Interview with Etiketten Labels
Linerless in practice - also a question of the right materials
The topic of linerless labels has been increasingly discussed in recent months. Simpler production, material savings, improved environmental balance, cost reduction and other aspects are among the advantages. Etiketten-Labels spoke with Wolfgang Aufmuth, Product Manager at artimelt, about the question of why high-quality individual components should be used and why the use of cheaper components can ultimately be the more expensive option.
Linerless labels are usually of a simple design: Paper, foil or thermal paper, provided with silicone and a layer of adhesive. In some cases linerless labels are also printed, so that printing inks are also required. The printing must be done before coating with silicone, so that this lies between paper and silicone. As is the case with many things in life, high-quality materials must also be used in the manufacture of linerless rolls.
High quality, that sounds natural at first. But where does it start?
Wolfgang Aufmuth: This starts with the paper. The paper should have as closed a surface as possible. If thermal papers are used, topcoated versions or papers specially developed for linerless applications are recommended. These have a very closed surface. This means that the silicone remains on the surface and can be easily cross-linked. If the paper is too porous, the liquid silicone penetrates the paper and there is a risk that it will not be sufficiently cross-linked. On the one hand this can lead to silicone transfer to the adhesive and the adhesion of the adhesive is lost.
On the other hand, there is the danger that deposits can form on the thermal head of the printer relatively quickly and that it must be stopped and cleaned. In order to obtain a correspondingly low release, a certain amount of silicone must lie on the paper surface. If part of the silicone penetrates the paper, the amount of silicone must be increased to obtain the desired low release. Since silicone is expensive, the savings I can make by using inexpensive paper may already be consumed by the higher amount of silicone to be applied.
Let us now move on to another important component: the adhesive. What is important here?
Wolfgang Aufmuth: At first glance, large savings are possible here. Some adhesives are offered at prices in the range of 3.50 €/kg for linerless applications. At first an attractive offer with high savings potential when purchasing adhesives. If there is a greater need for adhesives, several thousand euros can quickly be saved over the course of the year compared with higher-priced adhesives.
"If there is a greater need for adhesives, several thousand euros can quickly be saved over the course of the year compared with higher-priced adhesives."
But does this saving also last until the end of the process chain?
Wolfgang Aufmuth: To do this, we have to look at the following steps: the produced rolls go to consumers, for example to supermarkets or logistics centres. In the printers there, they must not contaminate the rollers, the cutting blade and the print head. This is the only way to ensure a long service life and low maintenance frequency for the printers.
And what does reality look like? Surely this can be proven by numbers?
Wolfgang Aufmuth: Yes, of course. Let's open the following account: We assume a cost difference of the adhesive of 1 €/kg as an example. With an application weight of 15 g/m² and a label size of 60 x 100 mm (0.006 m²), the cost difference is 0.01 cents/label - not much. With 100,000 labels, the additional cost of a high-quality adhesive is already 10 € and with 1 million labels 100 €. If you now have several printers in use and print many labels, the savings potential can amount to several 1000 € per year when using an inexpensive adhesive. Now we must regard in addition, the performance on the printer: with use of artimelt adhesive more than 1,000,000 labels can be printed and cut, without it to longer downtimes of the printer by contaminated rollers, knives or print heads comes. This has been confirmed by extensive testing by an independent printer manufacturer.
If we assume that only 100,000 labels can be printed and cut with a cheaper adhesive, the invoice will look as follows:
Savings by the inexpensive adhesive: 10 € replacement of the glued rollers in the printer: 10 € downtime (1 hour): 200 €.
Thus one has already times a negative balance with an inexpensive adhesive.
"If a service technician from the scale manufacturer has to carry out unscheduled maintenance, it will be really expensive."
If a service technician from the scale manufacturer then has to carry out unscheduled maintenance, it becomes really expensive. With an estimated hourly rate of 100 € and half a working day, the costs for the technician can be as high as 400 €. In addition again 800 € for 4 hours stop. This means that with 100,000 labels in this example, if the cheaper adhesive is used throughout the entire value chain, additional costs of 1200 € are incurred, which the end consumer has to bear. If this is added up to 1 million. If labels are high, the end consumer can save €12,000 despite the more expensive adhesive. This savings potential is now far greater than the additional costs for the higher quality adhesive. The savings potential of nerves is not even considered, because it is priceless.
An interesting bill, which can surely vary depending on the provider. But still there are some basic aspects that should be considered?
Wolfgang Aufmuth: Yes, of course I do. High-quality materials are expensive at first glance, but offer better processing performance and product performance. It is not only the material costs that must be considered! For a solid and correct cost accounting, the total costs in the entire value chain must be considered. Considering the material costs and processing performance, there is always a high savings potential through the use of high-quality components. I think that in individual cases this must be discussed with an application consultant. artimelt has excellent specialists at its disposal.
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