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Mondavi Wine toasts offline label printers' utility

Label printer at MondaviIs it feasible for a large winery to accept a five-case order?

At Woodbridge, a ‘yes’ originates from the office area where printers output made-to-order case and bottle labels on short notice.

Purchased in late ’94 to produce parts numbers on pressure-sensitive labelstock to identify cased allotments, the printers have become increasingly useful over time. What began as a side responsibility has evolved into full-time design work, according to Sheri Elkins, inventory control senior assistant.

Today, the two standalone Legitronic® printers from Weber Marking Systems produce case labels for special or short run items, and serve as emergency backup for the on-line case label printers. For the latter, they can produce 20,000 of the 4-3/4 inch square case labels a day, Elkins says. In the few times they had to resort to this method, the print-and-apply units’ mechanical problems were resolved fairly quickly, Elkins notes.

In fact, it was the experience with those two printers that led Mondavi back to Weber when it added print/apply case labeling to its bottling operations: “We had such tremendous results with these standalone printers, we decided to try them on-line in a print-and-apply format,” says Elkins.

Besides case labels, the offline units print p-s bottle labels, which are then used to overlabel or supplement existing bottle labels for domestic sale and for export to Canada, Europe and elsewhere. Violaters are also printed to flag promotions. The p-s labelstock is supplied by Weber.

Mondavi wine casing lineFor bottle applications, Mondavi keeps various colored labelstocks on hand, although in the past year Elkins has pushed the boundaries a bit further: she occasionally floodcoats white labelstock using colored ribbons to produce from scratch, color-matched custom labels; this is followed by a second pass to apply copy in a contrasting color such as gold.

The distinctive look for often mandatory modifications make customizing short run items this way a practical, cost-saving shortcut versus individual preprinted labels. Labels are produced for any amount inappropriate for outsourced printing.

“This also offers the flexibility to accommodate any last-minute changes, such as an alcohol percentage change,” Elkins notes.

The newer of the two printers – a 300 dot-per-inch Series 22 printer unit exchanged for a 200 dpi unit in 1996 – handles labels up to 7 inches wide at a rate to 8 inches per second. If a graphic needs to be printed, this model is used, Elkins says. If it’s typography-only printing, then it or a companion machine, a Series 20 200 dpi unit, is used. Using Weber’s “Legi for Windows” software, Elkins and her associates custom-design labels using Windows®-based True Type fonts.

The results mimic press printed results to maintain Mondavi’s high quality graphics standards.

Click here to read about Mondavi's high-speed case labeling application.

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