3 Essential Facts To Help You Understand How Food Labels Are Manufactured

May 28, 2024 | food labels, Sorting Labels
3 Essential Facts To Help You Understand How Food Labels Are Manufactured

Have you ever wondered how food labels are manufactured in a way that’s dependable, cost-effective, scalable enough to match every need, and always maintains print quality? The industry as a whole has a variety of different label solutions. And companies generally mix and match label manufacturing options to suit their needs. However, there are three essential elements to remember if you want to understand the process as a whole.

1. The Role of Label Printers and Print Quality

You’ll likely notice that when the topic of food labels comes up a discussion of heavy machinery will soon follow. You don’t have food label manufacturing without some impressive machines because it’s label printers that are the backbone of the process. Label printers are important in part because the automation provided by modern industrial systems allows for excellence, dependability, and repeatability. Companies aren’t just able to depend on their printer or see occasional sparks of excellence in their print jobs. Instead, companies can rely on continued excellence that is always reproducible with the right settings. All of this and more fall under the larger subject of print quality.

Print quality is an absolute necessity and is typically maintained through two elements. The first is that industrial printing equipment is made with extremely high standards. Automated process control covers and offers alerts for properties such as ink viscosity and printing speed. The second element is professional maintenance and upkeep when any component seems to be outside of the expected parameters. These two elements work together to ensure the continual presence of the previously mentioned factors – excellence, dependability, and repeatability.

2. Cutting and Sorting Labels

One of the most impressive aspects of industrial printing is the sheer scope of a single print job. Industrial printers typically work with huge sheets of paper for the printing base. So a food label isn’t printed onto material that matches the size of the item it’ll eventually find itself affixed to. Instead, the food label is printed onto huge sheets of paper only to be cut into the appropriate size in the next step of the process.

Material printed within an industrial setting is then gradually moved to a cutting system. These machines come in a variety of different forms. Some use steel dies to cut labels, others use slitters, and you’ll even find cutting machines using lasers. But whatever the method, the end effect is the same. The labels are cut into the intended, individual, shape.

3. Finishing the Process with Coaters, Laminators, and More

The final stage of food label manufacturing, before the actual application to containers, is generally called finishing. This stage is incredibly diverse, but it’s essentially anything that turns printed labels into a form appropriate for the intended task. This usually means mechanically applying adhesive coaters or laminators. The process allows the labels to stay affixed to containers. Machines used in this step include laminators, coaters, and presses with each providing different individual strengths.

The next time you see your favorite food in the pantry or store shelf, take a moment to think about all that went into making the food label and give it a moment of appreciation.