30% Production Gain by Leading Citrus Grower

New print and apply labeler improves productivity and quality control.

Sunkist co-op member, Bagdasarian, turned to Matthews Marking Systems for an automated print and apply labeling solution. They wanted a system that was faster, more accurate, and easier to manage than their legacy system.


Sunkist® is the oldest continuously operating not-for-profit citrus cooperative in America. It’s also the largest marketing cooperative in the world’s fruit and vegetable industry. 

Family-owned and operated Richard Bagdasarian, Inc. is a member of the Sunkist cooperative. It’s one of California’s largest growers, shippers, and marketers of table grapes and citrus. 

Bagdasarian replaced their legacy labeling system with Matthews’ MPERIA®️ Print and Apply Automatic Labeling Solution to boost their speed and quality control.

As a result, the operation was able to achieve:

  • Higher speed and efficiency
  • Error-proof production
  • Increased stability

The Challenge

Bagdasarian had a critical need for efficiency and error-proof labeling. Unfortunately, their legacy labeling system created two primary challenges, lack of speed and quality control issues.

Lack of speed.

Bagdasarian needed a system that could sustain a speed of 60 prints per minute. Unfortunately, their existing solution could only manage 50 prints per minute. Getting the extra 10 prints per minute was critical for their high standards of efficiency. The new solution had to be fast while maintaining the ability to safely and accurately label large volumes of product.

Quality control issues.

Operations managers faced daily headaches due to severe quality control issues and lackluster performance from their legacy labeling solution. Boxes were routinely unlabeled or had a label intended for the next box. Missing or inaccurate information forced products to be pulled for a re-run through the production line. 

“As the saying goes, ‘time is money,’ and we were losing a lot of time…Having to constantly pull mislabeled and non-labeled product off the line negatively impacted our productivity almost every day.” – Michael Bozick, Assistant VP at Bagdasarian

Bagdasarian’s legacy equipment provider was willing to explore a new solution, but they didn’t have the technology to increase speed. Their proposed workaround was only possible if Bagdasarian agreed to implement costly system upgrades, which wasn’t an attractive option.

The Solution

Bagdasarian took advantage of a much more cost-effective and efficient option from Matthews Marking Systems. Matthews’ MPERIA® Print and Apply Automatic Labeling Series Solution checked all the boxes on Bagdasarian’s wish list.

A complete system featuring leading technology and design. 

The Matthews system is a complete solution; including a printer, vision system, and MPERIA controller. The system has all the features needed to ensure a quick installation, easy operation, and the highest level of safety. 

For their operation, Bagdasarian paired a T43 Printer with a pneumatic applicator. The thermal transfer technology uses a wax/resin ribbon to provide an indelible mark on the label. This particular technology is especially well suited for situations that expose labels to rough handling or long shelf life.

Great production speed and ease of operation. 

Running at 8” per second, Matthew’s MPERIA solution is much faster than the legacy system and easily keeps pace with Bagdasarian’s production rate. 

Equally important, MPERIA’s simple, intuitive, and user-centric design enables extremely easy and fast change-outs. Ink (ribbons), labels, and the printhead can be swapped by production line workers. Details like a magnetically attached printhead and easily accessible consumables make these tasks nearly effortless.

Fast and simple implementation. 

The overall implementation of the system is just as simple and efficient. The MPERIA system takes the heavy lifting and guesswork out of installation and set up with its small footprint, flexible mounting systems, and pre-loaded test layouts. 

Install and setup only two days and didn’t require any changes to the production line. The competing solution was estimated at more than a week for installation. 

Regarding the Matthews system, “the entire implementation process was simple, straightforward, and fast,” says Bozick. “There was no inconvenience and minimal disruption to operations. We were back up and running in no time.”


Sunkist lemons on the packing line. Lemon box traveling down production line

RBI Sunkis Results

The Results

Matthews’ MPERIA print and apply labeling solution solved Bagdasarian’s initial problem and provided additional benefits as well.

Higher speed and efficiency. 

The MPERIA system easily kept pace with Bagdasarian’s production rate. Furthermore, the fast replacement times for consumables like ink and labels had a big impact on overall line efficiency.

Error-proof production.

The increased speed and accuracy of the MPERIA system enabled a massive reduction in quality control issues. The improvement in productivity helped the bottom line while simultaneously contributing to better employee morale by eliminating constant rework.

Additionally, the MPERIA system helped remove confusion caused by label exceptions. When a product doesn’t require a case label, MPERIA applies a blank label to mark the product as an exception.

Increased scalability. 

Finally, installing MPERIA gave Bagdasarian the ability to increase production by 30% when they are ready to grow their operation. “We felt the benefits of Matthews’ solution immediately,” says Bozick. “The additional speed and efficiency combined with the drastic reduction in quality control issues really improved productivity, and also made our team’s day-to-day lives much easier and less stressful.” 

The project was so successful that Sunkist has plans to implement the MPERIA system in all 37 packaging plants within their cooperative. The new system from Matthews has the ability to solve critical productivity and quality issues. It will also provide a flexible, scalable solution that can grow with each operation.


About Sunkist:

Founded in 1893, Sunkist is one of the world’s leading international citrus suppliers. Their structure as a nonprofit cooperative gives member growers clout in a competitive worldwide market. Sunkist is a billion-dollar-a-year organization comprised of many family farms based in California and Arizona.

About Bagdasarian:

Richard Bagdasarian, Inc. is one of the largest growers of California Table Grapes and citrus. Incorporated in 1952, the company remains family-owned and operated. Bagdasarian provides top-quality produce from their farm in Coachella Valley, California to customers all across the country.

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