Smoothly ‘oiled' labeling

Jack Mans, Plant Operations Editor

January 29, 2014

5 Min Read
Smoothly ‘oiled' labeling




Calistoga Oil Products was founded in early 2012 as a store in Calistoga, CA, selling its own bottled epicurean olive oils and balsamic vinegars, as well as selected products from other local Napa Valley companies. Calistoga bottles its own oils on site, and the company purchased a LX 900 label printer and a AP362 label applicator from Primera Technology Inc. for its labeling needs. Both of these machines are table-top units, so they can be placed anywhere that is convenient.

Calistoga Oil Products owner James Anzalone says, "Applying the labels by hand was very tedious and time consuming, and it was a challenge to get front and back labels placed accurately. In addition, we run 15 different olive oil and balsamic vinegar products, and we had to order a minimum number of labels for each of those products. This was expensive and presented a storage problem."

After looking at various options, Anzalone purchased the Primera equipment. "I chose this equipment after doing lots of research and seeing the best quality labels coming from the LX900. I have been using the LX900 for the past eight months, and the benefits are numerous. We save lots of money on our label costs; more than $1 on each label set. We print throughout the year on an as-needed basis and having the label printer on-site makes that very easy for us here. I can honestly say that my label printer is one of the best investments for our company."

The LX900 is Primera's newest, fastest and most economical to operate color label printer. The unit prints on roll stock from Labeltronix, and the printed labels can include photos, graphics, illustrations and text and even high-resolution linear or two-dimensional bar codes. The printer incorporates Primera Imaging Perfection advanced inkjet technology that delivers razor-sharp text, graphics and the most photo-realistic printing possible. Color droplet size is just four picoliters and black is 5.5 pL; print resolution is up to 4,800 dpi.

The unit has individual inks for cyan, magenta, yellow and black so users only need to replace the ink cartridge that has been depleted instead of the entire cartridge, saving money on every label printed. The print head is designed to be semi-permanent. If a replacement is ever needed, simply snap it in and out of the printer-no tools required.

Fast and easy labeling

Anzalone is also happy with the Primera AP362 label applicator. "We load batches of front and back labels into the magazines of the applicator. The operator places a bottle horizontally into the machine, steps on a foot switch, and the machine applies the front and back labels as the bottle rotates. A skilled operator can run as many as 20 bottles per minute."

The AP362 semi-automatic applicator can apply front and back labels to cylindrical containers as well as many tapered containers, including bottles, cans, jars and tubes. Set-up and operation is fast and easy. Just set the guides, place the container in the machine, press the footswitch and the labels are applied. A built-in spring-loaded pressure arm makes sure labels are applied firmly and without wrinkles. 

Anzalone runs three different size bottles in his shop: 375mL (12.7 oz), 100 mL (3.38 oz) and 250 mL (8.4 oz).

Three-spout filler

Calistoga uses a RI Series table-top gravity filling machine built by Mori Luigi SAS to fill its oils and vinegars. The manufacturer is represented in the U.S. by TCW Equipment

Each fill spout on this volumetric three-spout semi-automatic machine operates individually. A worker pushes an empty bottle onto the rubber tip of the spout to start filling. The spouts are articulated so that they can move when the operator is placing the bottle and then move back into the vertical position for filling.

The spout has a valve at its discharge end and pushing the bottle onto the spout pushes this valve up into the open position to start the product flowing. The spout has two openings; the product flows through one opening and air is vented through the other opening up into the fill hopper. When the bottle is full, the operator removes it from the nozzle and repeats the process. 

For a skilled operator, this is a two-handed operation. The operator removes the full bottle with one hand and places the empty bottle into position with the other hand. Once the rhythm is established, the procedure of filling the bottles in sequence proceeds smoothly.

Corks, which are supplied by Amorim Cork America, are applied manually by a simple mechanical corker that is made in Italy and supplied by TCW Equipment. A worker simply places a bottle on a support plate and drops an uncompressed cork into the jaws of the corker. He then pulls down on the handle, which locks the bottle so it can't move down. Pulling the handle also compresses the cork and inserts it into the bottle. A worker then dips the bottles into hot wax from Napa Fermentation Supplies to complete the bottling operation.

"The Primera equipment has worked out great!" exclaims Anzalone. "The machines are easy to use and the applicator applies perfectly aligned labels every time. Most importantly, the printer allows me to control costs by not having to rely on a commercial label supplier." 

The Primera printer is also instrumental in allowing Anzalone to expand the company's product line. He says, "Because of the label printer, we are rolling out our own food line, which will consist of almonds, dipping-spice blends, chocolate truffles and tapanades. We also print the labels we stick on our shopping bags."



Amorim Cork America, 707-224-6000

Labeltronix, 800-429-4321 

Napa Fermentation Supplies,707-255-6372


Primera Technology Inc., 800-797-2772 

TCW Equipment, 707-963-9681





About the Author(s)

Jack Mans

Plant Operations Editor

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