Stonewall Kitchen is a high end, specialty foods processor based in York, ME. The increasing growth of their brand required their production and engineering team to explore new avenues for packaging machines that would meet their new targets.
By Oliver Arian
The company (founded in 1991 by friends Jim Stott and Jonathan King) recently acquired a Rotary Labeler manufactured by Gernep GmbH (Barbing, Germany) to apply pressure-sensitive labels on their glass jars. The rotary labeler is versatile and can apply spot, wrap or multi-panel labels, thanks to the servo-driven Herma label dispenser. The range of glass jars is impressive; round, square and Mason jars, some of which are labelled at speeds of 120 jars per minute.
Most of Stonewall Kitchen products are sold in attractive glass jars with pressure-sensitive labels. Several jars have embossed logos on them, thus requiring orientation prior to applying the labels. Director of Manufacturing John Daley says: ``With our old inline labeler, an operator had to stand before the labeler to make sure all jars were properly oriented. In addition to be labor intensive, it slowed down production significantly and frequent human error resulted in mislabeled jars.’’
The Gernep Rotary Labeler was sold by Aesus Packaging Systems (Pointe-Claire, Quebec) who is the Sales & Service Partner for Gernep in North America. Aesus’ Regional Sales Manager Jean-Luc Bourassa says: ‘’After the first meeting with Stonewall Kitchen, it was clear that the best machine for their needs was a rotary labeler. Though Aesus is a manufacturer of inline labelers, we did consider an inline option; however the speed, the orientation of their unique jars and the frequent changeovers all pointed to the Gernep rotary labeler.’’
The new Gernep Labeler model Labetta SK has eight bottle plates, each of them controlled by a servo motor allowing complete control of jar rotation on the carrousel. ‘’The nice thing with the servo bottle plates is the versatility. When compared to a labeler relying on cams for bottle rotation, the servos allow for an easy introduction of new bottles in the future. The bottle plates are fully programmable and automatically adjusted from the touch screen’’ Bourassa says.
The Gernep labeler can be equipped with a coder to print best before date and batch number directly on the jar or on the label. There is also provision to add a second label dispenser if the customer ever wants to do front and back labels or if they want to turn the rotary labeler into a redundant system. A redundant system will automatically switch label dispensers when they run out of labels for non-stop production during the time the operator replenish the machine with new rolls of labels.