Label maker modifies tried and true business form

Polka-disc labels, developed by Polka Dot Products Inc. and converted by Web Label, are designed for easy removability from diskettes.

Polka Dot Products Inc., Minneapolis, MN, has been working for nearly two years to develop a business product designed to end the waste and frustration of layering label upon label on computer diskettes.

The Polka-disc is a patent-pending label that has a polka dot pattern on the back side designed to facilitate easy removal. The adhesive dots are recessed on the label edge that aligns with the diskette edge so that users can begin removal by drawing a finger along the edge.

"From the very favorable response of people at the two convention shows we have attended, it is apparent to us that relabeling diskettes has been a perennial nuisance for many people," explains Bob Carney Jr., PDP president. "People reported labeling over earlier labels until diskettes would no longer fit in the disk drive."

The labels are converted for PDP by Web Label, a Minneapolis-based flexo printer. In the spirit of reducing waste, the firms worked together to keep the costs of producing the labels down.

"Initially, price was a factor," says Jeff Tobias, Web Label's president. "A label for a diskette or a video cartridge is very price-sensitive. With this unique design we tried to use as traditional a process and paper as possible."

First, the back of the liner is printed on a Webtron 650 six-color press. Then the liner and the Fasson dull litho facestock are separated, and the adhesive on the back of the facestock is deadened with colored ink in the polka dot pattern.

Following this step, the facestock and liner are remarried, after which the web is turned. When the facestock is finally printed, care must be taken to register this printing with the pattern on the back of the label. The finished label is then die-cut in-line, employing Rotometrics dies.

Inks for both the facestock and liner are supplied by Werneke. Web Label currently prints the back of the labels in five different colored polka dot patterns. The 6 1/2-in. web runs at a speed of about 80 fpm.

PDP will market the labels in two ways. Quantities of Polka-disc labels, manufactured by Web Label, are available to label manufacturers from PDP. The labels are packaged for retail and can be sold directly by these manufacturers to test market with each manufacturer's customers.

Second, label makers interested in manufacturing Polka-disc labels themselves can obtain a licensing contract from PDP. The licensing policy allows label manufacturers to produce the labels for sale in bulk, wholesale quantities at the cost of manufacturing plus a royalty payment.

PDP also plans to market the labels directly to retail outlets that feature computer accessories, stationery items, etc., and is approaching diskette manufacturers about the possibility of supplying their diskettes with the Polka-disc labels.

Carney hopes using multiple marketing channels will help establish these labels as the industry standard. According to his figures, this could save US diskette consumers $112 million/year. Though consumers will initially pay approximately 15 cents more for a box of 10 disks with Polka-disc labels, the ease of removal promotes diskette reuse, thus reducing the replacement cost.

Carney said he also hopes to market the product abroad, and said he has received inquiries from as far away as Singapore. He is currently testing the sixth generation of the label, which will fit 3.$-in. disks and VCR cartridges.


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