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Project Reports | News around the topics of labeling and
Marking | Product innovations and novelties

Alpecin now runs on b+b labeling machines

The family-run cosmetics company Dr. Kurt Wolff - manufacturer of well-known shampoo brands such as Alpecin and Plantur - relies on b+b Automations- und Steuerungstechnik GmbH as a reliable partner for innovative and high-performance customized labeling technology.

Dr. Kurt Wolff – a research-based and innovative cosmetics company – specializes in products to solve hair, skin and dental problems. The Dr. Wolff Group, headquartered in Bielefeld, Germany, was founded in 1905 and employs 800 people. The Dr. Wolff Group consists of two companies: Dr. Kurt Wolff (cosmetic division) and Dr. August Wolff (medical division). Their main customers in the cosmetic sector include pharmacies, food retailers, drugstores and hairstylists. The cosmetic manufacturer operates a total of ten production lines in two-shift operation - further lines are planned.

Shampoos, creams and hair colors comprise the cosmetics manufacturer's product range. Plantur, Linola and Alpecin. Many other well-known brands come from the house of Dr. Wolff. On average, the group of companies produces 300,000 products per day in the cosmetics division - and the trend is rising.

During the search for a suitable special machine manufacturer, the cosmetics manufacturer became aware of the company b+b Automations- und Steuerungstechnik. A short delivery time despite special solution, the feasibility of special requirements, a good price-performance ratio and an open and reliable communication convinced the cosmetics manufacturer.

For the labeling of different cosmetic PET and HDPE bottles, which will be produced from 50% recyclate in the future, the company Dr. Kurt Wolff decided for a special machine from b+b - especially developed for their requirements. The special machine FM-RB120cosmetic for labeling cosmetic bottles is made up of various components. The basis of the fully automatic labeling solution is the FM-RB 120 model series labeler with the Rapid 150 RSL label dispenser. The basic model was developed for labeling bottles on both sides. This was expanded to implement customer requirements.

One of the special features of the FM-RB120cosmetic labeler is the deformer for removing products from transport pucks and feeding them to the infeed of the labeler. Transport pucks are frequently used in the cosmetics industry. They guarantee high process reliability during filling, transport and sealing of the products. They are a hindrance in the labeling and packaging process because they usually cover the labeling area or make it difficult to rotate the product during wrap-around labeling.

Die Formatschnecke vereinzelt die Flaschen und sorgt für einen gleichmäßigen Abstand der Produkte.
The format screw separates the bottles and ensures that the products are evenly spaced.

Before the products reach the labeling station, they are separated by a format screw and brought into the correct position via an alignment station. A bottle level control checks the level and position of the bottle. This ensures precise labeling of the cosmetic products. Particularly in the cosmetics industry, the visual appearance of the packaging is decisive for purchasing and accurate labeling is therefore especially important.

Formflaschen werden optisch auf Position und Stand überprüft
The level and position of the bottles are visually checked before the labeling process.

The labeling station with rotary conveyer belt allows cylindrical bottles to be labeled all around. The labels are applied precisely around the circumference of the product. The rotary belt also allows longer labels to be applied without spiral offset. This meets the cosmetics manufacturer's high demands for labeling quality even at high labeling speeds. Up to 120 large-format bottles can be labeled per minute.

Formflaschen werden etikettiert
Labeling process of up to 120 bottles per minute

Labeling on both sides of the molded bottles and on the bottle top takes place in a throughput. Since the Alpecin bottles are special-shaped bottles, the labeler is also equipped with a press-on station. This was specially developed for Alpecin bottles. Here, the labels are pressed onto the product in 3 stages, one after the other, in one station. This ensures that the label is pressed on to both sides of the bottle without any bubbles, with a high degree of repeatability and very low, predefined tolerances. In order to reduce downtimes and operating costs, only robust components were selected for the pressing station - the cosmetics manufacturer paid particular attention to this.

Alpecin-Flasche wird etikettiert
A special press-on station was developed for the special shape of the Alpecin bottles.

Variable data can be applied to the labels using a hot stamping device. A camera system checks label presence and label location. If the label, the label position or the imprint is identified as NOK, the product is rejected. In this way, only GUT products enter the further production process. Reliable and early jam detection at the infeed and outfeed of the line ensures a smooth production process.

Etikett wird maschinell auf die richtige Position geprüft
Optical inspection of the label position with sorting out of faulty labels

The cosmetics manufacturer sees added value in the high product diversity of the labeling system. A high number of different bottle formats and sizes can be labeled with the labeling system. Thanks to a tool-free format changeover, the labeling machine can be quickly and easily converted to other product formats. Feedback from the cosmetics manufacturer's production department on the new system has been positive throughout. The labeling system is characterized by intuitive operation and good accessibility for machine maintenance. Integration into the existing line went flawlessly.

The cosmetics company's labeling process now runs on modern, fully automated systems. The company benefits from higher output and an increase in quality, which can be seen, for example, in a lower spiral offset at high speeds.

The cosmetics company rates the experience with b+b from the quotation to the commissioning on site as very positive - nothing stands in the way of a long-term cooperation. Dr. Kurt Wolff sees b+b as a "firm partner for all labeling tasks" - another labeling machine from b+b has already been ordered.


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