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Flexible labelling systems key to winery

The Badischer Winzerkeller winery in Germany has seen a marked increase in productivity following the installation of new labelling systems that offer greater flexibility

Over 500 different wines are produced, bottled, packaged and labelled at Badischer Winzerkeller annually. “We needed reliable and flexible systems which are capable of handling the many different batches we process here on site,” explains Jürgen Thoma technical director for the winery in Breisach.

Founded in 1952, some 36 exclusive winemaking cooperatives are today connected to Badischer Winzerkeller, transporting their entire grape harvest to the company HQ in Breisach for pressing. In addition to this, 31 further cooperatives supply a contractually specified proportion of their harvest.

This all leads to more than 500 different wines being produced, bottled, packaged and labelled at Badischer Winzerkeller every year. In terms of labelling, the operation therefore needed a system that was both extremely flexible in terms of its use and also very reliable.

The existing systems were causing major problems, motivating management to invest in new labelling and marking technologies. Jürgen explains the key factors and motivation behind the decision go with solutions from Domino: “For us, the safety aspect of the systems, and the production stability that goes along with this, is of key importance. We analysed our downtimes and determined that our labelling processes were playing a major part here. As such, we needed reliable and flexible systems which are capable of handling the many different batches we process here on site.”

Compatibility of inkjet and print & apply labellers  important
The company was looking for labelling and marking devices for its filling and packaging systems that could be used on all lines to comply with the various coding requirements.

When it came to coding the secondary packaging, the company decided on flexible print and apply labellers from Domino’s M-Series. Although it was not absolutely necessary for all applications on site to employ the same system type, the compatibility of the equipment ultimately won the day, as it allows both the inkjet and print & apply technologies to be switched back and forth.

“We were really looking for a standard application to handle both the inkjet coding of the bottle labels and the labelling of the cardboard packages that would allow us to switch out the systems. Even if one system fails, we can then continue to produce using another. Since using the new coding and labelling technologies, we have seen a dramatic increase in flexibility and thereby also production stability,” says Jürgen.

Labelling of the secondary packaging
To fulfil the numerous coding requirements at the secondary level, Badischer Winzerkeller relies on the flexible print & apply labelling technologies of Domino’s M-Series. The new type M200-T100 print & apply systems are used for labelling the various cardboard box packages in which the wine and sparkling wine bottles are packed.

The ability to draw up layouts was also one of the key factors behind the decision to go with the M-Series. Since as many as four different label formats are used per grape variety during filling operations in Breisgau, the labelling of the secondary packaging needs to be very flexible.

 The four M200-T100 print & apply labelling systems have a thermal transfer printing module, which prints the necessary information on the labels before they are output and then applied to the side of the cardboard packaging boxes using an applicator.

The design of the applicator allows a wide selection of different label types to be applied. Since each label is only printed directly before application, the potential for errors due to incorrectly pre-printed labels can also be reduced to a minimum.

The network connection of the systems also allows the print data to be transmitted from a central computer located outside the production area.

Extensive maintenance contracts, which were signed for both system technologies, make a significant contribution to system stability and also facilitate transparent cost control.

The combination of Domino’s A-Series and M-Series covers all the requirements for both primary and secondary packaging and labelling at Badischer Winzerkeller.

Thanks to the flexibility and reliability of the coding and labelling equipment, it also makes a significant contribution to increasing the overall effectiveness of the systems in place.

1 April 2013 - Felicity Murray