So, your labels have been beautifully designed, and now it’s time to apply them to your product. Purchasing new equipment can be overwhelming, and there’s definitely a lot of information to absorb when it comes to label applicators. This guide will help you better understand the different types of label applicators and what they work best for. It should provide you with the information needed to make the perfect decision on how to apply your labels and choose the right equipment for your product and business needs today and looking to the future. Let’s dive in.
Label machines vary by size, speed range, the possible dimensions of the product being labeled, and the type of label. Considering the quantity and speed, you need your product to move through the line is essential to choosing the right labeling machine method. You’ve also got to consider the amount of available space you have for storing equipment and have chosen the orientation and style of label your bottle or can requires.
Your physical workspace, business growth goals, and staffing situation should be considered when choosing your labeling method as well. Small start-up businesses require different machinery than well-established high-volume competitors, and if at all possible, you want to purchase equipment that won’t just last you through the year. The big picture is necessary. There can be a decent amount of downtime if you change labeling applications, so it’s best to really think through every aspect of your label application needs and product growth goals and commit to a method. Of course, each type of machine has pros and cons, so ultimately, you’re looking for the label applicator that will be simple to set up, use, and maintain in the long run.
In general, labeling machines come in 3 varieties. Manual, semi-automatic, and automatic models. Determining which is right for your product depends largely on your labeling and production goals. Automatic machines have the greatest and fastest hourly labeling output, while manual machines have the lowest and slowest hourly labeling output.
Manual labeling machines require workers to load and apply each label individually. Obviously, this can be quite time-consuming, and consistency can be a problem if proper care and attention aren’t paid, but they are the least expensive type of machine. They’re not particularly scalable but do offer the smallest footprint in your workspace which can be a huge consideration for young businesses.
Semi-automatic labeling machines are operated by using a hand or footswitch. An employee loads the product onto a conveyor, presses a button to apply the labels, and moves the product after labeling has occurred. This method is faster and more consistent than manual hand labeling, and while taking about more space than a manual labeling machine, they have a fairly small footprint with table-top models available. Semi-automatic machines are great for low to medium volume businesses.
Automatic Labeling Machines
Automatic labeling machines come in 2 varieties, rotary and in-line. Both are far faster and more accurate than manual and semi-automatic labelers. In-line automatic label machines greatly increase productivity and efficiency. Filled bottles or cans can be continuously fed to the labeling machine, resulting in around 150 labeled products per hour. Rotary label machines are top of the line in speed and consistency, running up to 500 labels per hour and providing the greatest label placement control. Automatic labeling machines require the most space and most financial investment. They’re a must for high-volume businesses.
In addition to the 3 main styles of labeling applicators, there are also 5 label orientation styles to consider. Each label type is available as a manual, semi-automatic, or automatic machine, so the consideration here is really what your label design requires.
- Wrap Around Labelers
- Top Labelers
- Top & Bottom Labelers
- Front & Back Labelers
- Shrink Sleeve Labelers
Where to Start
You may be wondering what the first step is to choose the right label applicator for your business. This can be a challenging process, but don’t worry — we’re here to help.
Pack Leader USA is full of excellent guides and practical steps you can take to find just the right products and services you need.
We created a guide to help you choose the right labeling equipment for your specific needs. Download it here for free.