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San Benedetto is an Italian manufacturer and distributor of soft drinks, sports beverages, probiotics and bottled water. While the company was founded in 1956, its heritage dates back to the Renaissance. Established near an artisan well that is still in operation today, the water that is sourced for its beverages is drawn from 1,000 feet below ground to ensure all its original features are unchanged and unadulterated.
The company knows the impact quality ingredients have on the end product. It does not compromise on what goes into each of its products and makes every effort to protect that quality. And it takes the same approach to projecting an image of that quality through its product labeling.
San Benedetto was using a polypropylene-based roll-fed shrink label with a hot melt adhesive seam for its Batik Succoso juice brand. However, the company wanted to upgrade the look of the product to make it strongly reflect a quality position more in line with the quality of the product itself.
However, the polypropylene-based roll-fed shrink film only allowed up to an 8% shrink ratio, which limited the amount of space the label could cover on the contoured bottle. Coupled with what it felt were limited graphics characteristics of the film, San Benedetto thought matching the high-impact shelf appeal of shrink sleeve labels was unobtainable.
“Roll-fed shrink film allowed us to use a package with a contoured bottle and a label to match,” said Lorenzo Benvegnu, product manager with San Benedetto. “But the low shrink ratio meant we were limited to how high we could place our label on the Batik package. We literally could not go past the moderate shoulder.
“There was a lot of space on the bottle we just couldn’t take advantage of, and we felt we were missing an opportunity. Still, we never gave up pursuing film options that would cost-effectively allow us to match the high impact of sleeves.”
Batik Sucosso Polyphane Fit film from Avery Dennison Corp. is a proprietary polyolefin that is machine-direction oriented. This provides high tensile-strength properties and excellent on-press stability. It also does not require refrigerated freight or air-conditioned storage because the film has higher shrink initiation temperatures versus conventional sleeve label materials.
At the beginning of 2009, San Benedetto relaunched Batik Succoso with a new roll-fed shrink film label called Polyphane Fit STS, which has a guaranteed 50% shrink ratio.
The labels were flexo printed in eight colors with solvent inks. With superior optics based on clarity of 98, haze of three and a gloss rating of 135, Polyphane Fit is an ideal medium for high-end graphics representation.
“Polyphane Fit combines all the graphics benefits of shrink sleeves with the operating efficiencies and cost-effectiveness of roll-fed shrink labels,” said Laura Clark, marketing director for food and beverage, Avery Dennison, based in Pasadena, Calif. “It’s really the best of each labeling method.”
“With a shrink ratio of up to 50%, Polyphane Fit allows San Benedetto to take full advantage of the entire Batik bottle, including the neck. The ability to apply the label top to bottom and around the full bottle delivers a significant advantage for improved shelf impact.”
Leveraging operational efficiency
Along with improved shelf appeal, San Benedetto sought an alternative seaming technology for its labels. While a label represents only a fraction of the total cost to package a product, its impact on the consumer is significant. Misplaced labels or split seams undercut the perception of quality. It wanted to eliminate glue from the labeling process because it was an added consumable and reduced the operating efficiency of the labeler. Glue seams also proved to be less robust and split when heated in the shrink tunnel, resulting in rework.
San Benedetto opted to install a Roll Fed Sleeve Technology (RFST) labeler from Sacmi Labeling, an Italian label manufacturer. The modular labeling machine allows the application of wraparound thermo-shrink plastic film labels starting directly from the film on the roll and uses laser-welding technology for seaming. The labeling operation is fully integrated with the bottling line and can handle line speeds up to 1,000 bottles per minute.
“The laser seaming technology from Sacmi pairs well with the Polyphane Fit material,” Benvegnu says. “It gives us a perfectly secure seam all along the full contour of the bottle for an extremely tight fit without any gaps.”
“I believe this was the first commercial launch of Sacmi’s RFST using a laser seam. The technology was new and untested. Polysack, the converters and San Benedetto worked together over a six-month period, proving the technology, working through minor challenges to bring application to commercialization.”
While San Benedetto realized a cost savings by eliminating glue as a consumable and the related extra work associated with added time for machine setups and downtime for cleaning, it has also been able to reduce its energy consumption. The previous roll-fed shrink film required a hot air tunnel temperature of 600°F to shrink just 8%. However, the Polyphane Fit STS allows the company to use its existing steam generator at just 200°F.
“Many other shrink films and sleeves were considered for this application, Polyphane Fit STS was selected for its superior printing, labeling, welding and shrink performance,” said Hubert Mignolet, sales and marketing manager with Polysack Plastic Industries, an Israel-based manufacturer of UV-resistant nets. “Polyphane Fit films are unique in that they perform more like shrink sleeves than traditional roll-fed shrink. We only had to adjust the graphics slightly to take advantage of the higher shrink ratio and enlarged display area.”
Note: Polyphane Fit was developed and is manufactured by Polysack Plastic Industries Ltd., Israel. Avery Dennison Corporation has exclusive rights to distribute and sell Polyphane Fit roll-fed shrink films in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.