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What is Pressure-Sensitive Label Manufacturer

Label Manufacturer Uses Quantum SPC Explorer™ to Verify Manufacturing Standards and Satisfy Customer Statistical Quality Control Data Requests

A label manufacturer produced a broad range of labels for customers’ bottles or cartons and unique packaging processes. The pressure-sensitive labels were applied to a wide variety of packaging types and sizes. The company purchased stock in rolls comprised of a silicon-coated liner or carrier, a layer of adhesive, and a face material of paper or film that it printed and die cut.

Since a crooked or misapplied label could spoil the image of an otherwise high-quality product, consumer products manufacturers had set stringent standards for the labels they purchased.

The company wanted to measure its labels to ensure they met specifications. The objective was to deliver a quality product that customer could move right into production without inspection. The company knew meeting this objective would reduce the customer’s production costs and shorten time to market, giving the manufacturer a competitive edge.

Problem

In high-speed packaging applications, there was only a very narrow window for label placement on a bottle or container. Dimensional tolerances were very tight, and quality control was critical. The label manufacturer was getting more and more requests from customers to include statistical quality control data with shipments of labels.

Variations in web tensions could affect the quality of a label, and variations could be introduced when raw stock was wound into a roll or when labels were being printed on the web presses. Rolls sometimes also shifted laterally on the presses, affecting the registration of the printing process. When a variation occurred, it could produce a label that had some essential bit of information cut off. That resulted in scrap and higher production costs.

Company technicians had been measuring dimensions and recording data manually on paper charts. This information was then re-keyed into a computer, running a statistical process control program. It was a time-consuming, costly task – and one susceptible to human error. It often resulted in 10 pages of data collection input to determine the process wasn’t in control.

The company wanted to move toward a process that would allow technicians to take measurements and know immediately if the process was in or out of control or specification. In addition, the company wanted to satisfy customer requests for quality verification.

Solution

The label manufacturer decided to install a DataMyte 9000 data collection system that combined DataMyte’s Quantum SPC Explorer™ data collection software with a PC-compatible hardware platform. Quality assurance technicians used the DataMyte system to sample label dimensions at the end of each press roll, which was about 2,500 to 3,000 linear feet of stock through the press.

The technician measured length, width, spacing between labels, and other critical dimensions with a digiscope, a device like a microscope with cross hairs. The gage was zeroed at one edge, moved in the direction of measurement and, at the other edge, produced a precise value. At the push of a button, this information was transmitted to the DataMyte system, which automatically charted the data and displayed it graphically.

As each lot of labels was finished, the company had the data it needed in the DataMyte system. The quality assurance technician used the Quantum SPC Explorer software to calculate control limits and generate x-bar-&-R charts, which traveled with the shipment.

Next, the company’s quality assurance department plans to use the data collected by the DataMyte system to perform capability studies as part of its continuous quality improvement process. It is also investigating expansion of the system with a local area network. Eventually, the company would like to transmit data to customers electronically, rather than in printout form. The manufacturer hopes the added service to customers will assure repeat business and help the company gain a competitive in the packaging industry.

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