Reading Labels Can Save Lives

| 15 June 2019

Label technology has become one of the mainstays of the contemporary printing industry, with established printing businesses as well as manufacturers investing in label presses to deliver on the packaging and labelling needs of the modern consumer.

It’s crucial to also understand that labels are more than an add-on, or an optional extra for consumer products. Labels are vital, and in many instances, labels save lives. It is therefore non-negotiable that labelling use the highest possible quality of ink, adhesion and substrate, to ensure that consumers are accurately informed of the contents and usage directions of products.

Food products need to include contents labels, as well as warnings for possibly allergenic ingredients. The volume of the contents must be indicated, their sell-by and use-by dates, as well as preparation instructions to avoid food poisoning and other health risks.

Not only must this information be printed on the product labels, it must be legible for consumers, and it must remain legible well beyond the expected life span of the products themselves. For instance, once a product passes its expiry date, it’s important that the label remains in place and readable, so that no one consumes the expired contents and becomes ill.

Ensuring this kind of longevity involves sophisticated ink, substrate and glue solutions. These must be long-lasting, and durable, throughout transport, display, purchase and exposure to the elements. They must also not be damaging to the environment once they eventually biodegrade.

The most sustainable labelling solutions will be those using environmentally friendly toners and ink, media and glues while also retaining their integrity for months and even years.

To ensure this is the case, a sophisticated testing industry has sprung up, testing and certifying the labels that are used in the packaging of many food products, as well as potentially hazardous materials.

In the shipping industry, there is also a requirement that goods have labels that can survive immersion in seawater and remain legible. After all, if goods are washed overboard during shipment, anyone who recovers them must know what the contents are and how they should be handled.

To ensure this is the case, internationally recognised standards have been established. Companies like Smithers Pira and others test labels for exposure to the marine environment, and certify the products accordingly. At Konica Minolta, for instance, our AccurioLabel 190 and the bizhub C71cf presses recently attained a global quality certification after their labels passed Marine Immersion Test BS5609, Sections 2 and 3.

 Labels provide a window into a package’s contents. They provide safety messages, but also marketing communication, information and usage directions.

 Modern barcode, QR code and augmented-reality technology also opens up vast new possibilities for expanded messaging. Labels can now present information, advertising and even entertainment content, and it’s no longer limited by what can physically fit within the borders of a label.

Label printing is not only indispensable. It saves lives, and it is now one of the most exciting areas in the printing industry. Technology is constantly advancing to better deliver on the numerous roles that product packaging plays.

Manufacturers and producers cannot afford to ignore the vast possibilities that label-printing technology now offers – as safety mechanism, marketing tool and business driver.

 While printing companies are well positioned to deliver on these labelling capabilities, label printers are now compact and versatile and can easily be incorporated into a company’s manufacturing set-up. This obviates the need for an external printing supplier and has significant efficiency and cost advantages for manufacturers.

 With its wide range of abilities, labelling also relates to a company’s health-and-safety, marketing as well as its sales function. Labels are no longer simply cosmetic, they are an integral part of doing business.

About Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe


Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, based in Langenhagen, Germany, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Inc., Tokyo, Japan. Konica Minolta enables its clients to champion the digital era: with its unique imaging expertise and data processing capabilities, Konica Minolta creates relevant solutions for its customers and solves issues faced by society. As a provider of comprehensive IT services, Konica Minolta delivers consultancy and services to optimise business processes with workflow automation. The company further offers its customers solutions and managed services in the field of IT infrastructure and IT security as well as cloud environments. With regard to its office printing solutions, "IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Print Transformation 2020 Vendor Assessment" stated that Konica Minolta is "recognised globally as a leader in print transformation". As a strong partner for the professional printing market, Konica Minolta offers business consulting, state-of-the-art technology and software and has established itself as the production printing market leader for more than a decade in Europe (InfoSource). Its Business Innovation Centre in London and four R & D laboratories in Europe enable Konica Minolta to bring innovation forward by collaborating with its customers as well as academic, industrial and entrepreneurial partners. For its innovative service approach that complements their devices perfectly, Konica Minolta was awarded the prestigious ‘"Buyers Lab PaceSetter Award for Serviceability and Support 2020/2021" by Keypoint Intelligence. Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe is represented by subsidiaries and distributors in more than 80 countries in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. With approximately 10,000 employees (as of April 2020), Konica Minolta Europe earned net sales of over 2.34 billion in financial year 2019/2020.


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