Issue: Jun 2011


ATL’s Kestrel Measuring Microscope is a ‘Vision’ of Quality



by Ronald Charles

ATL, formerly known as Ad Tape & Label Company, was established in 1951 as a small, family owned printer in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, USA. Manufacturing its products from table top presses, the company was named after its original product line of advertising tape. In 1963, ATL incorporated and was officially recognized as Ad Tape & Label Company, Inc. focusing on the production of labels for the industrial and direct mail markets. Following the sale of the company to an employee in 1987, ATL continued to expand its markets and product lines, specializing in producing customized labels for industries' largest printers and direct mail companies.

Twenty years ago, ATL formed a second division where the focus shifted to servicing the medical industry by converting foams and tapes into disposable medical devices. The company developed a relationship with 3M and became one of fourteen "3M Medical Preferred Converters" in the United States. ATL’s ability to achieve and surpass the strict quality standards required by the medical industry led to a natural transition into the pharmaceutical industry in 2001, when the company developed an in-line booklet label from 3 to 19 pages. Since then, ATL has manufactured more than 120 million pharmaceutical booklet labels in over 80 languages, for more than 1700 clinical trials.

In 2003, ATL earned its cGMP (current good manufacturing practice) acceptance as a result of strict compliance to 21 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 820, for the manufacture, packaging, and storage of disposable medical devices. In 2007 ATL became a “private brand” manufacturer of medical devices and began direct shipment from its Wisconsin plant to stores/ distribution centers world-wide. ATL also follows cGMP 21 CFR Parts 210 and 211 for the manufacturing, processing, and packaging (for all pharmaceutical label manufacturing).

ATL Security Label Systems™, was established in 2007 to provide an advanced new line of labels, offering security and anti-counterfeiting features, including invisible digital forensic marking, track and trace, mass serialization, custom codes, 2D barcodes, color shifting authentication, covert “machine readable” markers, and anti-microbial labels and packaging.

The nature of the customers served by ATL means that the quality of the company’s output is of paramount importance. In addition to the strict adherence to approved organizational and procedural regulations, ATL’s products undergo rigorous quality checks at each stage of design and production. To help maintain the company’s proud reputation for the excellence of its products, regular investments are made in state-of-the-art inspection equipment. This commitment to upholding the company’s high quality standards can be illustrated by the recent purchase of an advanced Kestrel 200, optical measuring microscope from Vision Engineering.

ATL Quality Manager Greg Gilanyi explained. “Although we were previously able to adequately measure die cuts and spacing, along with the location of prints with our existing technology, we felt that this was an area for potential upgrading.”

“Having researched the alternative optical measuring microscopes (and had demonstrations of the most applicable units), we chose Vision Engineering's Kestrel 200. Our new Vision Engineering microscope delivers fast and accurate 2-axis measurements aiding our precision and speed of operation. Also, the very sharp, high-contrast images provided by the Kestrel’s advanced optics enable our staff to examine work in greater detail. The superior optical image of the unit even allows difficult-to-view features to be measured on low contrast items, such as black or transparent labels.”


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