Insight into the world of labellers

Dive into the fascinating world of labellers with Martin Hammerschmid, CEO of Gernep Etikettiertechnik. In this interview you will find out more about the evolution of demand, innovations and adjustments to international markets. Experience the future vision, strategies and technological trends in the industry first hand.

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BEVERAGE INDUSTRY: How has the demand for labellers in the beverage industry evolved over the last few years and which role does the German and European market play in this evolution?

Martin Hammerschmid: Over the last few years we have noticed a technical shift in the labellers being requested in the beverage industry. The German and European market in particular has played a key role in this trend. The development can be traced back to a dynamic change experienced in the beverage industry and driven by the growing variety of products, new packaging concepts and changing consumer trends. These factors have led to a popular request for highly modern labelling solutions which are not only efficient and precise, but also versatile, thus allowing them to master the most varied of product types and packaging sizes.

BI: What impact has this had on the employment situation in your company?

Hammerschmid: The positive development of demand in the beverage industry and the increasing number of products have also left their mark in our company. We have expanded our team to keep up with the rising demand. When doing so, our focus was not only on increasing our numbers, but also on the targeted recruiting of professionals with a view to keeping our product quality and technical expertise at a high level. This positive trend made it possible for us to strengthen our position as an established supplier of labellers in the industry.

BI: How do you integrate innovations into the development of your labellers in order to meet the demands of the beverage industry?

Hammerschmid: Innovation is at the heart of our development strategy. We aspire to continually introduce new technologies and concepts into our labellers so as to meet the changing needs of the beverage industry. Due to the fact that we are also involved in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, an industry that has an extremely pronounced need for quality, precision and documentary verification, our labellers also meet this standard in other industries. The beverage industry can obviously also benefit from this. Through our close collaboration with customers from various industries and market analyses, we identify key areas in which innovations can provide true added value. This makes it possible for us to offer customized solutions that not only increase efficiency but also improve the quality of the product.

BI: How important are international markets for your company and how have you adapted yourself to the specific demands of different countries?

Hammerschmid: International markets are of essential importance to our company. We recognized early on that the beverage industry is a global player and so we built up an international presence in response. We have established sales and service partners in significant markets to guarantee a direct proximity to our customers and react to specific market demands at a regional level. Here, we also benefit from the unique international sales and service network of our parent company, Krones. 

BI: How do your labellers adapt to the different demands and formats of beverage packaging?

Hammerschmid: The variety of beverage packaging requires a high level of flexibility from our labellers. We have designed our machines to be easily adaptable to different formats and packaging types. We achieve this through innovative design principles such as modular labeller suspension designs and variable labelling systems. With our new HMI, machine parameters can be easily saved and selected, thus allowing them to be changed over to a variety of label sizes and packaging shapes. This guarantees efficient production and reduces downtimes when switching between different formats.

BI: How is Gernep different to other labeller manufacturers and what makes it unique?

Hammerschmid: Gernep is distinguished by a number of aspects which makes it stand out from other manufacturers. First of all, our many years of experience in multiple industries are a crucial factor. For many decades now, we have built up our comprehensive expertise and are perfectly familiar with the specific and complex demands of the most diverse industries. Secondly, we place great importance on customer-specific solutions. We not only view our customers as buyers, but also as partners. We work closely with them to develop customized labelling solutions that meet their individual requirements. Thirdly, we prioritize continual innovation. Our designers are always on the look-out for new technologies.

BI: How do your labellers support companies in implementing more sustainable packaging solutions?

Hammerschmid: Sustainability is a crucial factor in today’s beverage industry and we contribute to this. Our labellers are designed to be able to operate with a large number of environmentally friendly packaging materials. This makes it possible for companies to switch to more sustainable options such as recyclable materials or thinner labels that consume fewer resources. We also place importance on energy efficiency by using innovative drive technologies and integrating intelligent control systems which optimise energy consumption. By supporting companies in implementing more sustainable packaging solutions, we are contributing to reducing the environmental impact of the beverage industry.

BI: Which technological trends do you currently see in the labeller industry and how do you adapt your products to these trends?

Hammerschmid: The labeller industry is currently witnessing an exciting phase of technical innovation. An important trend is the intensified integration of automation and digital solutions. We are seeing an increased demand for intelligent machines that are capable of recording, analysing and communicating real-time data. To seize this trend, we are investing in the development of labellers that make it possible to seamlessly communicate with other production systems. We also invest in progressive sensors which guarantee a higher labelling accuracy.

BI: How did the demand for your labellers progress during the COVID-19 pandemic and what challenges did you have to overcome?

Hammerschmid: It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic had implications for the global economy and therefore also for the beverage industry. During this time, we experienced a kind of volatility in the demand for labellers. While some companies suspended their investments to adjust to the altered situation, others invested even more in automation and efficiency in order to remain competitive. We had to react flexibly to these different market signals and adapt our product accordingly. The greatest challenge was to ensure the continuity of our supply chains while simultaneously protecting the health of our employees. We implemented strict safety measures to maintain smooth operation and minimize health risks.

BI: How do you see the future of the labeller market in the beverage industry and which strategies are you pursuing to further strengthen your position in this intensively competitive market?

Hammerschmid: The future of the labeller market in the beverage industry is highly promising as the industry is continually evolving. With an increasing focus on sustainability, product variety and individual packaging solutions, labellers are bound to play a key role. Our strategy is built on three pillars: Firstly, we place great importance on continual innovation in order to integrate the latest technologies in our machines and offer our customers a competitive edge. Secondly, we strengthen our international presence to remain in emerging markets and ensure close collaboration with our customers. Thirdly, we invest in customer service and support in order to build up a long-term partnership and support our customers at all times. These strategic steps will help us to consolidate our position in a changing and intensively competitive market.

BI: Which technical and visual upgrades does the new labeller generation offer compared to the previous models?

Hammerschmid: The new generation of our labellers is accompanied by a series of technical and visual upgrades which improve the output and user friendliness even further. From a technical viewpoint, particularly the new pre-modular labelling station suspension system and new SecureLift lift-guard stand out from the masses. Visually, we have revised the design of the machine surface and integrated a modern touch-screen operator panel. This user interface is intuitively designed and allows the operators to efficiently control and monitor the machine. 

BI: How do the flexible design options for self-adhesive and wet-glue labels on the combination machine support wine producers in labelling various bottle shapes and label sizes?

Hammerschmid: The new generation of Gernep combination machines is unique in its ability to integrate different gluing systems on just one machine and thus gives wine producers a high degree of flexibility when it comes to labelling different bottle formats and label sizes. The ability to use both self-adhesive and wet-glue labels opens up a range of different options. Wine producers can select the label type that best suits their products without being dependent on separate machines. This flexibility not only saves space but facilitates efficient production. The machine can easily switch between the different label types, thus saving wine producers time and resources while simultaneously enabling highly versatile production.

BI: How does the newly designed pre-modular labelling station suspension system improve the flexibility of the labeller and does it allow the customer to easily implement future changes?

Hammerschmid: The newly designed pre-modular labelling station suspension system is an innovation which makes our labellers even more flexible. It makes it possible for customers to add or replace various modules as required. This modular structure makes it easier to implement future changes or upgrades quickly and inexpensively. Customers can, for example, integrate new kinds of labelling, monitoring systems or additional functions, thus allowing them to adapt their machine to changed production requirements. This contributes to extending the machine lifetime and guaranteeing high investment security.

BI: Which benefits does the newly designed SecureLift lift-guard offer when it comes to maintenance and cleaning work, and how does it simplify accessibility to the machine carrousel?

Hammerschmid: The newly designed SecureLift lift-guard offers multiple benefits when it comes to maintenance and cleaning. Through its innovative design, the lift-guard can be easily opened with just one hand, thus making it easier to access the machine carrousel. This is particularly important during maintenance as engineers then have fast and complete access to the inside of the machine. In addition, the SecureLift lift-guard improves the operator safety during maintenance work as potential risks are minimised. This contributes to a reduction in maintenance times and increases the overall availability of the machine.

BI: How does the use of Gernep ServoMotion contribute to the labeller being more energy efficient while also providing high labelling precision and smooth container introduction.

Hammerschmid: Gernep ServoMotion can be integrated just as the customer requires it. It is a key aspect for the energy efficiency and precision of our labellers. The use of  servomotors allows movements to be controlled precisely, thus avoiding unnecessary energy consumption. This results in a machine that is more energy efficient on the whole. In addition to this, the precise movement control contributes to high labelling precision, which in turn improves the product quality. The gentle label guidance provided by Gernep ServoMotion reduces the risk of damage to the containers and labels during the labelling process, thus not only guaranteeing high-quality labelling, but also a gentle treatment of the products.

BI: How flexible is the new machine generation with regard to the integration of monitoring and dating systems, and special seal labelling processes? How can these systems be retrofitted as needed in order to meet the current market requirements?

Hammerschmid: Our new machine generation stands out through its high flexibility in the integration of monitoring and dating systems, as well as special seal labelling systems. The modular design of our machines allows these systems to be easily integrated in the production process. The required modules can be added or replaced based on the individual requirements of our customers. This makes it possible for companies to modify their labeller in line with the current market requirements and regulations. The ability to retrofit provides investment security and ensures that our customers always have state-of-the-art equipment.

BI: Many thanks, Mr Hammerschmid, for your valuable insight into the world of labellers.