PR: ALTANA Acquires Pioneering Label and Packaging Technologies

  • Acquisition of a technology portfolio and innovation team from U.S. based NuLabel Technologies, Inc.
  • NuLabel develops engineering and material science solutions to improve packaging design while using significantly less material

The specialty chemicals Group ALTANA has acquired a technology portfolio and research and development platform from U.S. based NuLabel Technologies, Inc. It comprises innovative technologies for additive manufacturing of sustainable decoration solutions as well as novel technology for resealable packaging. The environmentally friendly technologies allow for unique packaging design that uses considerably lower quantities of consumable materials. The acquired technologies will be integrated into ALTANA’s ACTEGA North America division, where they are to be developed to market maturity. ALTANA also takes over an interdisciplinary team of researchers. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

“We are very pleased to have found a new owner in ALTANA who is in a position to integrate our innovation pipeline into its core business and to bring it to market readiness,“ said Benjamin Lux, President of NuLabel Technologies, Inc. “We know that our innovation team and our technology solutions are in the best of hands with ACTEGA, a company that has long-standing experience as a leader of new and sustainable technologies for the packaging industry.“ Mr. Lux will join the ACTEGA North America team and industry veteran Harold Schofield will continue leading NuLabel as interim CEO.

“NuLabel’s innovation team, intellectual property, and projects are an ideal addition to our growing portfolio,“ stated Mark Westwell, President and CEO of ACTEGA North America. “They have the potential to provide new growth opportunities to our customers in the packaging industry, and, at the same time, to make an important contribution to sustainability.“


PR: New Linerfree Print and Apply Benefits Shippers and Environment

Press Release-FOX IV Technology


EXPORT, PA — February 10, 2017. FOX IV Technologies NEW N6954 LinerFree Print and Apply system is a revolutionary breakthrough in linerfree print and apply design.  With ZERO liner and ribbon waste, it is an environmentally friendly labeling system that is also easy to use and maintain.

What makes the N6954 LinerFree different from other linerless labeling systems is the unique Catalyst™ adhesive technology from NuLabel Technologies.  The Catalyst system utilizes label stock with a special dry adhesive that is activated after the label is printed and cut to size.  This eliminates sticky adhesive from traveling through the printer applicator, clinging to rollers, the cutter, and the print head, that can lead to maintenance headaches.  The dry adhesive is activated using a water-based solution that is sprayed onto the cut label, just prior to automatic application.  Additionally, because other linerless stocks must be top-coated with a release agent to prevent the stock sticking to itself, the Catalyst label stock, including the activation solution, is less expensive than traditional linerless label stocks as well as standard pressure sensitive labels.

While the N6954 is compact in size, it is big on functionality.  The system is capable of holding a 13.75″ roll of Catalyst label stock, which equates to a quantity of 6200 4″ x 6″ labels, approximately 2400 more labels than a standard 14″ roll of pressure sensitive labels.  It features an Allen-Bradley Micrologix PLC for simple integration into production lines.  The PLC makes integrating into WCS seamless, allowing information to be pulled directly from the N6954’s PLC through an Ethernet IP for remote monitoring and data collection. With bi-directional communication through an addressable Ethernet I/O, the need for a discreet I/O package is eliminated.   Customer specific PLC tags can be written and mapped as data outputs.  Additionally, the N6954 can be operated with a PC as a stand-alone labeling system. 

Operator friendly features include a modular print engine for ease of maintenance and a full color, 4.3″ diagonal display. The display is easily visible with intuitive controls, graphical displays for operating function, and warnings/fault indicators.  The simple label path diagram is screened directly onto the N6954’s center wall to make roll changeovers fast and efficient.

Companies will see several benefits from using the FOX IV N6954.  Because there are more labels per roll than traditional pressure sensitive labels, roll changeovers are minimized and production time is maximized .  It is estimated that for every 1 million 4″ x 6″ liner-free labels applied, approximately 196 roll changes are eliminated.  Also, downtime and maintenance time are reduced since the rollers are no longer exposed to adhesive which can cause pre-mature wear on parts.  The environmental impact is also a key benefit.  With the removal of the label liner, thousands of pounds of liner waste per year are removed from the waste stream and disposal time is non-existent.

One of the largest benefits is the cost of the label itself.  By removing the cost of the label liner and any top-coating costs seen with other linerless labels, the label cost is actually reduced.  Companies can expect to see up to a 30% savings in label costs over traditional pressure sensitive labels while becoming more environmentally friendly.

The FOX IV N6954 Linerfree Print and Apply with Catalyst™ technology is ideal for case and carton labeling in shipping, distribution, warehousing and logistics applications.

Interested parties can see live demonstrations of the N6954 at FOX IV’s  ProMat Booth #S-4204.

FOX IV Technologies, Inc., has been an innovator in the automated labeling and coding industry for over 30 years.  They offer a full line of label printers and applicators, ribbons, labels, enclosures, printing supplies and services, material handling equipment and software solutions in order to provide fully integrated turnkey automated identification systems.  The company integrates more than 25 tabletop printers and OEM print modules into rugged label printer applicators capable of operating 24/7 in a wide variety manufacturing environments.  Known internationally for innovative designs, quality construction and customized solutions, FOX IV is located approximately 20 miles east of Pittsburgh, PA.  

NuLabel Technologies was founded in 2009 in response to the challenge of creating an environmentally responsible labeling solution.  Since then, their team of polymer chemists, chemical engineers, researchers, and technicians have pioneered the field of activatable chemistries for the packaging industry. NuLabel currently offers liner-free labeling solutions for both primary and secondary labeling applications.  NuLabel Technologies is located in East Providence, Rhode Island.

Owning what you do

Owning what you do

In most companies there is a very clear delineation between owner, employee, and customer.  Most owners set up a structure so they can make all the decisions, takes all the risk, and reaps all the rewards of the success.  Employees do specific tasks asked of them by the owner, and if the company is lucky, it’ll make a successful product.  Customers tend to exist as names in a database and are useful for one thing:  converting a product into $$$ for the company.

At a company like ours, this hierarchy tends to have a different shape.  The distinction between owner, executive, employee, and customer tends to be much more fluid, in part because there is so much work to do, but mostly because to be successful everyone needs to roll up their sleeves and get deep into the details of the project at hand.  Customers become partners, executives roll up their sleeves and get involved, and employees own what they do.

One thing that is great about working at NuLabel is witnessing employees take ownership of what they are working on.  This takes many forms but can be seen when people go above and beyond what they’re expected to do.  When employees own what they do, they are willing to put in extra effort to make sure they are successful and the team is successful.  A team that owns a project collectively can get amazing things done. 

For most of us, working at NuLabel is more than punching in a day’s work and getting a paycheck.  It’s about passionately pursuing a challenge and bringing something to market that hasn’t been there before.  The process of creation can be exciting.  Owning that process can be downright thrilling.

Karl Stuen, Ph.D., Laboratory Manager

100 Bundles of Beach Grass

100 Bundles of Beach Grass

I grew up in Hull, Massachusetts, on Nantasket Beach. I was a beach bum when I was five, and I still am (but now with a full time job). Yesterday was Hull’s annual dune reinforcement day, where like-minded individuals across the town turn out to punch holes in the beach and dunes to plant nascent beach grass, so that it will take root and protect roads and homes from erosion and flooding. Every winter I notice more erosion on the dunes due to rising sea levels and powerful coastal storms.  There were hundreds of people up and down the beach doing this work today, and between my mother, my brother, and I we easily exceeded 100 tiny bundles of planted beach grass. This gave me an opportunity to reflect on the significant impact of large groups of people doing small things to help the environment, and their fellow man. Whenever my wife leaves the beach, she leaves with a piece of detritus that isn’t supposed to be there. As an Electrical Engineer, I always select a more efficient design choice when I have the option to – it can sometimes be more expensive up front, but it will pay for itself in lower power consumption down the road. We supplanted K-cups in the office with elephant-sized bags of organic, free-trade coffee beans and a reusable French press.  Nikolai drives a Prius.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you look at the big picture. The earth is heating, the oceans are becoming more acidified, what can one person do? I’m prone to bouts of fatalism after watching episodes of Vice News. But on days like today, with the dunes holding strong after Hurricane Sandy and dozens of “Nor’ Eastahs,” I’m reminded that if everyone simply does what they can, even if it’s just inside of their own daily orbit, we can have a positive impact.

This is a big part of the reason I came to work at NuLabel. If we can remove PSA liner from the waste stream, eliminate the gas and environmental costs of transporting it in and out, and reduce the amount of natural resources needed to create labels, this can also have a massively beneficial impact. With Brazil’s government in turmoil, who is watching the Amazon for deforestation? I’m not sure, but I can certainly tell you that as linerfree labeling spreads through the logistics industry, they won’t be leveling it to make more release liner. If we can increase efficiency and decrease cleaning time on automated labeling machines, a plant could stand to save hundreds of gallons of water, money, and a whole lot of energy. One small thing, replicated hundreds – thousands – millions of times can drive quality change with consequences far beyond what you can immediately see.

So rinse out your yogurt container and put it in the recycle bin. Reuse that packaging material next time you ship something out. Bring that empty bottle back from the park. Don’t be afraid to do the thing that feels small and insignificant. And tell your friends, family, and co-workers what you’re up to, because if everyone else does it too, the impact can be enormous.

Juris Grauds, Sr. Electrical Engineer


Ever wonder what ever happened to wondering?

Ever wonder what ever happened to wondering?

What was Willie Mays’s lifetime batting average? How many Oscar nominations does Leonardo DiCaprio have? When and where was Albert Einstein born? If you knew the answer to all three questions, congratulations, you just won NuLabel trivia hour! If not, you won’t have to wonder long. A quick google search will tell you what you need to know. 

I chose these three questions because they were the last searches in my Google history. It made me wonder first, what normal person would have the need to know the answer to a Willie Mays question and Einstein question in a matter of five minutes, and second, what would I do if I didn’t have the power of the internet to answer my questions.

The first answer seems simple enough, the growing up in the Information Age has created a setting in which I no longer have to wonder about anything. If I get into an argument with a friend about when and where something happened, the conversation will be short lived. One of us will pull out our phones in the first minute or two, to find out who is right and wrong.

Although I could never see myself making the switch back to a regular flip phone (the March Madness Live app is just too good), I am envious of the people that aren’t constantly on their phone refreshing their Twitter feed or falling down the Wikipedia rabbit hole.  Having the ability to look up every question we have may temporarily quench our thirst for information; however, this leaves little room for the imagination. I rarely say the words “I wonder if….” without a phone or computer at the ready to answer my random thoughts throughout the day, and it is even more rare for me to get through a whole article that answers my questions before a new one (question) pops in my head that I need to answer, diverting my focus.   

This brings me to my second question above: what would I do if I couldn’t answer my questions in the first few seconds of wondering them? This points me to one of the things I most appreciate working for a startup company like NuLabel. It leaves me with questions that I’m not able to answer in the first few seconds of thinking them. Questions like “What is the next application for the technology,” “What markets will we be selling to in the future,” and “Where will this company be in five years” are all things that motivate me to find answers. It makes me wonder what the future is going to be like, and it’s refreshing to not have the ability to look up the answer. It makes the fast pace, relentless working style that you see around the office make sense. The idea and technology for changing the status quo is there. Now it is up to the team to see how far they can take it. This keeps you focused on the task at hand without another question popping in your head that needs to be figured out right away.

The feeling of not knowing in the Information Age seems rare, but it allows you to focus on that one place your brain is wondering to, instead of moving onto the next questions. So I challenge those that have the need for information like I do to finish a whole article before moving on to the next, and to put down their phones during their next argument. The conversation wouldn’t end after someone pulls out their phone to prove a point, but would allow us to ask bigger questions to further the discussion into something more meaningful. Instead of the question being what Willie Mays’s lifetime stats were, we would look at what baseball will be like 20 years from now. The wondering wouldn’t end with what we are doing now, but rather where we are going, both personally and professionally, and how we are going to get there.

Now I wonder if anyone reached the end of this post...

Brett Wedel, Sales Manager

Ahhh... March Madness Finally!

Ahhh... March Madness Finally!

For many of us at NuLabel the arrival of Easter, robins, and bunny rabbits have nothing on the true herald of spring….March Madness. Yes it is that time of the year again when college basketball gets its 5 minutes of fame (personally think they deserve more), and every office lunch room is abuzz with talk of who will win this year. Monopoly money is being put into office pools, and every computer is turned to CBS, TBS, and ESPN8 the Ocho.

I think a lot can be taken from these games besides the over indulgence of beer and nachos. What does it take to become the winner of Big Dance? Since 1985, when the NCAA Tournament expended to 64 teams, 62% of the winners have been number 1 seeds.  To me that is a pretty low number, that means that the best of the best fail 38% of the time in the most important outing in a college basketball season. Another fun fact, only 4 times since 1985 have all top 4 seeds in each region survived the first round. That means almost every year, at least 1 team of the top 25% loses their first game…ouch.  You can blame it on the difficulty of the schedules, or the more likely answer is that you do not have to be the best team to win the NCAA Tournament. Now I could go all cliché here and talk about how its focus, perseverance, defense, and grit that wins tourneys, and a big part of me thinks that’s true. But I think it is really a combination between talent, hard work, team chemistry, focus and a decent chunk of luck.

And there is another, more important question here. What does it take to win the NCAA tournament consistently? What does it take to be the Duke and Kentucky of this world? (Sorry UCLA fans, I know you have the most wins, but I am afraid you’ll have to win one in this millennium before you get any credit from me.) The true definition of success is not doing the incredibly difficult and even unlikely once but doing the incredibly difficult and even unlikely consistently. And that my friends is what a startup company is all about.

NuLabel is not a number 1 seeded company. We just don’t have the size. We have 22 people, all of us with multiple roles.  We overcame hurdles in the beginning rounds. We pulled off some truly stunning upsets and shocked a lot of people watching. Proving at places like PackExpo that the holy grail of activatable adhesives for packaging was not only possible but beneficial for end users. We may have cut down the net, but we haven’t won the championship yet. We are more focused and as determined as ever to get more of our products in the field and win the title for activatable adhesives.  Call us the No. 8 seed 1985 Villanova Wildcats who won the NCAA Tournament in arguably the biggest upset of college basketball history, taking down two No. 1 seeds on the way to winning the finals.

And the beauty of NCAA Tournament and working at a startup like NuLabel?

Well, that is easy. Next year will be a continuation of what was built on this year, and we will come back ready to compete and win all over again, maybe next time as a number one seed.

Nikolai Voicechovski, Production Chemist

YOLO: You Only Leap Once (in a while)

YOLO: You Only Leap Once (in a while)

Happy Leap Day! Every – well… almost every – four years, we add a day to the end of February to correct for a calendar that gets just slightly out of sync. The exact amount of time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun is somewhere between 365.24219 days and 365.25964 days. An extra day almost every four years brings us pretty close to a rolling average of 365.25 days per year. We Gregorian calendar users are not alone. Different calendars from different cultures each have their own way to account for this time drift (from adding leap months to other forms of intercalation).  The takeaway from my extensive research of leap years, leap months, leap days, and even leap seconds is that at no point will time ever divide itself evenly into our daily lives. To overcome time drift we need to recalibrate, and we need to capitalize on the time we have.

Take February 29th to recalibrate Your Time

If Pope Gregory XIII had not introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582, then Bing Crosby would be singing about an Indian Summer Christmas instead of a White Christmas – that’s how much we would have drifted if we lost the 108 leap days between 1582 and today. At NuLabel, in the commitments we make to our partners, customers, investors, and our team, we cannot just let time drift. We need to figure out the best way to account for inevitable, manageable time drift yet continually think what can be done to keep from drifting and what can be done to get back on track. We also cannot wait for almost every four years to leap back ahead of schedule. Let’s use this leap day as a reason to check in, reassess, and ask ourselves: Are we drifting? How do we keep from drifting? How do we get back on track when we start to drift? How often should we check-in to monitor time drifting? What can we be doing to leap ahead to pre-empt drifting? As a team, asking ourselves these questions in different groups and different formats is essential to being agile, accountable, and progressive. Always ask and always challenge how to better manage time and how to better manage resources.

YOLO – You Only Leap Once (in a while)

According to US Government estimates, I get 14 more leap years in my lifetime. Whether it is 14 or hopefully a few more, that’s a really small number to think about when you’re a – *cough* – millennial. Unlike IERS – the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service – which can add a leap second to our clocks with about six months’ notice, time for us is finite. And even though we’ve added 1.7 milliseconds to an Earth day over the past century (to account for slight slowing down in the Earth’s rotation), it certainly doesn’t seem to me like things are slowing down. In fact, we’re probably filling a couple extra hours of stuff in that 1.7 milliseconds – but is it always the best use of our time? At home and at work, we have to take advantage of every leap day and every leap second we get. What new skill could you be learning with this extra day? What daunting task that you kept pushing to the backburner can you slay today? What new questions could you ask, what chances could you take, and who else can you impact with this extra time?

When you get that extra second or the extra day, take the leap. Every time.

Max Winograd CEO & Co-Founder