Case Study

Shrink Labeling Technology Enhances Shelf Appeal of Gerber's New Baby Food Product

When Gerber Products Company designed the package for its new Tender Harvest line of organic baby food products, it was a challenge to create an eye-catching shelf presence within the limitations of the small 4-oz (113g) glass jar.

Gerber selected the Endura roll-fed shrink labeling technology from B&H Labeling Systems to enhance the label aesthetics on their new shaped container while meeting fast line speed requirements.

"We wanted to design a premium package for a premium product," noted Greta Baumgart, senior packaging engineer at Gerber. "On the market shelf, the Tender Harvest container is most differentiated by the jar profile and the label appearance. Surrounded by products with paper labels, the high-gloss six-color shrink labels create a dynamic image."

Using Endura shrink labeling technology from B&H, Gerber was able to increase the label area by smoothly embracing the contour of the shaped container. Compared to the 7 ¼ square inch (18.4cm2) label panel on Gerber's traditional 4-oz baby food jar, shrink labeling the Tender Harvest container offers Gerber 10 ½ square inches (26.7cm2). The larger billboard helps achieve a greater shelf impact.

Gerber selected the Endura technology in an effort to maximize line speeds and minimize material costs. The system includes B&H's Model 8000S roll-fed labeler that is especially well suited to handle the small container at high line speeds, and the company's Model 700 shrink system.

The BH8000S features a screw infeed mechanism that maximizes container control and a vacuum drum that maximizes label control, producing attractive packages at speeds up to 800 cpm.

The Model 700 shrink system that follows the labeler heat-shrinks the label into the recessed areas of the container.

"When you're working with a very small container like ours, label registration and label height control can be difficult because the tolerances are so tight," noted Gene Christoffersen, packaging manager at Gerber's Fort Smith plant. The B&H labeler at Gerber features a standard Computerized Registration System (CRS) and optional web-tracking device that virtually eliminate out-of-tolerance labels and minimize the downtime attributable to label control.

Gerber produces all sixteen Tender Harvest jarred varieties on one line at the Fort Smith facility and the quick changeover capability of the labeling system helps maximize the plant's productivity. While Gerber currently benefits from label changes that now take only a matter of minutes, their packaging engineers are also aware of the capability to do fast and accurate container size changeovers.

"We want to be as versatile as we can be and the B&H system helps us maximize our production flexibility," noted Howard Moss, engineering manager at Fort Smith.

The support and service offered by B&H before, during, and after installation helped make Gerber's transition to roll-fed labeling a success. "We had to have the equipment quickly and we really put B&H under the gun to deliver. They did their job well so when the machine arrived, it satisfied us," Moss said.

Marlin Evans, labeling machine operator at Fort Smith added, "B&H provided training with the machine, which was very important to us because we were experienced only with cut and stack labeling systems. They showed us how to handle preventative maintenance and how to maximize the efficiency of the machine."

For more information contact B&H Labeling Systems, P.O. Box 247, Ceres, CA 95307. Tel: 209 537 5785; Fax: 209 537 6854.