At Total Quality Labels shrink sleeve jobs only take 2 instead of 24 hours

No more costly trial & error for Total Quality Labels. Since the company works with Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves it streamlined its entire shrink sleeve production.


Company size
10 – 49 employees

Annual turnover
$1 - $4.9 Mil

label & packaging manufacturer

Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves

The customer

Exceeding customer’s quality expectations

Located in Dallas, Total Quality Labels, Inc. supplies premium heat shrinkable film products – such as full body sleeves, multi-pack bands and neckbands – for a wide variety of markets, including beverage, food, heath and beauty, pharmaceutical, household products, automotive and petroleum.

Its capabilities include flexographic printing in up to 10 colors, four-color process, custom die-cuts, as well as metallic, overprint, UV, and water-based inks.

The company also provides laminate and UV coating.

Free guide

Streamlining shrink sleeve creation

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Our immediate goal was to streamline the shrink sleeve process, trying to eliminate some of the steps and get products out the door faster.

Greg Swindle, Production Manager, Total Quality Labels, Inc., USA

The challenge

$ 600 errors

The global $3 billion shrink sleeve market is growing at about 7% a year, yet shrink sleeve production remains one of the biggest challenges in packaging for both designers and converters.

Creating the correct amount of distortion for shrink sleeves is complex, labor-intensive, and typically requires a significant amount of trial and error to get the design right.

With flawed trial & error samples costing up to $600 and profit margins incredibly tight, Total Quality Labels was looking for a way to resolve the shrink sleeve enigma.

We can see exactly how graphics are positioned on the label ahead of time, before we make a plate. We can manipulate the art to make sure it looks good, and then show it to the customer.

Greg Swindle, Production Manager, Total Quality Labels, Inc., USA

The solution

3D mock-ups in dedicated shrink sleeve solution

The search for a solution to this all-too-common problem brought Total Quality Labels to Esko’s Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves.

Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves is a unique and award winning application to simulate a heat shrink sleeve around one or more objects.

It allows you to see in Adobe® Illustrator® how your artwork distorts so you print your shrink sleeve artwork the first time right.

Shrink Sleeve

Shrink sleeve jobs now take us 2 to 3 hours, instead of 20-24 hours.

Greg Swindle, Production Manager, Total Quality Labels, Inc., USA

The benefits

Faster turnaround at less cost

Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves accomplished everything TQL hoped it would and more. What was once a tedious, frustrating part of the production workflow, has become just another part of the packaging process. Using Studio Toolkit, preparing art for shrink sleeves isn’t any more time consuming than preparing art for any other job.

Customers can also see a 3D mock-up of what the label will look like prior to printing. It hastens the design approval process and gets products out the door faster and for less cost.

Changes in the artwork after the customer has previewed it still occur but this is part of the graphic design work in the prepress stage, so there is no need to remake plates.

With Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves

  • prediction of artwork distortion in 3D is just another part of the packaging design process
  • designers are not spending all their time on math and making grids to figure out the distortion; it’s point and click.
  • customer approval is faster, therefor lead times are shorter
  • only one set of printing plates is necessary to print the approved design, so production costs go down
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