Maintaining its two new rotary cold glue labelers is so easy it's almost heavenly for Bardstown KY-based Heaven Hill Distilleries. The machines were added this past summer to 1.75-L polyethylene terephthalate line and in January '95 to a 750-mL glass line The labelers replaced decades-old picker units. The results: Increased operating speed and reduced downtime and labor costs. The new P.E./Executive rotary labelers are built in Italy and provided by B & J Machinery (Cincinnati OH). Designated Model 20T-1170-5P-3S-3L the machines are capable of rates to 300/min though other equipment on the lines prevents them from reaching those speeds at present. Still Heaven Hill has improved its line speeds from 155 to 180/min on the PET line and from 120 to 170/min on the square and oval glass line. "As a result of using the new labelers we have about one-fifth the downtime and our maintenance costs are down by a corresponding 20 percent" notes David Hobbs vice president/operations manager. He says more specific savings figures are unavailable since downtime wasn't tracked precisely. The former labelers toiled effectively for many years Hobbs notes. "Like many alcoholic beverage producers we used the old picker machines that applied glued labels to bottles. For a long time these machines were considered the best you could get. But after decades of wear and tear change parts and occasional rebuilding we needed to increase our efficiency." "The machines used a reciprocating picker that required a lot of cams that constantly pounded up and down and back and forth" adds Edward Kirsch maintenance supervisor. "And adjusting the amount of glue was a real difficulty. We often had too much glue on the label that would cause the label to slide on the bottle during application." To amend its labeling difficulties Heaven Hill turned to B & J a company that serviced the prior labelers for many years. B & J recommended the P.E./Executive machines and the two were operational by mid-summer. In the future Hobbs hopes to upgrade filling and case packing equipment to optimize the speed capabilities of the labelers. "Our speeds on the lines are dictated by our filling equipment which cannot run at the same rates as can the new labelers" he notes. "But the nice thing about having a labeler that operates much faster than our present line speed is that it runs with extreme efficiency at a slower speed. It's a more precise process that allows us to turn out a much better quality label and product with less machine wear."