label stock levels are adequate
but not excessive.
Casein glues should be stored at 20-25C. The glue drum must be closed after use to
prevent drying out, and to keep out bacteria. Maximum storage time is 4 months as the
glue is made of milk proteins.

Page 61 of 98

Methods of date coding

Understand the principles of date coding

Applying a production date or a consume by date is often a part of the labelling process.
The various methods of dating used are:
Methods of date coding

Small cuts are made into the side of the

label to indicate the date.


A code or message is printed onto the label

(or bottle) using an inkjet printer.


A code or message is printed onto the label

by burning through the ink on the label to
expose the paper below.

The Codedge method, though crude, is still in use in many African breweries. Grooves are
cut into the side of the label, the position of the grooves indicating the production date.
The grooves can only normally be read with a codedge card. Some labels have a scale
printed on them so that the use-by date can be read from the scale according to where the
cuts are made, so that a codedge card is not needed.
Here a code has been
marked on the label that
can only be read with a
codedge card. This does
not allow the consumer to
know the production or
consume by date of the

Inkjet date coding is very popular as it can be applied to labels, glass, plastic and various
other materials, and is a non-contact form of date coding.
The Videojet Excell range of date coding machines is very popular, and can be used for
cans or bottles.
Page 62 of 98

Two or three lines of dot-matrix

date code can be applied, and a
form that is easily understood by
the consumer may be
programmed, such as use by 1st

Laser dating systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their neatness and
accuracy in date marking the label.
Carbon Dioxide type lasers are usually used, so a bottle of CO2 has to be attached to the
machine, and a cooling unit is also necessary.

Apart from a little CO2, the lasers should then require almost no maintenance, and can
operate at extremely high speeds.

Page 63 of 98

Carbon dioxide based Laser dating machines cost about three times as much as an inkjet
dating machine. The running cost of a laser is MUCH less than the running cost of an
inkjet dating machine.

Page 64 of 98

Laser date coding

Identify 6 types of laser.
Identify 6 classes of laser and the hazards associated with each class.

Laser is short for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

A Laser applies energy (either electrical discharges or flash lights) to a medium (CO2 in a
CO2 Laser) so that the atoms in that medium become highly excited, and release a stream
of photons.
This is similar to the working of a light bulb, where the filament becomes extremely hot and
gives off the photons that we see as light.
The filament of the light bulb emits light in a random fashion, the light has different
wavelengths and thus a broad range of colours is produced that we see as white light.
In the laser however, the light has a very specific wavelength (colour). Laser light is
Monochromatic (all the same wavelength), it is Coherent (All of the photons are in phase
with each other) and it is Directional in that Laser light forms a very narrow, concentrated
and precise beam that does not spread.

Lasers have a pair of mirrors at each end of the lasing medium. The mirrors reflect
photons back and forth to increase the emission of photons from the medium. One of the
mirrors is half silvered to let some light through, which is the laser beam that is emitted.

Page 65 of 98

Types of lasers:
Solid State Lasers: e.g.: Ruby Lasers, the first Lasers invented used a ruby crystal as the
lasing medium.
Exciter Lasers: Use reactive gases such as Chlorine, mixed with inert gases such as
Argon to produce ultraviolet light.
Dye Lasers: Use complex organic dyes in a liquid solution, and can be tuned to produce
different light frequencies.
Semiconductor Lasers: Low power units such as used for light pens or CDRom readers.
Gas Lasers: Helium and Neon gas lasers produce visible red light. CO2 lasers produce
light in the far infrared range and are used for cutting and machining materials
CO2 lasers
It is the CO2 lasers that we are concerned with, as these are the type used for label
coding. CO2 lasers can be extremely dangerous because the light emitted is in the infrared
and microwave region. The laser beam cannot be seen. When used for cutting steel an
infrared Laser MELTS through the steel.
Lasers used for label coding are not as powerful as those used for cutting steel, but they
are still more than capable of burning a hole through the retina of your eye in a
Lasers are classified according to the damage that they can do to you.
Class I


Class IA

Not intended for viewing, supermarket scanners

Class II

Visible Lasers but relatively safe as in the visual range

Class IIIA

Intermediate power

Class IIIB

Moderate Power

Class IV
High Power: Hazardous under any conditions, a potential fire hazard and
skin hazard.
If you have Laser coding machines the class of the Laser will be clearly marked. As a CO2
laser they will be either class IIIB or IV.
It would be wise to remember that the most powerful lasers used in star wars research
are pulsed CO2 lasers.

Page 66 of 98

Using infra-red like the steel cutting Lasers, label coding CO2 lasers melt away the top
layer of ink on a label, exposing the colour of the paper below. They make an extremely
neat presentation, as shown here. In this case a white paper label has been printed with a
gold panel for the date.

The letters 11.00 L:615101K were burned onto the label by a laser coding machine. The
gold ink is instantaneously melted away to reveal the white base colour underneath. The
finish is neat and the quality is similar to that of the printing.

An electro-mechanical device contains copper masks which block the laser beam and form
the letters. The masks are moved by the control computer according to the date and time.

Page 67 of 98

CO2 lasers require a source of

CO2, which is supplied in a
normal high pressure gas

The excitation of the CO2

lasing medium generates a
significant amount of heat, so a
cooling unit is installed which
requires a water supply

A control panel allows the

operator to edit the date code
and control the functions of the

The Laser is fitted with a

protective end cap which fits
over the end of the delivery
tube and helps prevent
accidental exposure.

This end cap must always be

fitted whenever the machine is
not operating.

Page 68 of 98

Ink jet coding

Identify 5 major components of inkjet coding machine.
Explain the working principle of inkjet coding machine.
Identify the key maintenance aspects.

The most common inkjet

coding machine in our
industry is the Videojet
Excell, as illustrated here.

Other machines are

available, such as those
made by Domino, but the
Videojet is sufficiently
common to serve as a
common example.

Page 69 of 98

The components of the machine, and their operation.

The control panel consists of the:
display screen,
function buttons,
numeric keypad and
machine control switches

Page 70 of 98

Ink cabinet
The ink cabinet is also known as the hydraulics compartment.
Next to the ink cabinet is the pneumatics compartment, and above it is the electronics

Inside the pneumatics compartment you can see the dosing pump and the reservoir:

Page 71 of 98

Print head
The print head is mounted either on the back label aggregate of the labeller or on the
discharge conveyor.
The print head is secured inside a protective sleeve by a single screw:

Photocells mounted on the labeller or conveyor signal the print head as to when to print
the date on the labels:

The picture below shows the delicate construction of the coding head.
It must be handled with great care and not exposed to water or shocks.

Page 72 of 98

The major components of the Videojet are:

Electronics cabinet
Ink or Hydraulics cabinet containing the ink and make-up fluid bottles
Pneumatics cabinet containing the reservoir and dosing pump
Trigger system of photocells
Print head
Here is an overview of how the machine works. Please refer to the suppliers manual for
specific instructions.
The Videojet system uses an ink that can be magnetised, and a make-up fluid which is a
solvent for the ink. The ink in solvent are mixed in a precise ration (approx 1:3) to give the
correct viscosity.

Page 73 of 98

Fluids system (hydraulics system)

The fluids system is shown diagrammatically below:

Ink flows from the supply bottles of ink and make up fluid to the ink module.
The ink module mixes the correct ratio of ink and make up fluid to achieve the correct
viscosity for the ink.
The ink module contains a pump, which pumps the ink to the ink supply cylinder.
The ink supply cylinder is a reservoir with a magnetic float that ensures a constant supply
of ink to the print head. The ink supply cylinder is pressurised with air from the ink
pressure regulator.
The ink flows from the ink supply cylinder to the print head, where only some of the ink is
applied to the labels.
Ink that is not applied to the labels is collected in the ink return block of the print head, and
returns to the ink module and back to the ink supply cylinder.
The components can be identified below:

Page 74 of 98

Creation of ink drops

The Excel electronics board generates a fixed electronic frequency of 80kHz. This signal
energises a piezo-electric nozzle crystal, fitted in the print head.
The nozzle crystal vibrates and the ink stream breaks into ink droplets:

Page 75 of 98

During set-up of the machine, the nozzle crystal is adjusted to ensure a clean break of the
ink drops. A small red light below the ink stream acts as a strobe, so that with the help of a
magnifying glass the technician can accurately set the ink stream.
The ink drops now pass into the charge tunnel. The printer sends positive electrical
impulses to the charge tunnel, synchronised with the nozzle crystal so that the tunnel is
charged as an ink drop arrives.
The positive charge of the tunnel strips excess electrons from the ink drops, so that each
ink drop leaves the charge tunnel with a negative charge.

Page 76 of 98

Ink drop deflection and printing

After the charge tunnel, the ink drops pass under a deflection plate.

The deflection plate is positively charged, and deflects the negatively charged ink drops
upwards. The amount of upward deflection is controlled by the size of the charge applied
in the charge tunnel.
Those ink drops that have no charge, carry straight onwards, enter the ink return block and
return to the reservoir.

Page 77 of 98

Each printed character is made up of a matrix of 5 dots across and seven high.
The electrical charge on the ink drops determines their height on the matrix, whilst the
movement of the label and timing of the electronics determines the horizontal position:

Videojet maintenance
The Videojet machines do require careful maintenance to ensure trouble free operation.
Maintenance should only be carried out by a trained technician.
Some of the more common problems are:
Shutdown procedure
The print head of the machine should only be cleaned when the machine has been
completely shut down. The reason for this is that once you press OFF on the machine
control panel, a shutdown routine is followed that returns all unused ink to the ink reservoir
and purges the ink return lines from the print head to the machine. Whilst this is happening
the LCD display will show SHUTDOWN RUNNING, and when it is complete the display
will go blank.
For this reason the machine must only be switched OFF using the red OFF button on the
front of the panel, and not by switching off the power supply switch.

Page 78 of 98

Cleaning the print head

AFTER SHUTDOWN IS COMPLETED, hold the print head over a tray. Ensure that the
tray is electrically earthed to the printer body. Ensure that the print head is earthed to the
tray by using a cable and crocodile clip.

Clean the print head using ONLY make up fluid.

Clean the deflection plate, charge tunnel and ink return chamber, using only a fine jet of

Page 79 of 98

Blow the print head dry using an air gun:

Replace the print head.

Do not dry the print head with a cloth.
ONLY use make-up fluid to clean the head.
Adjusting the ink stream
The ink stream has to flow into the ink return chamber to be returned to the ink reservoir.
This setting often needs fine adjustment, as becomes necessary when you see a build up
of ink on the reservoir block.
The manual describes this process in detail, it involves using a magnifying glass to
observe the ink stream, and adjusting it with the screws provided on the print head.
Adjusting the ink break up
Again follow the manual. This procedure involves using a magnifying glass to observe the
break up point where the ink stream breaks into ink droplets. The red strobe lamp included
in the print head makes it possible to see this point, and it can be adjusted. Take note that
this adjustment is rarely necessary.
Purging the ink system
Periodically it becomes necessary to purge the ink system which cleans out the pipes from
the reservoir to the ink head. (This is also necessary at first installation). A very small Allan
key is used to open a bleed hole on the print head and a small pipe is fitted to purge the
Phasing faults
A phasing fault is the most common problem with Videojet machines, and generally
causes them to stop printing and shut down.
A common cause is fluctuations in air pressure, which they are very sensitive to. A high
pressure of 6-8 bar is required. It is common that the machine is installed on a shared air
line, so that whenever another machine uses a lot of air, the pressure drops and the
Videojet shuts down. Phasing faults can also indicate ink or contamination problems,
which may be solved by purging the ink system, or may require the filters to be changed.

Page 80 of 98

Cleaning and storage of parts

Identify good practices for cleaning & storage of labeller parts

Apart from incorrect fitting of parts to the

labeller, the other common reason for
damage to the parts is in improper
cleaning and storing of them.

Often the dried glue is pulled from the

gripper cylinder sponges, which tears and
damages the sponges. To avoid this,
cover the gripper cylinder with a damp rag
for 20 minutes. When you remove the rag
the glue on the sponges will be soft and
will wipe off.
Never soak the gripper cylinder in water as
it contains bearings which will rust.
Never use a high pressure gun to clean the
aggregate. The water will enter the
gearboxes from the pallet cups and the
gearbox will be damaged.
Instead place a damp rag over the pallet
cups and remove after 20 minutes, when
the glue will be soft and will easily wipe off.

Another useful tip is to wipe Vaseline over the pallet cups, pallet shafts and safety doors of
the aggregate. Any glue then wipes off easily, but the Vaseline must not be put on parts
that touch the label, such as the pallets themselves.

Page 81 of 98

Cleaning of the change parts is made easier

by a cleaning bath such as this one. It has a
tube for holding the glue pump, shafts
outside of the bath for holding the gripper
cylinders and a place inside the bath for the

Once the parts have been cleaned they

should be stored on a storage rack such as
the one shown here.
This rack is in a well lit place so that all of
the parts can easily be checked and

Page 82 of 98

Identify safety features in a labeller
Identify good practices of operating a labeller safely.

The Labeller aggregate contains moving parts that follow a complex pattern of movement
at high speed. Many operators have attempted to remove excess labels from pallets or
glue roller and paid with the instant removal of a finger.
The aggregate is protected by screens, and
these must be kept closed during operation of
the labeller.
Safety sensors are built in to stop the
machinery if the screen is opened. Do not
bypass the sensors. Only ever use a plastic
scraper to remove excess labels:

Here the screens that protect the aggregate

are being fitted before start up
Danger also exists at the labeller due to
exploding bottles. Safety glasses must be worn
when the labeller is operating. (note here the
operator is preparing the machine: it is not
The primary danger is from moving parts, so
the doors should always be closed.

Looking into a laser coders print head will

cause blindness.
Here a safety cover is screwed over the head
before it is removed.

Page 83 of 98

The labeller infeed is fitted with a capacitive

sensor to detect the present of crown cork and
to stop the machine in the case of a fallen,
broken or uncrowned bottle being fed into the

The discharge conveyor will have a safety

gate, which stops the machine if there is a
jam of bottles.

Some other points:

Crushes of bottles may occur due to alignment of star wheels and transfer star wheels.
Before servicing any moving parts isolate the main drives electrical isolator and apply your
company's lock-out procedure.
Don't try to remove unlabelled bottles, don't try to remove labels which are misaligned or
stuck to the fingers. STOP the machine first.

Page 84 of 98

Labeller Questions
Question One:
Which statement is true regarding the labels used on Heineken products ?

All brands and packs have the same label dress

combinations for smoother production runs

Different brands and packs have different label dress


Different label dress combinations are caused by

production constraints

None of the above

Question Two:
Which of the following is not a feature of good label paper ?

Caustic resistance and Caustic permeability

Mechanical strength and tear strength


Lead content

Page 85 of 98

Question Three:
Which of the following is NOT a function of label coding

Religious function

Best before

Made from.....

Label manufacturer

Question Four:
Which of the following is NOT used in label manufacture?

Cellulose fibres

Starch additives



Question Five:
Which of the following are NOT functions of a label ?

Carries information on religious compliance

Provides strength to the container

Identifies ingredients

Identifies manufacturing and consume by dates

Question Six:
Page 86 of 98

Which of the following materials are NOT used to make containers for carbonated





Question Seven:
Which of these are NOT label materials ?





Question Eight:
Which of these are types of label according to their function or position ?

Screw cap




Question Nine:
Page 87 of 98

Which of these are manufacturers of labelling machines ?



Alfa Laval

Sander Hansen

Vir Mauri

Question Ten:
Which of the following does the gap detector sensor NOT detect at the labeller
infeed conveyor ?

Uncrowned bottle

Incorrect crown

Burst bottle

Fallen bottle

Page 88 of 98

Question Eleven:
Which of the following are components of the aggregate ?

Drive motor



Bottle platforms

Question Twelve:
Which of the following are possible combinations of materials used in the aggregate parts ?

Rubber coated glue roller and steel pallets

Steel glue roller and steel pallets

Rubber coated glue roller and rubber coated pallets

None of the above

Question Thirteen:
Which of the following are components of the gripper cylinder ?





Question Fourteen:
Page 89 of 98

Which of the following describe papers ability to absorb water ?


Cobb value

Curling tendency


Ash content

Question Fifteen:
Which of the following are paper additives ?


Sizing agents



Question Sixteen:
Labels pulping in the washer can cause the following problems:

Decreased caustic usage

Clogged washer jets

Caustic carry over

Excessive foaming

Question Seventeen:
Which of the following are types of label glue ?

Page 90 of 98



Gum arabic



Question Eighteen:
What are the optimum storage conditions for labels:

Temperature 18 to 22C and humidity 60-70%

Temperature 12 to 14C and humidity 60-70%

Temperature 18 to 22C and humidity 6-7%

Temperature 18 to 22C and humidity 40-75%

Question Nineteen:
Which of the following adjustments affects the skewness of the label ?

Glue film thickness

Aggregate tangential position

Glue pump speed

Glue temperature

Question Twenty:
Which of the following are methods of date coding ?
Page 91 of 98





Page 92 of 98

Question 1 B
Question 2 D
Question 3 D
Question 4 C
Question 5 B
Question 6 C
Question 7 B
Question 8 C
Question 9 D
Question 10 B
Question 11 C
Question 12 A
Question 13 B
Question 14 A
Question 15 B
Question 16 B
Question 17 D
Question 18 A
Question 19 B
Question 20 A

Page 93 of 98

Page 94 of 98

Labeller key terms




The group of parts that move together to apply a

glued label to a bottle.

Aluminium Foil

Label material, aluminium that is rolled to a very

thin sheet then embossed with a pattern to
make it more flexible.


Part of the gripper cylinder against which the

gripper finger clamps the label.


Starch that is added to paper to improve

strength or flexibility.


Mechanical arm or lever that rotates to cause an

in and out movement


Milk proteins used to make glue.

Cobb value

Ability of paper to absorb water is measured as

its Cobb value.

Coherent light

Light that is all of the same wave length and the

waves are all in phase with each other.

Conti Roll

Plastic film label that is used on PET and other

bottles, wrapped completely around the bottle to
form a sleeve.

DC stepper motor

Direct current motor that can be positioned to

extreme accuracy.


A label that is loose and pulled away from the



Paper making process using rotating wire

screens to produce rolls of paper as opposed to
single sheets.


The weight of paper per square meter. Normal

typing paper is 80grams per square meter.

Gripper Cylinder

Rotating device that picks labels from the glue

pallets and applies them to the bottles.
Page 95 of 98


Suitable for consumption by those of the Muslim



A plant whose fibres were used to make ropes

and the first papers.

Ice Proof

Ability of a glue to keep a label on a bottle when

immersed in ice cold water and rotated every


Light of a frequency below that which is visible

to us and we experience as heat.


Electrical switch that disconnects all electrical

power from the machine.

Jog Button

Moves the labeller a small amount at low speed

when pressed. Also called inching button.


Suitable for consumption by those of the Jewish



Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of


Metal Type

Characters moulded in metal that can be coated

with ink to print on paper, allowing many copies
to be printed.

Metallised label

Paper label with an Aluminium coating that gives

a very shiny finish.

Mimic Panel

Display of lights that represent the machine and

indicate any faults.


Light of a single colour


Casting in the shape of a label that is coated

with a film of glue and removes the label from
the magazine, transferring it to the gripper
cylinder with a film of glue on the back of the


Writing material made from reeds, used by

ancient Egyptians

Parchment, Vellum

Writing materials made from animal skins used

in middle ages.


Type of plastic bottle made from polyethylene


Page 96 of 98


Sub atomic light particle


Early form of writing using pictures or symbols

Piezo-electric crystal

Crystal that oscillates at a certain frequency and

amplifies the oscillation.


Substance added to paper to change its colour

or brightness.

Pulped labels

Labels that have been broken down in the

washer leaving fibres.


In line with the centre of a circle, a line from the

centre of a circle to the circumference.

Scraper blade

Blade running the length of the glue roller that

scrapes the bulk of the glue off of the roller
leaving a thin film.

Self Adhesive Label

Label which has glue already applied to it.

Normally on a wax paper roll, so the labels can
be peeled off and stuck to the container, and
normally made of plastic or plasticised paper.

Sizing Agent

Resin that is added to paper to change its

absorption of moisture.


Not straight, one side higher than the other side.


Electrical actuator: An electrical device that

causes a mechanical movement to occur.


Sharp pointed device for writing, originally on

clay tablets.


At ninety degrees to the radius of a circle.


Light of a frequency above that which is visible

to us, causes skin burns.


Brand name of a type of petroleum jelly.


Measuring device calibrated with distance



Ability of a liquid to flow freely. Water has a high

viscosity, porridge has a lower viscosity.


Measurement of the cycle of light photons that

gives light of a particular colour

Page 97 of 98

Page 98 of 98