Large Label Challenges

Flexographic press
Detergent Bottle Labels Labeling

Achieving a perfect label application to a complex package can be challenging, especially for larger labels that cover more package real estate. This application scenario was no exception.

There were two bottle sizes: 70 and 128 oz.  Both were experiencing the same issues. Multiple factors came into play to hamper the application process, some known and some to be discovered.

The problem: Wrinkling and lifting of the labels

During the application trials, label performance issues appeared immediately.  The labels were wrinkling and lifting away from the package.  The AWT team’s initial diagnosis pointed toward a label that was too large to conform to the complex shape of the bottle.  So AWT Prepress proposed and designed a smaller die outline, logically thinking the smaller label would work better for this package.  And in the next round of application testing the new label did alleviate the wrinkling issue as predicted, but the lifting problem was still occurring.  Once again the AWT team was in search of an answer.

Getting to a solution

Experience and some clues during the trials led to the thought that the plastic bottles may not have been treated to remove mold release agents. Further investigation revealed the bottles were provided by the customer, and that the customer had purchased the bottles from a packaging broker/distributor.  Upon learning this, AWT engaged Fasson – the manufacturer of the material being used for the PS labels. Fasson was asked to analyze the bottles and provide findings that may shed light on the stubborn lifting problem.

Fasson came back with an answer that was the key to solving the issue. Fasson’s analysis found that the bottles were not flame-treated, the most likely cause of the lifting problem.  They also had a solution involving a new face-stock material and different adhesive formula.

Subsequent application trials with the new material/adhesive combination went smoothly, and the issues of wrinkling and lifting were eliminated.

Lessons learned

This project was a learning opportunity in many ways:

  • Complex package shapes present design challenges for large label applications
  • Smaller labels can be employed to complex shapes to reduce the chances of wrinkling
  • Label lifting may not always be caused by shape complexity – in this case it was the package surface that posed the issue
  • It is important to know the source of plastic packaging and whether or not the package has been treated to remove mold release agents
  • A sound relationship between supplier and customer is vital to working together to solve issues. In this case it was a strong relationship between AWT and the end customer as well as AWT and supplier partner Fasson.

At AWT Labels & Packaging, we’re dedicated to providing the most cost-effective, environmentally-friendly option for your flexible packaging (and label) printing needs. Contact the Experts at AWT to get started on your next project.

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Flexographic press