As we celebrate 90 years since opening our doors at Weber, it’s a great time to look back at where we’ve come from! A lot has changed since 1932, and our product offerings are no exception. From handprinters 90 years ago, to label printer applicators today, Weber is constantly evolving with the world around it.
Read on to explore some of the highlights of Weber’s product offerings through the years!
In 1938, Joseph Weber Sr. introduced the first handprinter, the Tag-O-Graph Jr. This handprinter was a small curved block of wood to which Joseph affixed a glass handle, a cheesecloth ink pad and a framed mimeograph stencil. It’s amazing to look back at the original design and see how far printing has come since!
As the mid-point of the 20th century approached, Weber launched its first mechanical addressing machine, a hand-operated device developed by James Thomas that printed an address from a paper “ad-roll” rather than a stencil. This machine was used to print hang tags that identified products, prices, or address information on packages.
The Stenmark stencil preparation system is introduced to make stencils for handprinters and labelers. This allowed for printing larger type in variety of fonts for easier product identification. It was basically a stencil typewriter!
Model 40 label printer introduced, which was marketed as a small and economical label printer that could print 105 labels per minute. Also known as "Green Machines", this system used a stencil or interchangeable type slugs to print onto dry-adhesive rolls of paper that, when slit into individual labels, could be put on products.
As technology began to rapidly advance, the Legitronic 1700 electronic labeling system featuring a computer terminal and dot matrix printer was introduced. Variable label information was printed onto pressure-sensitive labels after being formatted by the computer program.
The Model 5100, Weber’s first label printer applicator designed and built in-house, went on the market. This built-in-the-USA print-apply system was designed to use Zebra print engines. A wide-range of label application arms allowed it to apply one or two labels to the sides of passing cartons or products.
Weber keeps innovating with a range of high-speed labeling systems. The new high-speed modular Model 4050 label printer applicator is introduced along with the Legi-Flex high-speed vision-alignment labeling system for distribution centers. These systems, along with the high-speed Alpha HSM label applicator, show Weber's dedication to the ever-changing requirements of the packaging industry.
And we’re just getting started!
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Our world is filled with many complex and complicated products, some of which can be dangerous if handled incorrectly.
And there are times when a product has to have emergency information available to users and first-responders.
This is where a label called an Extended Text Label comes into play. Extended Content Labels (ECLs) are a family of labels designed to increase packaging space to convey in-depth information. If you've ever seen a bottle or a package with a label that folds or pops out, then you've seen at least one type of Extended Content Label.
ECLs are labels made up of multiple panels attached directly to the package that either unfold or unroll to reveal necessary information, such as regulatory requirements, multi-lingual text, promotions, cautionary messages, and much more.
While traditional labels are printed on one side of a piece of material, ECLs will give you more space for product information like ingredients and instructions and can free space up on the front of your label for branding and essential product information.
These labels are usually produced with a hinged format that opens to reveal additional panels that can even fold out additional pages. When you have a lot to say, these pages can contain all your information relevant to your product or business.
ECLs are perfect for communicating data in multiple languages or meet the needs of specific industry requirements like health warnings, application instructions, or warranty information.These types of labels appear in retail packaging, software product labeling, drug facts information, MSDS information, on personal care products or supplements, and food or beverage nutritional fact information.
Also known as multi-ply labels, peel-back or resealable labels, booklet labels and fold-out labels, they combine a Pressure Sensitive Label and a folded or bound outsert that resembles a printed booklet. There is usually a thin strip of clear laminate that has a removable adhesive that allows the booklet to be held closed when applied, opened when needed, and re-closed when done.
Here is a quick video of an extended text label being printed at Weber packaging Solutions.
Watching the video you can see the printed information, usually printed by an offset printer, is fed into the label press where it is sandwiched between the label of label material and the protective laminate covering. It is then die-cut and wound on rolls for use on a label applicator at the manufacturer's facility.
This kind of label becomes important when packaging profiles are small and there is not enough room on labels for your message. Extended Content Labels provide space for more graphics and copy through the use of multiple pages. They are all engineered to do the same thing — increase the amount of space available for text and graphics. Expanded content labels contain more space for information than ordinary labels.
Extended content labels allow the outer label to be decorative and market the product and brand, while the internal layers contain vital information to comply with regulations and inform the consumer about necessary product details.
The most common applications are for pharmaceutical products, clinical trials, nutraceuticals, chemicals, pesticides, weed control products, lubricants, cosmetics and more!
What are the different types of labels?
Types Of Labels
Brand label. If only brand is used on package of a product, this is called brand label. Brand itself is expressed in label. It plays an important role in labelling as it gives information about the brand. It can be removable or non-removable
Grade Label. Some product have given grade label. It describes the aspect and feature of the product.
Descriptive label. Descriptive label give information about the feature, using instruction, handling, security. It specifies product usage.
Additional label content that is often completed with extended content, booklet labels or smooth peel labels are the following:
3D International started as a humble car wash in the Van Nuys, California area back in 1980 and soon after began manufacturing their own brand of soap, degreasers and tire dressings. As word spread, they needed to expand the production of their quality automotive products and dedicate themselves to just manufacturing.
With over two decades of research and development, 3D has established a solid name in the car care products industry for car washes, detailers, and car dealerships.
In 2014, 3D built a new facility in Santa Clarita where they moved into creating new polishing compounds and car-care soaps along with their degreasers and tire dressings. As their fame continued to grow, they expanded, adding new filling and packaging lines to keep up with demand. The 3D International factory headquarters includes a 70,000 square-foot warehouse with computerized mixing, high-speed production and strict quality control.
The company’s Production Manager, Genaro Levy, took some time to tell us about the growth at 3D International and how they are handling their success.
“We were famous for our soaps, tire dressings and degreasers, but since 2010, we have pursued the development of polishing compounds for automotive finishes,” said Gernaro. “3D now has compounds that are unmatched in how fast they polish. This one-step compound polishes (removes swirl marks), protects (adds a protective film), and leaves a great shine.”
The company now produces about 150 different products in a range of containers including 2 oz., 8 oz., 16 oz., 24 oz., 32 oz., 1 gallon, 5 gallons, 55 gallons, and 275 gallon totes! Over 95% of their products are biodegradable and/or green with 100% VOC compliance.
Because of the increase in their compound sales, 3D needed to build a new packaging line for their 16 oz. and 32 oz. bottles. One of the components of the new production line would be a wrap-around labeling system that could keep up with manufacturing and have day-to-day reliability.
When Joseph Weber, Sr. founded what was then known as Weber Addressing Machine Company in 1923, he not only introduced the company’s first handprinter - the Tag-O-Graph - to market but laid a solid foundation for a company that would endure the test of time.
In fact, the family-owned handprinter company that he started in Chicago nearly a century ago is now a global labeling company in its third generation! And this year, we’re celebrating the milestone of our 90th anniversary.
Weber Through the Years
In 1932, just ten years after Henry Ford pioneered the assembly line, Joseph Weber, Sr. founded Weber. And a lot has happened since we opened our doors in the 1930s. From the invention of the television and the first moon landing to the proliferation of computers and the internet, Weber has seen the world through immense change since going into business 90 years ago.
Weber's first product was a simple handprinter that used an ink pad and a stencil mounted on a block of wood with a handle. This allowed the user to mark multiple cartons quickly with the same information. The product line, and the company, grew slowly at first, building a loyal customer base.
With each step along the way, we have found ways for our customers and our company to thrive. By the 1940s, we introduced an Address Machine that allowed for direct, mechanical printing on envelopes and changed our name to Weber Marking Systems.
Every decade since, we’ve made significant technological advances in labeling and label printing, moving from manual to automated, digital solutions. In line with these advances, we changed our name to Weber Packaging Solutions in 2011. That same year, we introduced our Model 4300 Pro-Apply , an economical line of printer-applicators, and installed our first Mark-Andy P7 label press, which handles the most complex print applications.
Over the next few years, we introduced innovative label solutions like RFID labels , a vast array of label materials and finishes, and digital HP label presses that provide high-quality color labels in minimum quantities. Our engineering team developed an extensive line of modular label printer-applicators and high-speed labeling systems to handle the diverse label applications of our customers.
Learn more about our history .
Today, the company remains family-owned and operated by the Weber family, with Doug Weber, Joseph Weber, Jr.’s son, leading the company as President and CEO.
“To celebrate the 90th anniversary of Weber is the experience of a lifetime,” said Doug. “Weber’s legacy has been built on the solid foundation that my grandfather laid 90 years ago, and to see it flourish has been nothing short of incredible.”
As one of the country’s largest label printers, Weber has continued to improve their ISO 9001-certified facilities with the latest high-speed flexo and digital label presses. Our custom-manufactured labeling systems feature heavy-duty designs and are globally known for their reliability.
At Weber, we continuously work to provide our amazing customers with the newest, most innovative equipment that allows them to leave their mark and realize savings. As we look to the future of labeling, which is rapidly evolving to meet consumer needs and demand, we are committed to providing products that are well built and last for many years. We proudly plan to continue Joseph Sr.’s legacy for generations to come.
Back in 2005, Walmart shook up the retail world by requiring its suppliers to start using RFID tracking tags on products that Walmart sold in their stores. It was a bold move that started with about 100 of their top suppliers, 500 stores and 5 distribution centers. But RFID tags were in their infancy and no one had tried to roll out a large scale adoption of the technology yet.
Even though there was a steep learning curve, suppliers tried to meet the mandate, often with limited success. A year later, the program was extended to 500 suppliers. Label suppliers scrambled to meet demand and work with companies trying to manage the logistics of using the new RFID tags. But the technology was still not fully developed yet, with few guidelines or industry standards. Plus, RFID inlays, the encodable chips layered inside the label or tag, were not always reliable and were costly.
Over the years since Walmart has continued to work with Auburn University RFID Labs and GS1 US to learn more and build it’s RFID program. Both of these organizations provide resources for retail suppliers and other industry stakeholders who need guidance and standards for the growing RFID usage.
The information available is vast, with most manufacturers already using the GS1 standards for their UPC bar codes. RFID tags usually contain information like the price of a product along with the UPC bar code that contains the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) value.
Starting in September 2022, suppliers of home goods products, hardware, and automotive products will need to be using RFID tags.
RFID tags have been in use since the big push in 2005 and further adoption has relied on both manufacturers and retailers accepting the price and standards. Most of the early issues with using RFID tags have been eliminated. Advances in RFID technology have increased the scanning accuracy and sensitivity of the tags to almost 97%, a far cry from years ago. And the costs have come down to about 3 to 5 cents per tag in large quantities. Both of these factors have made RFID label and tags more acceptable and cost-effective for manufacturers and retailers.
In 2020, Walmart started to deploy UHF RFID technology at its store to track apparel products as they were delivered and sold. This allowed them to keep tighter reins of inventory levels and make sure items were always in stock. Employees would use hand-held scanners to read the passive tags and keep track of store items. Walmart reported dramatic results in the ability to maintain product avalabilty which led to improved online order fulfillment and customer satisfaction.
Prime decorative labels play a major role in selling your product. The design, the materials and print quality are reflective of your brand and, as they sit on a crowded store shelf, they are quickly being compared to the competition's packaging. To print the highest quality labels, flexographic label converters are moving to HD Flexo printing to produce the boldest and sharpest label images possible on a flexo press.
When you hear HD quality you're probably thinking high-definition television. Much like high-def TV technology increased the clarity of our TV picture, HD Flexo plates are vastly improving print quality in labels.
What is HD Flexo?
Using Esko's plate making software, the plate making process essentially creates flexographic printing plates that print at the same quality as gravure and offset printing. You'll get more vibrant colors, stronger solids and smoother vignettes. The labels will print sharper images and text with better definition of the screening dots.
We've see the biggest benefit of this type of printing with cosmetic and health & beauty labels because they usually include human faces which can be difficult to print with flexo plates. It also makes a big difference in image quality for food designs and other labels that contain detailed artwork.
Let's take a look at the difference between the old flexo process and the new HD system below. Notice the smooth edges on the letters and the rounder and clearer dots on the HD Flexo?
Here's an example of the difference you'll see with artwork that shows faces.