Final Touches: Embossing Braille at the End of the Printing Process

Reading braille

Final Touches: Embossing Braille at the End of the Printing Process

Roughly three percent of all the population is affected by some degree of sight loss. While that may not seem like a high percentage, it translates to approximately 2,000,000 people in the UK. Those individuals must find ways to cope with sight loss, and one of the primary methods of dealing with a partial or complete loss of sight is using Braille. 

However, anyone using Braille needs to have the embossing be clear and concise. To avoid embossing issues, manufacturers must determine the best stage of production to introduce that feature. For example, if packaging is embossed early in the process, it’s quite possible the embossing will be damaged at later stages, which would make reading it difficult or impossible.

Historically, many manufacturers elected to emboss cartons or other packaging at the cutting and creasing stage of packaging production, which increased the likelihood of damage to the symbols occurring at a later stage. Manufacturers were not always receptive to making changes to prevent that damage, as doing so was seen as creating additional costs.

With newer equipment, embossing is now completed near the end of the production process—generally during the folding and gluing stage. That means sight-impaired individuals will be able to read the embossed symbols properly, as there is little chance of damage occurring.

SBL Machinery is a leader in the industry and takes the needs of sight-impaired individuals seriously. That’s why the company’s newest models are designed to resolve the problems associated with adding Braille information to packaging. 

Why Braille Readers Need Clear and Exact Embossing

Sighted people often have a difficult time understanding how difficult it is for people with some degree of blindness to deal with common issues. Braille allows sight-impaired individuals to locate and effectively use information on packaging and other applications. 

Why is that important? One major issue facing anyone with a visual impairment is deciphering the instructions for taking pharmaceuticals. While the name of the drug and dosage requirements are printed on the drug packaging, that’s not helpful for anyone who can’t see the information. 

Of course, any time instructions are needed to use a product of any kind, sight-impaired individuals must have some way to obtain those instructions. That’s where Braille comes into play. Packaging information that includes Braille makes it far easier for blind or sight-impaired individuals to garner the instructions required to unpackage, assemble, and use a product properly. 

If any of the information is compromised during the manufacturing process or later, there is a potential for the Braille user to misinterpret the instructions. That could easily create situations where the product isn’t used correctly. In turn, the chances of an injury increase. 

How Manufacturers Respond to the Need for Braille Matters

Obviously, manufacturers are concerned with keeping overall costs as low as possible while still producing goods that meet end-consumer needs. That includes generating packaging that meets current regulations and, at the same time, allows all users to understand how products should be used. 

Drug packaging is the best-known example of the use of Braille for providing guidance to users, but Braille is also commonly used to provide information for consumers of cosmetics and a variety of other products. Even travel tickets routinely include the use of Braille to provide guidance for travellers. 

One of the issues facing manufacturers is the amount of information that can be included. Braille characters take space, which means the total amount of information that can easily be conveyed is limited. How that type of issue will be handled in the future remains to be seen, but the demand suggests companies will be forced to develop new strategies to deliver more information using Braille.

Reducing Manufacturing Costs Is Always Important

Industry experts generally agree that newer technology makes it easier to emboss Braille characters at the folding and gluing stage of production. That also means the total cost of production can be reduced. Older strategies that attempt to add the embossing at an earlier stage continue to experience quality control issues. 

When the embossing is done during the folding and gluing stage, rather than the die-cutting stage, manufacturers don’t need as many embossing tools, which cuts initial cost, reduces maintenance, and cuts replacement expenses. 

The newest technology allows other significant benefits for manufacturers. Again, the cost savings are significant when the embossing is delayed until the folding and gluing stage, and the quality of the Braille dots is enhanced. 

Arguably the most important benefit of embossing using the newest techniques is the significant height improvement in the dots that’s now possible. The higher dots make it far easier for end-users to read the information. Clear information reduces the chances of mistakes being made or a lack of understanding creating dangerous conditions for the user. 

Manufacturers reduce setup costs, as there are fewer components to install and adjust. The equipment used also requires less maintenance during production, which reduces downtime and enhances overall productivity. 

Users of modern equipment also enjoy lower labour costs, as fewer people are needed to set up, operate, and maintain the machinery. The immediate savings are obvious, and those savings multiply as time passes.

Package Designing Is More Flexible

When using one of SBL’s newest machines, it’s now easier to make more efficient use of the available space on product packaging. Remember the issue related to the size of Braille? When the embossing is delayed until the later stages of production, the Braille dots can be closer to the edges of the package. That means more information can be included without negatively impacting the look and feel of the packaging.

It’s also important to keep production moving as quickly as possible. With the newest packaging machinery, that increased amount of information won’t impact the speed of production. The increased amount of information won’t delay the process in any way.

Other Cost Savings Make Upgrading to New Equipment a Logical Step 

All new SBL models are designed to take less space than older equipment. That means older facilities can create more room to accommodate other equipment or storage. Companies moving to new quarters won’t be required to pay for as much space.

Durability has always been an issue with any type of equipment. High-quality equipment requires fewer repairs and, as a rule, will last far longer than poorer-quality rivals. Even if the initial expense is slightly higher than some competitors’ models, the long-term cost savings make it easy to justify that additional upfront cost. 

Low-maintenance components reduce the day-to-day expenses of manufacturers. Those savings are real and are easy to compare to older equipment that requires a significant amount of maintenance to remain operational. When downtime for routine maintenance is reduced or eliminated, production increases and overall efficiency improves. 

Being able to count on high production output is also crucial when deadlines are pending, and new jobs are waiting. Discuss any capacity issues with an SBL expert to ensure the correct type of equipment is purchased and any ancillary devices needed to achieve a company’s objectives are selected.

If maintenance costs have plagued your company in the past, it’s even more important to move forward with selecting and installing new machinery now. Given the need to provide Braille, especially for medication packaging, selecting equipment that’s specifically designed to accomplish that goal is important. When maintenance needs are reduced, lower labour costs offer an automatic savings, but there are other cost savings involved when maintenance requirements are reduced. 

Maintenance requires machines to be idle, and that cuts into the production capabilities of the manufacturer. It also encourages companies to defer maintenance to keep a line operational, but that strategy often proves costly later. 

Add That Extra Shift

New equipment, like SBL’s TS-1450W, SBL-107560SEFT, and SBL 1060SE, are designed for nearly constant use. That means, if increased production needs are present, the equipment can meet those needs.

New business means additional profits, and your company’s equipment must be able to meet those needs. Yes, packaging is a big part of delivering the products end-users need and demand. And, since Braille is now a requirement for some packaging and highly desirable for others, it pays to consider those needs. 

Take the First Step to Enhance Your Company’s Future

SBL’s machines are designed to meet your company’s current needs, but we’ve also planned for the future. And, that includes dealing with the needs of sight-impaired individuals. Including information in Braille is already required for some products, and the odds are good that the requirement may be expanded to other product lines in the future. 

When that happens, your SBL equipment will be able to handle the challenge. If you’re currently exploring options that will allow your company to move forward and increase net profits, now is the time to contact the SBL team for more information.

SBL provides the engineering expertise needed to ensure every client has the best equipment needed to meet their objectives. In addition, the company is always ready to provide support after your new equipment is installed. For an evaluation of your company’s needs, contact the team to get started today.

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