The case of the lumpy labels

KC Boxbottom

March 11, 2015

2 Min Read
The case of the lumpy labels

Lumps are never good whether they are in the mattress or the gravy. Janice was on the phone telling me about her lumpy labels. She needed my help and needed it now.

The KCcopter had me at Janice’s plant in less than the blink of an eye.

Janice showed me her plastic bottles and the lumps under the labels. “The lumps aren’t in the labels when they go on the labeler.” She told me. “We don’t see anything in the labeler that can be doing this. It is a mystery worthy of a famous detective.”

The friction wheel capper used pairs of spinning wheels to tighten the caps. On examination, I found piles of shredded rubber all around.

“Fiddlesticks on lumpy labels, Janice. Look at this scuffed cap. The problem is your capper.

“Each of these tightening wheels has a clutch on it that should slip when proper cap torque is reached.” I explained. “Your wheels are slipping against the cap, not in the clutch. This causes shredding.”

Static cling was causing the shreds to stick to the plastic bottle. Voila! Lumpy labels.

“Here’s how to fix it.” I explained.

“First maintenance. Make sure that the side belts and the wheels are centered on the bottle and cap. Then watch the wheels. Properly set, you will see them pause on each cap as the clutch slips.”

Proper setup will eliminate the lumps and cap scuffing as well as improve cap torque consistency.

KC Boxbottom, packaging detective, is on the case to solve tough packaging puzzles. He is the alter-ego of John Henry, CPP. Known as the Changeover Wizard, Henry is the owner of, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He produces a free monthly newsletter called Lean Changeover, which contains articles and tips on changeover and related issues. Reach him at [email protected].

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