Cannabis production is ever-changing, however the challenges associated with automating these packaging and labeling lines are not much different from food or pharmaceutical applications. Automation can help cannabis producers increase production speeds, reduce costs, and provide them with a competitive edge. Because cannabis legalization is fairly recent, many companies lack the experience and expertise to plan for efficient automated packaging and labeling operations. However, experienced automation providers are well aware of adversity faced by manufacturers who have had a quick increase in product demand and are helping companies to effectively address them and ensure their compliance with the applicable regulations.
If we take a jar filling line for buds, for instance, the only novelty for packaging machinery manufacturers was the handling of the buds, which are fragile and very light. Check weighing is another critical area for cannabis buds packaging, but proven solutions are available in the marketplace. Other machinery, like bottle unscramblers, cappers, induction sealers, labelers, and cartoners, are standard. What makes it easier is that OEMs have a wealth of knowledge in meeting stringent product specifications and are experienced in meeting customer demands.
The application of labels and tax stamps on cannabis products is a niche where Gernep Rotary Labelers can excel mainly because tax stamp application is a real logistical problem for many cannabis producers. The labels are costly, and all LP must hold a log of damaged or wasted labels by law; mistakes can quickly lead to fines or even a loss of license. Tax Stamps size is another issue rendering manual applications with any kind of accuracy in placement arduous. Gernep provides constant precise positioning at medium to high speeds and can easily be equipped with label verification optics, jet printers, or coders for variable information and rejection chutes to recuperate jars with inaccurate or missing labels.
Our team of experienced labeling machine engineers can accommodate nearly any challenge and help plan for future options right from the project’s planning stage. Our technical service team is always at hand to assist with scheduled maintenance or any technical machine issues that may arise during or after installation.
JARS, BOTTLES, CARTONS & POUCHES
Those are the types of packaging we are dealing with in the cannabis industry daily. The exact same tax stamp needs to be applied to those packaging, but the applications are very different. For bottles and jars, the tax stamp must cover the cap and body of the bottle. For cartons, the label must be applied on the top and side, what we can a “L-Shape” application. Finally, filled and sealed pouches will require the tax stamps to be applied on the top part of the pouches, close to the tear notch and over the childproof zipper. It is critical to have a high tack of the adhesive on the complete area of the label as well as accurate placement because the tax stamps also act as tamper-evident labels.
IN-LINE OR OFF-LINE APPLICATIONS
Cannabis tax stamps can be applied in-line or off-line on the products. In-line means the tax stamps are applied during the production, which means a tax stamper will be integrated in the main bottling line and finished products will be ready to ship. However, many LPs are not applying the excise tax stamps on the bottles during production; they will send finished products to inventory and wait until destination is known to apply the tax stamps. Gernep can supply labelers for those so-called finishing lines as well as for production lines.
For in-line applications, we are offering combination labelers to apply the main body label and the tax stamp on the same machine frame. We can also integrate a coder to print variable information (THC and CBD level, lot number, barcode) on the main label and a vision system to verify that the right information is on the label, as well as label presence on the bottles.
For off-line applications, we have the capacity to perform orientation of the bottle prior tax stamp label application. In most case, orientation is done with a camera to detect the body label position and apply the tax stamp in a specific position on the bottle. Another sensor or camera can be used to make sure the tax stamp is properly applied to the jars or bottles and reject any faulty products.
TAX STAMPS WITH OR WITHOUT ADHESIVE
Tax stamps are available in rolls, in the form of pressure-sensitive labels, or in stacks and without adhesive. If production volumes are high, there could be interesting savings on the cost of labels, but the machinery to apply each type are very different.
Gernep has a strong background in the beer industry, which is probably the biggest users of pre-cut paper labels without adhesive, also known as cut & stack labels in America. Pre-cut tax stamps are similar but have their own specificity and require special attachment for optimal performance.
The expertise of Gernep in cold glue, hot melt and pressure-sensitive labeling technologies combined to hands on experience in various industries makes it a unique partner for your labeling projects. We would be thrilled to take a closer look at your products and advise on the best solutions available.