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Shiseido shines at short-run flexibility

Shiseido's tabletop labelers provide short-run solutions for applying language-specific labels on bottles and jars of cosmetics for export.

A tamping arm places the p-s label (left). Shiseido?s labeler came with digital controls (above
A tamping arm places the p-s label (left). Shiseido?s labeler came with digital controls (above

Although Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido is the second-largest cosmetics producer in the world, its year-old, state-of-the-art Cranbury, NJ, packaging facility benefits from a decidedly compact packaging solution. The cosmetics firm is using foot-operated Quadrel (Mentor, OH) TL-2 tabletop labelers supplied by distributor Slate Packaging (Cinnaminson, NJ). They're used for short-run labeling of glass jars and bottles of creams, lotions, perfumes and other cosmetics. The labels, applied to the bottoms of glass jars and bottles, contain a batch code and language-specific copy. That's because most of the facility's production is destined for export.

The No. 1 benefit of the labeler is flexibility for short runs. "If we need to label a couple hundred jars of a certain product, it doesn't pay to set up one of our larger labelers," explains Bob Siefert, maintenance manager. Short runs crop up for a number of reasons, such as for test products or rework.

The labelers are also used as temporary substitutes for new equipment on order. "We were waiting, for instance, on a new labeler to come in for cream jars," Siefert says. "We used two of those tabletops for production runs in the interim, and they worked very well."

Another benefit: "Since they're on stands with casters, we can move them to different production rooms as necessary," Siefert says. "They're very versatile." (While they can be used on a tabletop, Shiseido ordered its units with stands.)

Foot-activated

For short runs, empty containers are labeled prior to a production run to build up an inventory. The jars or bottles are then filled conventionally.

On the day of Packaging World's visit, Shiseido was using the labelers for 40-mL jars of Benefiance enriched revitalizing cream. The oval-shaped pressure-sensitive labels were roughly 1" in diameter. There's nothing especially unique about the label itself, according to Siefert.

To label a bottle or jar, an operator manually places it upside down into a holding puck. After activating a foot switch, a tamp cylinder comes down and presses the label onto the container. The jar is then manually removed.

The label is preprinted with language-specific copy such as the product name, company name, and ingredients. A Norwood (Downers Grove, IL) unit applies a production code that's either embossed or hot-stamped onto the label just before it's applied to the container.

Average labeling speed is between 25 to 30 bottles/min, according to Seifert, depending on the skill of the operator.

Economical, not cheap

Even though the labelers are intended for low-volume packaging needs, that doesn't mean they're cheaply made. "They use high-quality motors and parts. They're very similar to Quadrel's larger labelers, just on a smaller scale," says Siefert. The units cost about $7귔 without the coders.

Service and support have come from Slate, a distributor for Quadrel. "They've been great. Whenever we have a problem or anything, they're here," Siefert says. "What I really like about Slate is that they have on-staff packaging technicians, so it's easy to have service readily available."

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