What's the Big Deal with Labels?
Super-sizing products and production capabilities is hugely successful for some manufacturers
With regard to size, bigger is definitely better, according to both Xpanded Label Technology, Appleton, Wis., and Hub Labels, Hagerstown, Md., In the case of the former, it is the super-sized dimensions of its label products that set the company apart, while the latter boasts a large, 110,000-sq.-ft. plant housing extremely diversified printing methodologies to leverage multiple production capabilities.
Here, Jim Volkman, executive vice president of Xpanded Label Technology, and Jonathan Freed, director, southeast, for Hub Labels, discussed their companies' unique operations and how they help distributors add value.
Volkman explained that expanded label technology first emerged in Europe in the late 1980s. "We've seen a proliferation of its use in the United States within the last five to seven years due to an increasing need to add information to small amounts of space," he continued. "We combine pressure-sensitive labels with paper leaflets commonly referred to as expanded content labels (ECLs) that are pre-printed on an offset press." ECLs are often used for on-pack promotional coupons, mail-in rebates, recipes and usage tips, and informational labeling.
"We only produce expanded labels, specializing in fast turnarounds of short and medium runs," said Volkman. "Our market research indicated a strong need for a trade-exclusive supplier—our printer customers don't need to worry about us being their competition, and our distributor customers don't need to worry about us selling direct."
The key to the company's success lies in the specially modified tipping/attaching machinery that's been customized to facilitate quick changeover times—and reduce scrap rates. "The machinery provides production efficiencies and controlled operating costs, ultimately simplifying what is typically a very complex and expensive operation," said Volkman.
Volkman pointed out that the expanded label products basically fall into four categories of use: promotional, agricultural, informational and pharmaceutical. Promotional applications include solutions for direct mailers, and on-pack marketing campaigns involving coupons and sweepstakes.