There are eight roll directions for product labels on rolls. Product labels must be printed to suit bottling companies. When you print bottle labels for your bottling company or another automated process, then you must ask your label printing company how the labels are to be printed.
The labels must start on the machine a certain way. There are eight ways that a label can come off its roll.
- Roll Direction 1, Outside Wound, Top Edge Leading
- Roll Direction 2, Outside Wound, Bottom Edge Leading
- Roll Direction 3, Outside Wound, Right Edge Leading
- Roll Direction 4, Outside Wound, Left Edge Leading
- Roll Direction 5, Inside Wound, Top Edge Leading
- Roll Direction 6, Inside Wound, Bottom Edge Leading
- Roll Direction 7 Inside Wound, Right Edge Leading
- Roll Direction 8, Inside Wound, Left Edge Leading
It’s vital that your labels are printed in the right direction. Otherwise, the bottling machine will just not work. The labels will not be adhered to the right part of your bottle. Roll Directions 3 and 4 are the most common uses for machine application of the labels.
You also need a uniform gap between your product labels. Typically, this is around 6mm but it can be as small as 3mm. For machine application of product labels, the labels are always die-cut as this is the most accurate way of cutting your labels to size and stripping off the wastage. Die-cutting is more accurate than digital cutting and laser cutting but it still comes with a tolerance of 1mm. In practical terms, that means do not print right to the edge of the labels. Text should be at least 2mm from the edge of the label and thin borders close to the edge of the label should be avoided.
Last week we printed many thousands of hand sanitiser labels and the bottle contained a front and back label. We printed the labels that matched the portrait orientation of the label and used a die that had the longer edge of the label as the leading edge. The bottling company was applying the front label and then the back label so we printed alternate front and back labels in line with the requirements of the bottling company.
Your product labels will be printed on 76mm cores, the preferred core size for most label applicators. For machine application, large rolls are usually preferred so that the machine does not need to stop too often to reload. Let your label printing company know if you have a preferred diameter for your rolls.
The other thing to consider is runups. This means the labels don’t get applied to the bottles immediately. It takes time to setup the process and get the alignment right so that your product labels can be applied to your bottles in exactly the right position. Some label printing companies will leave the first part of the rolls blank. Our preference is to just print plenty of extras at no additional charge so that you will have enough labels for all of your bottles.
Bottling companies require minimum print runs before accepting a job or pricing the job competitively. If you do not have enough labels for your products but don’t wish to apply them manually, then there is an alternative way. You could use a label applicator machine. Below is an example of one such machine.
Automatic label application should be your goal as it saves time and it means you are probably selling lots of products to require the use of one. You should contact a bottling company so that your product labels can be automatically applied when the time is right. However, it means you must use containers or bottles that lend themselves well to automatic application.