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RRD Facility Spotlight: RRD Labels – Milwaukee

photo of large screen press inside RRD Labels' Milwaukee production site

RRD Labels – Milwaukee is a 67,000-square-foot facility that not only produces industrial durable labels but houses a lab where new ideas turn into innovative, long-lasting solutions for the most fickle labels challenges.

Chris Olson, the facility’s Client Services Manager, set some time aside to share her insight into the value proposition that sets this production site apart from the rest.

What about RRD Labels – Milwaukee makes it unique in the current marketplace?

Chris Olson (CO): We run the gamut of labels manufacturing, but we have incredible expertise in industrial durables — especially those with a unique construction. This is one of only a few facilities that house both flexo and screen printing under one roof. And for faster delivery, we have a large on-demand inventory available with an option of pick-and-pack workstreams.

Another key feature of this facility is the on-site test lab, which plays a critical role in assessing a label’s resistance to abrasion, temperature extremes, moisture, chemicals, and aging, to name a few. 

If a label needs to be reworked or maybe something doesn’t pass a test, we have the luxury to address that on the premise, in-house versus sending the label out to an external testing facility. For our customers, this reduces project delays and also keeps costs down.

If you had to narrow it down to one, what do you consider the Milwaukee plant’s forte?

CO: Optimizing durable label performance is right up there, which is made possible by our working lab and technicians.

You know, surfaces can be tricky and we’re entrusted to meet a whole range of labels requirements, whether for safety, regulatory compliance, or just plain durability. So, if a customer comes to us having difficulty with their current label staying on a particular surface, our technicians are able to test and retest in the lab prior to the production run. 

This pre-production testing gives our customers confidence the proposed construction of their label will perform soundly for the life of the product.

Can you share a recent success story that showcases this capability?

CO: Two come to mind right away. For the first, a leading manufacturer of power generation equipment needed to solve a wrinkling issue on labels adhered to a battery pack product. We determined in the lab that because of expansion and contraction caused by extreme temperature fluctuations, the label material didn’t hold up properly. Together with the customer, we came up with a new, custom solution using a cast vinyl product that allowed the label to maintain its integrity under the same conditions.  

Another recent success story showcases our ability to turn on a dime — during the pandemic. Out of this facility, we recently produced hundreds of thousands of tamper-resistant labels for a nonprofit in New York City. They were using the labels to seal bags or close packages containing on-the-go meals for the needy at the outset of the pandemic. The label production timeline was just two to three days, with large, repeat orders arriving regularly.

When talking about the Milwaukee plant to an RRD associate or even a potential customer, what’s the one thing you find yourself repeating time and time again?

CO: We’ve been producing — and testing — for decades, and our quality assurance is second to none. This allows us to be extremely confident in the product quality coming out of Milwaukee and our customers continue to benefit from our commitment to quality.

We incorporate both PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) and APQP (Advanced Product Quality Planning) processes and work with each customer to understand and meet any specific quality controls and testing standards. We also follow UL969 testing protocol and validate print durability against the most extreme conditions using leading-edge technology and machinery.

For more information about RRD's labels capabilities, head here.