The world of labeling

How long has Wipotec actually been building labeling machines? And why bother with this complex undertaking at all, as other manufacturers already have decades of experience? Lukas Müller is a project engineer at Wipotec. His specialty is labeling systems. In this interview, he provides exciting insights into the world beyond the technology.

„We deal with a wide range of products and packaging forms – and new ones are being added all the time.”“

If you type “labeling” into a search engine, you will find everything from office supplies to parcel shipping. What areas is Wipotec active in here?

We are in our familiar environment: end-of-line processes for packaged products. We are currently highly active in the healthcare and food sectors, which we know from other business units. However, because we are highly flexible due to our systems’ modular design, we constantly receive new inquiries from many additional industries, such as cosmetics, motor oil and agrochemicals.

In these industries, you will find many different types of packaging. Can Wipotec label all of these products?

Certainly not all of them, but we already cover a very broad spectrum. We started by sealing pharmaceutical folding boxes with tamper-evident labels. This was the logical extension of our serialization systems. In this context, we then also combined technologies to develop systems for label serialization and apply them to bottles and vials. In the meantime, we are dealing more and more with products such as thermoformed packages, films, cartons of different sizes through to shipping boxes – and even canisters and other containers.

Do these types always incorporate serialized labels?

No. Of course, a pharmaceutical manufacturer who has to comply with serialization regulations benefits greatly from our holistic systems. However, with increasing automation, consumer goods manufacturers are also recognizing its benefits. Some already mark their products with 2D codes, which contain batch-level information. Others employ our systems to prepare for this change but are currently still labeling their products with an expiration date and a batch number. The great added value lies not only in the content of the label, but above all in the holistic control. Instead of operating transport, printers, cameras and label dispensers individually, everything is integrated into a single system. And we wouldn’t be Wipotec if this system didn’t weigh as well.

Printing and applying shipping labels to cartons

Providing bottles and vials with serialized labels

How many different labeling systems does Wipotec currently offer?

Labeling is a module of our TQS portfolio. In this product line, we have decided not to give each machine its own name. There are so many possible combinations that we see no added value in naming each one individually. What is important is that the system is designed to suit the application. For this purpose, different technologies are available to apply flat, wrap around or corner wrap labels. And each of these is scalable.

What are the biggest challenges facing the further development of labeling technology?

First of all, the variety of existing solutions is interesting. After all, there are manufacturers who have been building labeling machines for 30 to 40 years. They have a lot of experience and offer tried and tested quality. We are building on that experience. Our greatest challenge is actually to live up to our own standards. Especially because we are entering a new market here, we remain true to our position as an innovation leader. We always aim to be at the forefront of technological advancements and to deliver the most innovative and efficient solutions. As we work on many different projects with new packaging forms, it is a new challenge every time. We keep challenging ourselves so that the systems we offer our customers provide real added value.

“Requirements are growing - and we can meet them.”


What is this added value?

We know that our customers, who are familiar with and appreciate our weighing technology, also have a need for labeling, printing and camera inspection in their production lines. We see this as a natural extension of our existing know-how and have learned to integrate labeling into our holistic systems. This combination of cameras, printers, labeling and weighing technology allows us to offer our customers a unique solution. Compared to established labeler manufacturers with extensive expertise in mechanical design, our strength as a machine building company is our in-depth understanding of software and automation. We are able to seamlessly integrate all these modules into a central, coordinated system that meets the customer’s specific requirements.

What does the future hold for labeling technology?

We can already see today that systems are becoming more and more complex. It is no longer just a mechanical process. More and more functions are being added. Software is becoming increasingly important for article management, user management, format changes and audit trails. Many market players need to look at how they combine technologies not only when applying labels, but also when individually marking and inspecting them. Our systems can do all of that already. So the market demands are growing to exactly where we already are today.

Lukas Müller
Project Engineer

has been working at Wipotec since 2011. After gaining experience in several areas of the company, his focus since 2018 has been on labeling technology. He works closely with customers on projects to constantly solve new challenges with systems that push Wipotec’s technological standards.

Top and bottom labeling of thermoformed packages

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