How to Fix & Avoid Common Label Applicator Issues

How to Fix & Avoid Common Label Applicator Issues


Poor label application wastes money and makes a bad impression.

You bought a label applicator machine so you can finally leave hand-labeling behind. Or perhaps it’s a replacement label applicator because your old one was terrible. Or maybe you haven’t bought one yet, but are thinking about purchasing one. The point is, you need better labeling. Here’s the thing, though. Just because you have a new labeler doesn’t mean your problems will be solved. You still have to optimize your label applicator with the rest of your operation, or else you’ll still have problems getting your labels to look the way they should.

Rather than finding out that you still have the same old issues as you did with your old labeler, let’s go over some of the most common problems and discuss how to eliminate them.



Just because you’re labeling inside a building doesn’t mean that the environment doesn’t play a role in how effectively you can label. Labels have an optimal operating climate. If it’s too humid, the labels may start to peel as moisture degrades the adhesive. Too cold, and the labels can become stiff and the adhesive ineffective. Too warm, and you again get peeling labels that won’t stay down on the container.

Container Shape

Container Shape

You might have gotten a great deal on bottles, but as soon as you start trying to apply labels, you could find out why you got a great deal. Buying high-quality containers means you’re less likely to get surface imperfections and issues like being “out of round” that keep labels from sticking.

You could also have the problem that your labels are simply the wrong size for your containers. If there are areas where the label is sitting on a bend or fold in the container that they weren’t meant to, that’s a place where moisture can find its way in, and the label could get snagged and torn. You have to match the label and container size.

It’s also recommended to get a spec sheet from your container supplier and your label supplier. Knowing the precise dimensions lets you match up your materials much easier. It also makes life easier for your graphic designer to design around specific dimensions.

Static Electricity

Static Electricity

Believe it or not, static electricity is a huge problem when applying labels. The most significant source of static electricity is the rollers on the label applicator conveyor belt. If they’re not appropriately adjusted (or were poorly designed), they can slip, leading to a buildup of static electricity. This can cause your containers to become charged. When an object is charged and comes into contact with another object, it can be repelled or attracted depending on whether the charges are negative or positive. Either way, it means that the labels can shift as they’re being applied.

Ensure your conveyor belts are properly maintained and aligned. Look for other sources of friction in your label applicator machine. If the machine was well designed, this should be a matter of adjustment and an easy one. If the machine was poorly designed, it might be a permanent issue or one that needs to be fixed often.

Label Problems

The problem could lie in the labels themselves. Perhaps the liner is incompatible with your particular label applicator machine, or your labeler has the wrong settings. Label liners are sensitive, and if your machine is pressing too hard, it can crack and destroy the liner. If the machine isn’t pressing hard enough, the label won’t adhere and will start to peel.

You’ll either need to get labels that are compatible with your labeler, or you’ll need to change the settings. Most labelers have a range they can work in to accommodate different label types, but sometimes the labels are outside of that range.

Matching Machine to Materials

It can be heartbreaking to realize that the beautiful, high-quality containers you purchased simply won’t fit in your label applicator machine. Don’t force it. “It’s just an inch” is not a good excuse and can result in either poorly applied labels or a damaged machine, assuming it works at all. Your containers, labels, and labeler machine need to be within specifications.

Your label applicator manufacturer should have detailed spec sheets regarding their machines’ tolerances. Read them carefully! If you’ve been using a particular container and that’s what your customers expect, get a labeler that can handle those containers. If you’re changing your container and label type and you’ve already bought a machine, find containers that work in your particular label applicator.

Choosing the Right Label Applicator

Getting optimal performance from your packaging line means getting a quality label applicator machine that will deliver every time you turn it on. Pack Leader USA labelers are robust, durable, reliable, easy to use, and set up. We provide support throughout the lifetime of your labeler, so you can rely on us to make sure it operates like the day you bought it. If you’re struggling with which label machine is right for you, read our Practical Guide to Choosing the Right Labeling Equipment. In it, we give you all the advice you need to find exactly the right labeler for your needs.

Did you know? One benefit of investing in Pack Leader USA labeling equipment is quick and convenient help when the unexpected happens. Our customers have access to our knowledge base for troubleshooting insights 24/7, and they can contact our service team to assist with issues. Keeping our customers' line up and moving with as little downtime as possible is our goal.