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Apr 23, 2013

Automatic Labeling Systems for the Bottom of Products

The availability of equipment to automatically apply a label to the bottom of a package is improving and increasing every day.  As the market increases, so does the demand for this type of equipment. There are a number of things that can make the process a success or a failure as you try to reduce labor cost.

automatic labeling

Dual Bottom Labeling Printer and Applicator

What are the conditions in which you have to do the process?

  • Is the room a cold environment?
  • Is the room a wet environment?
  • Are there strong drafts from cooling units blowing in the area?

Product labelers are sensitive to operating temperatures as well as the environment they are expected to run in. It is suggested that you leave the units plugged in to keep the internal temperature warm, which will consequently reduce condensation inside the unit. Strong drafts near the unit will require different types of label application.

What are the packages like that you are trying to label?

  • Is it a smooth flat bottom surface?
  • Is it an over-wrap package with a bunched up seam on the bottom?
  • Is label placement an issue?
  • Is the package under a pound in weight?

When deciding what type of label application to use, (wipe on, blow on, or a bottom tamp applicator), you need to know what works for what type of package.

wipe on application is a very dependable method of application unless the package is really light (which can be overcome with a hold down device) or has an uneven bottom contour.

Bottom tamps can be used for positive contact unless the package cannot withstand a bump from the bottom.

Air blow on has a challenge with label placement.

What type of label are you trying to apply?

  • What is the size of the label you are applying?
  • What is the size of the package you are labeling?
  • Is the label preprinted?
  • Does the label need a code date printed on it?
  • Do you need a thermal transfer printing capability or thermal direct?

The label being applied is extremely important; It can make the process a success or a failure.

Applying cold, damp labels is a challenge: they are stiff and the glue is cold.

Warm, dry labels are pliable and easier to apply. Consider taking the labels out of the unit at night and store them in a warm, dry environment. Do not take too many rolls of labels to the work site in the morning, keep them warm and dry.

stainless steel label storage unit with a heater in it on-floor would be a great option to look at.

The size of label and size of package needs to be addressed prior to purchasing a unit.

top and bottom labeling

Dual Top and Bottom Labeler

Your supplier can suggest what type of application should be used if you give them all of the correct information.

Printing code dates or “Use or Freeze by” dates on preprinted labels can be done. However, you have to have a printing capability added to the bottom labeler with a thermal transfer ribbon being used.

Make sure your supplier knows all of the different details outlined in this article!

Automatic Labeling Systems Brochure

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Apr 4, 2013

Automatic Labeling: Where & How Can Labels Be Applied To Packages

When talking about label application, the questions are:

  • Where do you need them?
  • What do you need for a label?
  • How fast do they need to be applied?

Labels can be placed on the top, bottom, or sides of packaging.

top and bottom labeling

Top and Bottom Labeler with Extra printers – permits label change-out while line is still operating

The means of applying them can be either direct contact, tamping, a puff of air pressure, or a combination thereof, directing the label to adhere to packaging as it passes on a conveyor.

A key feature to look for is the ability to be consistent with the desired application and location.

Another desired feature is the flexibility and ease for product and label change throughout the production period.

In the case of customizable equipment for example, whether the need is for pre-printed labels or on-demand label printing, the printer applicator unit is completely adjustable as incorporated with their conveyor system.

They utilize the applicable device provided from an industry leader.

In the case of top labeling, the applicator is mounted to a standard conveyor and may be applied directly with an adjustable contact brush insuring adhesion.

Off the shelf components, such as a built in operator display enable operator interface for adjustments such as applicator speed, force, and stroke distance.  This contributes to the concepts of simple, fast, rugged and reliable application equipment.

Label printer applicators can be placed on a stand and rolled up to a conveyor for top and side application.

For bottom label application, the applicator protrudes between two precisely designed conveyors and applies the label as packaging passes.  When side label application is desired, a tamping arm is triggered to tamp or the label in the desired location as packaging moves along the conveyor.

automatic labeling

Bottom Labeling Printer and Applicator

Compressed air may be utilized to direct label placement in some systems.  However, systems are available which are 100% electric.

In all of these application methods, the applicators are triggered by photo eyes positioned to detect the leading edge of a package and initiate the timing for proper application.

The timing for this activity can easily be adjusted via the operator control screen.

Statistical information such as products per minute, cycle count, and peak products per minute can be available.

Such information can also be visible via network interfacing.

The print and apply applicators easily integrate with scale heads, barcode scanners, and other systems.

Whether your application need is for wipe-on, tamp-applicator, tamp-blow, or simply blow-on, there is a line of equipment available to be customized for you.

Top and Bottom Labeling Brochure

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  • Automatic Labeling
Apr 4, 2013

Automatic Labeling Applicators

If you have people in your plant that are hand applying pre-printed labels, we hope you are thinking about replacing that person with a unit that will apply your labels automatically.

There are units available that can label the top, bottom and/or side of your package and do multiples of any of the above.

These units show up every day, do not need a break and do not have an attitude!

top and bottom labeling

Top and Bottom Labeler with Extra printers – permits label change-out while line is still operating

It is also possible to add printing capabilities to all of the above: either thermal direct or thermal transfer.

Let’s look at what factors contribute to success or failure for the process.

What are the conditions in which the unit has to run?

These applicators like dry, warm, draft-free environments to work in.

We realize that these conditions are only applicable in very few instances and it is possible that your applicators need to be in wet, cold, drafty conditions. However, these conditions can be overcome; they need to be addressed prior to purchasing equipment.

What type of package are you labeling?

Is the package fragile, quite stable, an over wrapped package or possibly a domed lid tray. Each and every product usually needs a different type of label application. There are wipe on, blow on, tamp, rotary and piston applicators that can be used to place the label in the correct position each and every time.

Are the products being delivered with the proper spacing?

Indexing (spacing) is very important to a labeler. The operating cycle of an auto labeler is triggered with a photo eye. Labelers can run at speeds often as high as 130 products per minute (PPM), so indexing is a very important part of the process.

Lastly, what type of label are we trying to apply?

The label being applied is everything; Cold, damp labels are tough to work with – they are stiff and the glue is cold.

The size of the label along with the thickness of the label consistently present challenges to labeling.

Units are available today that will apply as many labels as you need, there really is no limit to how many applicator heads you have and each can have a different type of application.

Printing of labels and/or printing a code date or “Use/Freeze By” date on pre-printed labels can be done with either thermal transfer (ink ribbon) or thermal direct capabilities.

Make sure your supplier knows the various details outlined in this article.

If you communicate the above information with a supplier, your chances of success are much greater.

Automatic Labeling Systems Brochure

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Mar 6, 2013

Comparing Automatic vs. Manual Box Labeling

The discussion between whether automated or employee-operated systems are better has been going on for quite some time. The debate has worked its way into the labeling industry as well.

Automatic Box Labeling System

Automatic Box Labeling System

You might be wondering where we stand on this topic?!

While automated systems are a big part of what we do, there is always a place for user-operated machinery, which is the reason why we make both.

Basically, the more people are required for an operation, the more we recommend an automated system. This is mostly because more employees means more wages and more chances for mistakes and injuries which can really start to add up with high employment. Because of this recommendation, people sometimes assume that an automated system is far faster than a manual system.

This is actually a myth, more or less.

While an automatic system is more consistent and less prone to error, it is possible to get similar throughput out of a manual labeler if the employee operating the station is skilled enough.

This can be done using a touchscreen with hotkeys that act as shortcuts to specify the products before they are weighed. We have seen instances of an employee processing nearly 40 pieces per minute, which is quite impressive. The automatic system still surpasses the manual system when it comes to the label application.

Both can be done fast, but the automated systems are more capable of repeated, accurate label placement.

The manual system requires that the operator hand-apply the label after it is printed.

manual box labeling

Manual Box Labeling System

As you can imagine, it is very difficult for a human operator to put a label in the exact same spot every time without a mess-up here and there.

If you have a large operation, the automated system is probably going to give you the most consistent results, but if you are a smaller business, you should feel safe knowing that our manual labelers are an efficient approach as well.

The best thing about this is that the computing system behind our manual labeler has the same capabilities as our automatic system, so you can upgrade to the automatic system when your business expands, saving costs on an entirely new computer interface.

This goes to show you that we are looking out for your best interests.

Manual Box Labeling Brochure

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Automatic Labeling Systems Brochure

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