Don’t let waste get in the way of your production process

In label manufacturing, minimizing your price per label is essential. Achieving this is all about optimizing production to be as efficient as possible. It’s simple: produce more labels faster for less money, and you’re onto a winner.

But too often, your production process is brought to its knees by endlessly handling waste, which quickly builds, hinders, slows, and – ultimately – costs. And any disruption to your productivity can be the deciding factor that either makes or breaks your future growth.

Here’s what you can do about it.

Make more of your investments

Label presses are expensive yet essential investments. Your business literally runs on them. If they are operating at full capacity, then great. But if not, then they are not delivering the full extent of their value or ROI.

Unfortunately, the speed you run your machines at is dictated by other factors. For example, if you are producing labels in large quantities, you need to change the mother rolls often.

This requires you to stop the process so they can be replaced. Do this several times a day, and it significantly impacts productivity. Some businesses have recognised this and have installed splicers, which does things automatically. A smart move.

But there is another bottleneck that stops your label presses running at full capacity: waste. No matter how seamlessly virgin material goes into the machine, the waste matrix it produces at the other end must be dealt with, with the same degree of efficiency and speed.

Waste is a never-ending problem

In most cases, this matrix is rewinded into a roll, removed by stopping the machine, thrown into a local waste bin next to the machine, and then later moved again. This is where the problems lie.

Not only is the rewinding process fiddly, with different web tensions and irregular shaped label matrixes causing unbalancing issues, but there are the side trims for the release line which also need to be cut and removed.

To do this, many businesses will use a Venturi system to blow all the trimmings off to the side, into an open bin.

However, these systems can be quite loud. Spending all day every day around them, combined with all the other noise from the process, can be challenging for operators. They also create a lot of dust, which could have an impact on printing quality and over time may lead to increased machine maintenance.

Time, effort, and risk

Then there is the issue of how to clear the waste from the area.

Some businesses will hire people solely for this task. Others may expect the operator themselves to deal with it. But this is not always good use of time for a qualified printing specialist, when he or she should be focused on maximizing output and quality, rather than constantly shutting things down to shift heavy bags of waste.

Furthermore, these bags are heavy and injuries from lifting them is common. The bags also need to be put into a waste bin together with the trims, which then has to be moved to a disposal area. All this takes time – especially as people tend to use this as an opportunity to take a coffee break and have a chat.

And time, as they say, is money.

Take waste out of your hands

Fortunately, an automated waste handling system provides a smarter way.

It’s simple. An automated system will take the waste from the label press, cut it into the size you need for disposal or sorting and recycling, and whisk it away to a container in a location of your choosing that alerts you when it’s full, without any interruption or manual involvement whatsoever.

This means you can focus on the things your business needs to optimize: productivity, safety, quality, workflow, and keeping your premises clean and tidy. Your skilled operators can do the job you have hired them for (and that they want to be doing!). Crucially, your equipment can also operate at full capacity, delivering their full value, and helping you to complete customer orders in good time.

Interestingly, with an automated system you actually create less waste. It is possible to optimize the web width, with no minimum edges to wind up, and there is less consumption of raw material. It will increase density in bin bags as it won’t fill them largely with air (as a Venturi system will), and will chop up waste into a specified size, which also allows for more recycling options.

Finally, an automated system also gives you a cleaner and tidier workspace, with no mess or clutter littering the floor. While this can help you to fulfil audits for reaching certifications, it also makes for a safer and more pleasing work environment, both for employees and for potential customers who come to visit your premises to get a sense of your professionalism.

Automated waste handling systems also help with security. For example, a customer that made passports and stamps needed their waste to be chopped up well enough that it couldn’t be stolen and misused. Likewise, a different customer in the pharmaceutical industry produced labels for medicines that for strict legal and safety reasons could not fall into the wrong hands.

Time to change the status quo

 In short, the greater your productivity, the more profitable and competitive you are. For printing and packaging businesses, how you handle waste can have a direct impact on this.

We see so many businesses that have grown over time but simply haven’t noticed how waste handling has slowly become a barrier to their productivity as a result – it’s just ‘how we’ve always done it’.

If you take a step back and look at how much your current process is stagnating production, wasting your resources, increasing risk, and costing you money, it simply makes sense to investigate other options.

If the points raised in this article ring true with the challenges you are currently facing, we can help. Get in touch today and we can talk you through which solutions would be most effective for your business and the difference they could make.

Read how other businesses have optimized their waste handling process with an automated waste handling solution.

If you are interested in the latest news. Sign up to our newsletter and stay informed!


Not sure which is the right waste handling system for you? Get in touch