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Closure Capsules Can Be Customized
FRANCE—Sofacap, a sub. of the French co. Janson Industrie, reports that its closure capsules for wines and spirits meet all specialized needs of wine merchants, contract bottlers, and wine growers, providing customization capabilities and an extensive range of materials. The capsules are made from extruded PVC, seamed PVC, aluminum, or polylamination.

The Sofacap product line offers choices in two categories: heat-shrinkable capsules and metallic capsules. Heat-shrinkable products include extruded PVC capsules, extruded PVC capsules with stoppers, and seamed PVC capsules. In the metallic capsule product range, customers can opt for heavy polylaminated capsules, standard polylaminated capsules, or aluminum capsules.

The extruded PVC capsules are seamless and said to be suitable for all types of bottles, especially those with special profiles. The polylaminated capsules (PE sandwiched between two layers of aluminum) are often used for premium wines. At the design level, Sofacap gives customers many options, including variable thickness, appearance similar to tin, and gold hot-stamping on the cap's skirt and top.

A personalized finish is ensured by Sofacap's printing capabilities. Choices include heliogravure printing, embossing, colored relief, dry incising, hot gilding, metallizing of any color, flexible plate engraving, and pad printing.

With four manufacturing units, the company is capable of producing 1.3 billion capsules per year.

Dunsirn Adds Small Roll Coating Capability
NEENAH, WI, USA—Dunsirn Industries Neenah facility now has a sheeter that accelerates to a web speed of 2,200 fpm, converting a large range of glassine, paper, and paperboard stocks, including specialty stocks such as extensibles and creped stocks.

Said to be perfect for the digital print market, the automated machine produces rolls with outside diameters of 18 in. or less, up to a maximum rewind core of 6 in. It features a minimum slit of 2 in. and a maximum roll width of 60 in.

Wisconsin Label and Superior Label Merge
ALGOMA, WI & MASON, OH, USA— Wisconsin Label Group (WLG) and Superior Label Systems (SLS) have announced an agreement to merge the companies.

The combined company, which will be called W/S Packaging Group Inc., reportedly will be one of the top five label companies in the US. It will have 15 manufacturing locations and more than 60 sales offices throughout North America, with more than 1,100 employees. Annual sales are expected to be in excess of $150 million.

Terry Fulwiler, CEO of WLG, will serve as chairman of W/S Packaging Group; SLS CEO Ken Kidd will be CEO.

RFID-Based System Tracks and Delivers Baggage
LONDON, U.K.—One of the many hassles that travelers face may one day be a thing of the past. Baggage Direct, a service that uses smart labels to track and route passengers' luggage from the airport to their hotel, home, or office, has taken off at London's Heathrow Airport.

Developed by systems integrator KTP Ltd., using Texas Instruments' Tag-It 13.56MHz smart label technology, Baggage Direct is said to be the world's first RFID (radio frequency identification) smart label tracking and delivery service using "truly disposable" tags.

Baggage Direct, a new sub. formed by British Airport Authority, was launched with the backing of major partners United Airlines, Forte Hotels, and Lynx Express delivery services. The service guarantees delivery to major London hotels within three hours, and passengers can use the Internet to check on the whereabouts of their luggage at every stage and to verify final delivery.

Baggage Direct plans to equip top London hotels with RFID readers that automatically will trigger a text message to the passenger's mobile phone via the Internet reporting that the baggage has safely arrived at the hotel.

The RFID system was developed by KTP Ltd., an integrator of RFID and bar code systems, and CMS, a specialist in software and Internet facilities for the courier delivery business. KTP pioneered the concept using TI's Tag-It 13.56MHz smart label tags for this baggage tracking application and has developed the hardware, including special luggage tunnel readers that automatically identify the luggage at each stage.

CMS was responsible for the software system that also allows passengers to track the progress and verify delivery of their luggage to the hotel via the Internet.

Every morning more than 21,000 passengers go through Heathrow before 8 a.m. Many travel to London with baggage and often cannot check in until later in the day.

At the Heathrow Baggage Direct booth, the operator programs a self-adhesive smart label using a special read/write pad with an encrypted code that identifies the passengers details, origin, and destination along with baggage weight on the main computer system. The flexible label incorporates a read/write Tag-It RFID transponder and is printed with bar code and human-readable text. Each tagged piece of luggage is placed on a trolley, and strategically located readers automatically track its progress through the airport and onto the fast Heathrow Express rail-link to central London, where it is passed to Lynx's Red Star delivery service and couriered to its destination.

The various label readers automatically track progress at each stage and report this to the central computer, which makes the data available to passengers via the Internet. The smart labels are bar coded to be compatible with Lynx's current delivery systems.

Baggage Direct intends to extend the service to all terminals at Heathrow as well as to other U.K. airports, and eventually, internationally.

Ribbon/Film Makes a Durable Combination
MT. PLEASANT, PA, USA—Sony Chemicals Corp. of America announces that the Signature Series and TR Series wax/resin and resin thermal transfer ribbons are ideal for printing bar codes and other variable information on Van Leer's coated and uncoated Valeron PE films for outdoor applications.

The TR4075 resin ribbon is rated for three years of outdoor weathering on both uncoated and coated Valeron film. Several other Sony ribbon and Van Leer film combinations reportedly withstood one year of outdoor exposure without fading and still provided quality scans.

According to Sony, the combination is suitable for applications such as medical labels, luggage tags, steel and wire tags, warning tags, and lumber labels. Colored Valeron film is available for hunting and boat licensing. For sporting applications, TR4075 demonstrates excellent resistance to boat wax and deer blood on red Valeron film.

Raflatac Now Full Owner of Australian Joint Venture
HELSINKI, FINLAND—UPM-Kymenne Raflatac has signed a letter of intent with Australian Consolidated Paper Industries Group (CPI) to acquire full ownership of the joint venture operations in Australia.

According to the plan, Raflatac will acquire 100% ownership of Raflatac Oceania Pty. Ltd. The acquisition includes the operations of the factory in Melbourne and the slitting terminal in Sydney. The turnover of Raflatac Oceania Pty. Ltd. in 1999 was AUD 36 million, and the company has about 60 employees. The joint venture agreement (with share holding divided 50-50 between Raflatac and CPI) was signed in 1998. By giving up ownership, CPI Group will concentrate on its core business.

Survey Targets Specialty Adhesive Tapes
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS—The industrial self-adhesive tapes market in Europe is covered in a new market research study from AWA Alexander Watson Associates. It focuses on single- and double-coated tapes that employ a release liner: papers, films, foams, nonwovens, and textiles. The study offers market data, an overview of industry developments, as well as profiles on more than 20 leading companies.

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