To meet fast increasing demands for high quality decorated bottles required for marketing beers, ciders and spirits, a new self adhesive labelling service has been introduced by Rockware Glass Limited at its Headlands plant in Knottingley, West Yorkshire.

With the installation of new Saturn labelling equipment from Harlands – a type of machine used widely in on-line and off-line applications by American glass container manufacturers – Rockware can now deliver bottles labelled with high quality graphics on a plastic film base. When printed on a clear film, the labels produce a similar appearance to conventional lead-based decoration, but with what is said to be superior quality in terms of graphics reproduction and colour.

A major benefit provided by the new system – which gives Rockware the flexibility needed to keep pace with predicted market growth – is that this latest generation of labels can be subjected to pasteurisation without adverse effect, allowing bottlers to maintain the output of high speed bottling lines.

Before setting up the new facility, Rockware undertook considerable research into labelling; investigating machine development, labels and customers’ requirements. This included consultations relating to performance and label specifications with potential European and American machinery suppliers.

The Saturn labeller, which represents a significant investment, is capable of labelling up to 300 bottles per minute with as many as four labels, two on the front and two on the back, and 360º neck labelling is also possible. It is a versatile system, which can handle units ranging from small beer bottles to one-litre spirits containers in a variety of shapes.

The labelled bottles are subjected to comprehensive quality control procedures set up by Rockware, which include automatic rejection of containers with labels missing, regular checks on label placement and adhesion, and simulation of pasteurisation.

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