Packaging Corner: Adding label holders to bins, totes supports 5S/lean initiatives

A variety of labeling solutions can reduce labor and materials costs.

By ·

Reusable plastic bins and totes store and organize inventory in virtually every industry. Used by manufacturers and distributors to support 5S (sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain) and lean initiatives, virtually all of these bins and totes are marked with a label. That label is commonly an adhesive-backed paper sticker bearing text information and bar codes for scanning.

But, what happens to the label when it’s time to reuse those plastic bins and totes? It’s often peeled off…mostly.

“Removing old, sticky labels is costly, time consuming, and frequently leaves an ugly residue on the surface of the bin or tote,” explains Jim Rastetter, vice president of sales for Aigner Label Holder.

However, it’s important to get the old label off entirely. That’s because a buildup of multiple labels—or an uneven surface protruding behind a new label—might make bar code scanning difficult.

Those concerns can prompt companies to dedicate a surprising amount of time and labor to label removal, Rastetter says. Because of that, Aigner developed two different types of clear plastic label holders that work directly with bins and totes.

The Bin-Buddy clear plastic sleeve has a self-adhesive back that can be applied to plastic containers that lack pre-molded label slots. The Tri-Dex heavy-duty, clear PVC plastic label holders snap into the standard sized, pre-molded label slots of any major bin or tote manufacturer. A tri-fold construction holds the label in place.

With both systems, changing the label is as simple as pulling the old one out and sliding the new one in its place. Pre-perforated paper inserts that are laser and ink jet printer compatible are included. And, because the label inserts are adhesive-free paper, any color stock can be used for color-coding and organization, Rastetter adds.

“The label holders and inserts provide a 50% cost savings in materials as well as 65% in labor savings by eliminating application and removal self-adhesive labels and their remaining residue,” he says.

Additionally, the label holders ensure that the labels sit straight. “It can be tough to orient an adhesive label perfectly straight, over and over, when applied by hand,” Rastetter says. “These products generate the neat, orderly appearance that is particularly important to facilities following 5S and lean practices.”

About the Author

Sara Pearson Specter
Sara Pearson Specter has written articles and supplements for Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News as an Editor at Large since 2001. Specter has worked in the fields of graphic design, advertising, marketing, and public relations for nearly 20 years, with a special emphasis on helping business-to-business industrial and manufacturing companies. She owns her own marketing communications firm, Sara Specter, Marketing Mercenary LLC. Clients include companies in a diverse range of fields, including materials handing equipment, systems and packaging, professional and financial services, regional economic development and higher education. Specter graduated from Centre College in Danville, Ky. with a bachelor’s degree in French and history. She lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley where she and her husband are in the process of establishing a vineyard and winery.

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