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mathews archery logo

Mathews Archery, 05/27/2020

Outdoor sports gear goes through a lot of wear and tear, under any number of conditions, and expectations for quality and construction are high. What most outdoorsmen aren’t as worried about, though, is whether the logos on their gear stay in place. That’s the concern of the manufacturer—and it’s a big one. When it comes to highly engineered, precise pieces of equipment like compound bows, placement and durability of brand labeling is particularly challenging.

logo on bow
There are limited options for logo placement due to the design of the bows, and factors such as the vibration caused by operation and exposure to the elements present challenges for adhesive and material selection. When a leading bow manufacturer experienced ongoing issues with its domed logo decals dislodging during use, it sought a solution that would keep their name right in front of their customer’s faces—literally.

logo on bow
Moving the branded decal was not an option, so Empire set out to test a variety of material and adhesive combinations to find one better suited to the world of archery. Application testing was done, putting various labels through the paces of actual bow operation. Adhesive testing identified the best alternative, and both Empire and the customer had a high level of confidence following the review of the data.

Since implementing the new domed logo application, the company hasn’t reported any instances of adhesive failure, giving them peace of mind that their brand visibility will remain intact.

Sporting Goods and Leisure Markets: Mathews Archery (PDF)

ergodyne logo

Ergodyne, 05/20/2020

One of Empire’s customers, a leader in the development of workplace safety and protective gear, sells an innovative line of tethering rigs designed to prevent dropped objects on the worksite. Each rigging system is specially designed for the size, shape and weight of the tools it is designed to secure. Use the wrong tether, and the integrity of the rigging could be compromised. Several of the rigging solutions employ a bracket, which is attached to a power tool or other piece of equipment using a nut, a washer and an identifying tag/label.

woman with hardhat
The label is rigid and includes a product number, safety warnings and weight capacity specs. The information it provides is critical to the safety of the rigging solution and its rigid construction maintains durability. Problems arose, however, because the labels were actually too rigid, and began to warp and wrinkle, making it difficult to read the safety information.

tool with tag
Empire met with engineers at the company and inspected the damaged labels to determine the root of the problem. Empire then evaluated several materials for stability and durability, as well as for compliance with evolving health and safety standards. The team produced samples for testing and after rigorous evaluation to ensure they would maintain their form and function, the customer approved the new label, which is now the standard for this expanding line of safety gear.

Power Tools Market: Ergodyne (PDF)



Labels as high-tech consumer engagement tools? Yes. It’s a thing. Product labeling has featured barcodes, QR codes, and the like for some time now, allowing customers to use smart phone apps to access added information. But as technology advances, how much further can a label go? One leading fitness equipment manufacturer decided to put that question to the test. A single strength training machine might give a gym-goer three or four different exercise options, but there’s only so much room on the steel framing to display instructional graphics.

This customer had been using polycarbonate decals surface printed with 3-D barcodes to make it easy for a smartphone user to scan and link to a demo video or track their workout using the company’s app. Recognizing the emergence of RFID-compatible smart devices, the manufacturer also wanted to incorporate RFID tags to leverage the added convenience of this “near field” technology that directly links up access to tracking capabilities or instructional YouTube videos without the extra step of physically scanning.

exercise machine

Easy enough, right? It turns out not all of the manufacturer’s label suppliers practiced disciplined quality control. Since all of the components of this solution had to match up in order for the technology to work, if the wrong RFID tag was attached to a printed label or the wrong barcode was programmed to a specific exercise, the end user would get none of the value, the gym owner would get a lot of complaints, and the manufacturer could lose business. Empire’s commitment to collaboration, problem solving, and exacting quality standards were the key to making this combination of printed labels and emerging technology successful.

rfid tags
Empire assigned a dedicated employee to production of the labels for this customer to ensure consistency, and we built multiple redundancies into the process to eliminate errors. Team members from sales and production worked hand-in-hand with the customer to address all of their concerns. Fitness fanatics are famously demanding and frequently early adopters of technology to improve their performance. Keeping this audience happy is the lifeblood of the manufacturer. Working with Empire gives them peace of mind and allows them to continue to innovate without worries about the quality and consistency of the instructional information they provide to their users.

Sporting Goods and Leisure Markets (PDF)

ITW logo

Hobart/ITW-GSE, 05/11/2020

Time is money on the production line. At its Palmetto, Florida facility, industrial giant ITW-GSE produces generators and pre-conditioned air units that supply clean, reliable, and cost-efficient ground support to aviation customers in more than 100 countries worldwide. These power units require more than 20 labels, all of which had typically been sourced and stocked on individual rolls. Twenty-plus labels then had to be counted out for each unit in the parts department where they were kept in inventory and applied at various stages of the production process. If the count was off? Back to the parts department for more. That’s a lot of time and effort—and a lot of room for error.

woman with hardhat
With productivity improvement and quality assurance top of mind, Empire presented all the labels laid out in a “gang application” on a single sheet to company management, who were impressed with the ingenuity and creative thinking the Empire team employed. In less than a month, the new multi-label sheet was delivered to the customer site, freeing up inventory space and effectively creating a new QC process: if there was still a label on the sheet at the end of the line, something was missed along the way.

tool with tag
This new application eliminated nearly two dozen SKUs in inventory and the time previously required to count out the individual labels for each production item, resulting in significant improvements in productivity without sacrificing quality or durability. Following the successful rollout of the gang application on one generator line, ITW-GSE was so pleased with the results that they implemented the solution on eight other products.

Power Tools Market: Hobard/ITW-GSE (PDF)

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