Labels in the 21st century are multifunctional, are a decoration, packaging component and provider of information all in one.
They provide a product with personality and recognition value, while fulfilling tasks of a huge range of people: They contribute to the battle against theft and product piracy, optimise entire logistics processes by radio with integrated RFID chips and strengthen consumer safety with printed time-temperature indicators (TTI) for temperature-controlled foods. Technical complexity and decoration are always connected with one another
According to a study by the EHI Retail Institut, high-quality wines and spirits are among the most frequently stolen products in the retail food industry. To help sellers in the battle against their rising inventory difference, Bizerba has developed an electronic radio tag for securing bottles. An RF transponder (radio frequency) is attached inconspicuously beneath the decorative label. If a customer leaves the shop without having the transponder deactivated at the till, then an alarm signal is triggered.
Many sellers have started to lock their high-priced drinks in display cabinets or protect them using an electronic capsule on the bottle necks. However, the latter solution in particular not only causes more work, but also considerably affects the marketing appearance of the product,” says Marc Büttgenbach, Sales Director Labels and Consumables at Bizerba. Accordingly, the demand for thief-proof labels with RF technology is increasing among manufacturers of high-quality spirits.
The procedure can be used for all labels that are larger than the RF module. During the production process, the RF module is fitted under the label. The customer can apply the label with his or her facilities as usual and does not need to adapt the production process or train personnel. In comparison with classic wet glue labels, the RF labels are also more adhesive and do not produce any unhygienic lubricating film.
“Many of our customers are suppliers and have repeatedly reported that they are threatened with order losses if their products are not designed to be thief-proof. Because if an end consumer steals the product, the seller of the spirits is left sitting on the damage and holds the suppliers accountable,” says Büttgenbach. The first customers are already in the test phase for this new system solution.
Brand and product piracy is a serious threat for companies, as the following figures show: In 2010, the German customs authorities stopped 2.4 million counterfeit products to the value of almost €100 million on the borders. It is not only clothes which are imitated. Food and medication also are. Product piracy has become an issue which affects the whole population.
“More and more frequently, it happens that distributors illegally repack goods or put products of lower quality in alleged original boxes. So that manufacturers can protect their own brand from such illegal activities, Bizerba has developed a forgery-proof original seal, the TE label,” explains Büttgenbach. The abbreviation TE stands for temper evident, for seal labels, which cannot be removed from their base without it being noticed.
“The synthetic paper is made of several extremely thin layers. The resulting band frays when it is removed, as a particularly strong adhesive is used in our own laminate production processes.” The users of TE labels include international manufacturers of high-quality food, from Argentinean steak to high-quality confectionary. However, products such as CDs, perfumes and technical equipment can also be effectively secured.
Multifunctional labels at the Interpack 2011