For my Photo Essay i chose to capture the story of how a label is made. I was talking with local resident Steven Easterday, who works at Modtek: Labeling and Printing, in Pennsauken NJ. He says a lot more goes on behind the scenes than just laying ink down on paper. He explained all the steps you need to take before you even start running the machine. First you have to make sure your roll and paper are centered in the press. Then you have to take the plates that have the images in them, and match them all up. This way when you run, all the images needed to make the final image are perfectly overlapped and not a jumbled mess. After that, you have to make sure all the necessary heating elements are on, so your ink dries properly before reaching the end roll. Once you’ve completed these steps, you can now turn on the Press and start running.
Steven Then went on to inform me that even though you’ve done a lot of preparation, you can’t just sit back and watch the machine run, that is only half the battle. Now you have to keep up with your work and maintain the machine. You have to make sure that the inks are drying at the speed at which you are running. It is also crucial to make you sure you do not run out of ink, or let it sit too long and clump up. Spraying the rollers with silicon so labels don’t peel up and cause a wrap up around one of the rollers is also super important. You have to keep all this going while watching the status of the label too, making sure colors stay qualified and registration stays in place. Meaning that the images are all suppose to be on the label, and not moving around, because even a sixteenth of an inch can make all the difference. Once you finish running the job and you are done with your copy of labels, you send it over to the rewinding station where it gets one step closer to being sent to the customer.